The top-of-the-range turbocharged V6-powered Stinger GT S is a pretty tempting value proposition in its own right at £40,535, but only when you get further down the Stinger range can you fully appreciate how alluring an alternative to the familiar pack of style-conscious executive options this Kia really is.
The price of our 244bhp Stinger 2.0 GT-Line S test car, for example, only buys you a mid-spec Audi A5 Sportback with front-wheel drive and 187bhp; a front-driven Volkswagen Arteon with the same engine and transmission or a BMW 4 Series 420i M Sport with rear-wheel drive but even less power and torque.
That means the Stinger’s rearwheel-drive handling ought to play a part every bit as central to the car’s appeal as its engine, styling or anything else. And for interested drivers at least, in spite of one or two frustrations, it’s certainly good enough to do that.
All of the advantages you’d hope to be rewarded with having opted for a rear-drive saloon – strong traction, uncorrupted steering and a natural sense of balanced cornering poise that can be tapped into to enliven the car’s driving experience – are present here.
None is quite delivered with any particular brilliance, it should be noted, but there’s enough purity and swagger about the way the car conducts itself, in any case, to give the Stinger clear sporting flavour even in this milder engine specification.
Since the 2.0 GT-Line S does without the adaptive dampers of its V6 stablemate, it’s a simpler car to drive. It has a well-judged meeting of taut body control, high-ish lateral grip, crisp handling response and fluent-riding suppleness that serves it well on UK roads.