The story is well known: a decade ago, Kia made cheap and not very cheerful cars. Now it has one of the best looking ranges of cars on the market, cars that still offer some of the best value.
Kia has also nailed the profitable family SUV segment with the strong-selling Sportage. Yet despite the styling revolution spearheaded by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, the dynamics of the cars don’t excite in the same way.
This is where Albert Biermann, former BMW M engineering boss, comes in. He has been hired to have the Schreyer effect on the way Kias drive. His first major project has been the Stinger, specifically the GT variant.
The spec wouldn’t look out of place on anything from the German big three: a twin-turbo V6 with 360bhp, rear-wheel drive and adaptive dampers.
The inference is clear: Kia now wants to give the premium car makers a bloody nose, having established a range of cars that truly challenges the mainstream European car makers.
It’s a greater challenge, with more badge snobbery to overcome, than it has yet faced, but even if the Stinger GT’s ultimate legacy is to inspire Kia’s engineers to make each model handle as well as it looks, the project is to celebrated.