2018 Stinger GT2 RWD. The Stinger is Kia's first sedan
available with all-wheel drive, for an extra $2,200.
have become more stylish and appealing lately, and now, with the
all-new Stinger sport sedan, performance is maximized as well.
About the size
of the midsize Kia Optima sedan, the new Stinger premium fastback
sedan is lower, sleeker, and more powerful, with an aggressive yet
graceful design setting it apart from similarly priced sedans.
is refined and comfortable, challenging similar luxury-brand
vehicles. Prices start at $31,900 for the base model with rear-wheel
drive and a turbocharged 255-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
But the top
model is the Stinger GT 3.3, starting at $38,350, which comes with a
365-horsepower twin-turbo V-6. All-wheel drive is optional.
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The GT was
named one of Wards 10 Best Interiors for 2018. Wards recognizes
achievement in aesthetics, comfort, ergonomics, material use,
fit-and-finish and user-friendly technology.
as one of Wards 10 Best Engines, Stinger is dedicated to the thrill
of the drive as well as the pampered journey .
Guillaume, chief designer for Kia Motors Europe, says the Stinger is
"a true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving,
is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling,
all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace … this car is all
about the journey. It’s about passion."
power, passion, and heart-pounding performance, Stinger is the
highest-performance production vehicle in Kia’s history. It’s
bold, nimble and fast, luxurious and quiet, and still quite
comfortable, at least for four people.
Five trims are
available: Stinger 2.0, $31,900; Premium 2.0, $37,100; GT 3.3,
$38,350; GT1 3.3, $43,250; and GT2 3.3, $49,200 — the model I
drove for this review.
designed second-generation eight-speed rear-wheel drive automatic
transmission is standard. But the Stinger is Kia’s first sedan
available with all-wheel drive, for an extra $2,200.
3.3-liter engine, the Stinger GT is capable of accelerating from
zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and has a governed top speed of 167
mph. Paddle shifters allow the driver to manually run through the
gears, with up to five modes available (a Kia first) — Eco, Smart,
Comfort, Sport, and Custom.
exterior design is both eye-catching and functional, from the long
hood and short front overhang to the long rear overhang with strong
wheelbase delivers a spacious cabin sitting toward the rear, with
steeply raked windshield and rear window creating a fast silhouette.
A chrome trim strip flows from the bottom of the front pillar,
across the top of the doors, through the rear pillar to the lower
edge of the rear window.
black and silver air intakes and air curtains in the front are
dramatic while providing air for cooling the brakes and reducing
silver-trimmed "gills" behind the front wheel arches help
reduce wake turbulence from air passing over the car’s flanks, and
add a sporty flair. And, along with deeply recessed contours along
the doors, they enhance the visual power of the shoulder line and
signature "tiger-nose" grille is outlined with chrome, and
the honeycomb insert is edged in chrome. A cluster of small LED
lights in the corner of the complex LED headlights (with high-beam
assist) echo the "honeycomb" shape.
underbody flowing into the rear diffuser, along with a
"ducktail" shaped rear spoiler, enhances aerodynamics,
reducing lift and increasing high-speed stability. The lower height
of the rear of the roof enhances the "aerofoil" shape,
adding to Stinger’s aerodynamic efficiency.
and silver air vents cut into the sculpted hood. Chrome mirror caps
dress the front doors, and four oval exhaust pipes peek out of the
gloss black rear valance.
My Stinger was
the rear-wheel-drive GT2 in bright HiChroma Red, one of five
available colors, which also include Ceramic Silver, Aurora Black
Pearl, Mica Blue Pearl, and Snow White Pearl.
was Black Nappa Leather, with satin chrome on the door handles, door
armrests, across the lower dash, around the spoked circular air
vents, on the center console, and on the speaker grilles.
wheels had five "Y" spokes with silver machined edges,
gray pockets, and gray grooves forming a star around the hub.
Staggered ultra-high performance Michelin Pilot Sport tires
specifically engineered and tuned for Stinger finished the package.
Brembo brakes with large-diameter discs designed to dissipate heat
quickly delivered short stopping distances.
GT2 has Kia’s
first electronically controlled suspension, called Dynamic Stability
Damping Control, which can be tuned for more agility by softening
the front shocks and firming the rear. Stiffening the front and
softening the rear achieve high-speed stability. The system is
accessed through the same modes as the paddle shifters.
Entry and exit
were easy, with tall door openings and a low, narrow stepover,
although taller rear passengers needed to stoop slightly due to the
was elegant and athletic, thanks to the ultra-soft quilted Nappa
leather and soft-touch materials. Air-cell bladders in the seatback
and width-adjusting bolsters offered optimal support and comfort.
controls on the center stack were well-placed and simple, situated
low on the stack below three vents, divided into two groups —
infotainment incorporated into the chrome dash trim, and climate
(with filtration) nestled in a cubby below.
climate controls were set, they rarely required adjustment — even
during crazy, up-and-down spring temperatures. Front and rear vents
were well-placed, without noticeable hot or cold spots. Warm and
inviting multi-color LED ambient lighting softly illuminated the
steering wheel along with power multi-adjustable driver’s seat
made it quick and easy to find the best driving position. Both
seating rows had generous leg room, and a low seating position meant
ample headroom front and back — although rear passengers found
little space under the front seats for their feet.
trunk was easy with a Smart Power Trunk lid (actually a hatch) —
opened from inside with a button, from outside with a button on the
key fob or by pressing the trunk handle. A low liftover height was
trunk is 23.3 cubic feet of space for luggage or golf bags,
groceries or gardening supplies. Folding the rear seatbacks produces
40 cubic feet for DIY supplies or sports equipment.
infotainment touch screen was mounted high on the dash, for easy
visibility, and had easy-to-understand menus and sharp graphics.
Bluetooth is standard, with many of the vehicle’s subsystems
available through steering-wheel-mounted controls.
and Android Auto are also standard and easy to use through the touch
screen. Kia’s Uvo infotainment system uses voice commands, but
Apple CarPlay allows the user to speak more naturally — a bonus
for us Southern speakers.
My Stinger had
a premium Harman/Kardon audio system, producing 720 watts through an
external amplifier for crystal-clear sound. The system utilized 15
speakers and Kia’s first under-seat subwoofers (driver and
passenger), and featured Clari-Fi to rebuild audio signals lost in
the digital compression process, and QuantumLogic Surround Sound
technology to extract and redistribute signals from original
recordings for authentic multidimensional soundstage playback.
Display projected speed, turn-by-turn navigation, audio, and cruise
control setting, as well as Blind Spot Collision Warning information
onto the windshield. The height-adjustable display was easy to read
day or night.
All of the Kia
Stinger’s advanced safety features are available across the lineup
— standard on my GT2 and a $2,000 add-on on other models. They
include Forward Collision Avoidance with pedestrian detection; Smart
Cruise Control with Stop & Go; Lane Keeping Assist; Blind Spot
Collision Warning with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning; and a
Kia first, Driver Attention Warning, which sounds a chime and
displays a graphic on the instrument panel if it senses the driver
is inattentive and needs a break. Kia’s safety features are
smartly tuned to reduce false alarms.
and powerful Stinger is very easy and fun to drive, easy to maneuver
in tight spots, secure and stable in turns, gets up to speed
effortlessly with only a slight delay from a standstill. It shifts
smoothly and quickly, rides smoothly over most road surfaces, and
brakes quickly and smoothly. The cabin was quiet, thanks in part to
the ultra-stiff foundation.
destination charges and no options, the delivered price for my
eye-catching Kia Stinger GT2 with rear-wheel drive was $50,100.
delivers a lot of performance for the price, striking a good balance
of power, handling, and braking, with room for five and/or lots of
cargo, and an air of elegance and athleticism.