- P11D Value/BIK Band: £31,140/37%
- 5-door, 5-seat sports GT fastback
- 244 bhp/353 lbft, 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol turbo, 8-speed auto
- Economy/CO2: 35.8 mpg/181 g/km
- Performance: 0-62 mph, 5.8 secs/149mph
What is it?
KIA is on a roll these days with its popular line up of compacts and SUVs. However, now for something completely different….
You’re looking at the Stinger, Kia’s new, upscale grand turismo model.
The Kia Stinger is a swoopy five-door fastback, spun off a new rear-wheel drive platform. Fresh and innovative, a departure from the norm, this is a car that could well appeal to user choosers wanting something…well, a bit different.
How so? Well, the Stinger is a GT newcomer with space and style to match an uncommonly high level of driver appeal.
That’s a promising start. Inside, the Stinger is well appointed and there’s a premium feel to the controls, fit and finish. Intrigued? Behind the wheel, yes, you will be….
Kia set the ball rolling with a 3.3-litre twin turbo V6 Stinger GT S range topper that’s drawn plaudits from the UK’s motoring media thanks to its performance, sporty rear-drive handling and looks.
At the same time, a range of lower spec 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre Stingers are also now up for grabs. With better economy, less onerous taxation and virtually identical looks, these four cylinder Stingers might appear to be more business motoring friendly.
While there are five versions of the Stinger on sale in the UK, here we look at the petrol powered Stinger 2.0 T-GDi GT Line. You’ll find it on the P11D block for £31,140.
Why would you want to drive a Stinger?
- Cool looks and fine dynamics go a long way to explaining the Stinger’s intrinsic appeal. Stinger is something new and different, an enticing alternative to the executive motoring norm, and that in itself will perk the interest of certain sets of buyers.
- In this four cylinder petrol trim, with 244 ps and 353 lbft at its disposal, Kia’s 1998 cc turbocharged unit is gusty and strong but at the same time pleasingly refined and hushed when cruising. Acceleration is brisk, with Kia quoting 5.8 secs for 0-62 mph.
- While it has pace, the Stinger is not set up as an out-and-out performance model. It’s been conceived as a suave, comfortable Grand Tourer, the ideal car for that relaxing cross continental run: breakfast in Paris, dinner in St Tropez, that kind of thing. Yes, so how will it cope with the rigours of M25, then? Very well, we suspect….
- Designed in Europe at Kia’s Frankfurt studio, the Stinger is long, sleek and low set. It at first seems quite a big beast. A check of the dimensions however shows the Stinger actually to be shorter and lower than a BMW 5-Series although at a glance you’d probably never guess.
- The Stinger cabin is similarly classy and features attractive low slung Nappa leather/heated seats, the front pair with eight-way power adjustment. It’s easy to get comfortable and, yes, with plenty of toys, the Stinger cabin feels a special place to be.
- The Kia’s leather finished dashboard with big, wide, centre console with three prominent air vents plus 8.0 inch touchscreen for the navigation and infotainment system packs real premium presence and appears beautifully made, too.
- Generous standard kit at this base GT-Line level includes dual automatic air conditioning, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, front/rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity with voice control, 9-speaker audio, reversing camera, and more.
- For the keen driver, the Stinger’s excellent steering response and accuracy at the helm are another huge plus, allowing you to place the car very accurately on the road.
- Handling is crisp, well balanced, fun and for a biggish car, the Stinger proves surprisingly and engagingly agile. Two thumbs up.
- The Stinger’s rear-drive format, putting it in the same drivetrain league as BMW and Mercedes, is rare in this class. It feels more intuitive than, say, a VW Arteon or Audi A5 and with a dab of the throttle, you can get that driven rear end to slide playfully.
- With Albert Biermann (ex BMW M Division on board at Kia to help with chassis tuning), and the Stinger tested extensively at the Nurburgring, it’s maybe no surprise the Stinger is dynamically so well sorted.
- At the back, the Stinger gives you a vast lift up tailgate with good space for luggage and packages. Kia quotes 406 litres for capacity or with both rear seats folded down, a supremely practical 1114 litres. So yes, it can do the full workhorse bit too.
- As ever, Kia’s famous 7-year/100,000 mile warranty puts a hard-headed business case to the Stinger’s desirability factor.
What might put you off a Stinger?
- For some, it’s all about the badge. Now matter how good the Stinger is to look at and drive, inevitably there will be some for whom the Kia badge will not work. Kia knows this which is one reason why UK sales projections for 2018 are modest at just 1800 units.
- The Stinger comes with a well set up eight-speed automatic gearbox, complete with steering wheel-mounted paddles, with the Stinger’s electronic Drive Mode Selector giving you the choice of five different throttle/shift programmes. That’s all fine but some keen pilots might still want a manual.
- Kia has not gone for any kind of electrification with the Stinger, so no hybrids, plug-in hybrids or EV available. In this sense, it’s a very traditional choice.
- Those glamorous four-door coupe looks come at a price in the sense that rear headroom can be a bit tight, thanks to those elegantly sloping C-pillars.
- It’s at the top end of the company car tax bands…and £384 in company car tax is a chunk even for a 40% tax payer
Verdict on the new Kia Stinger
It hasn’t been on the market long yet already there’s a buzz building about the Kia Stinger, you can sense it.
The car that’s already been dubbed ‘the people’s Panamera’ has been a long time in the works. Kia first unveiled such a GT Concept back at the 2011 Frankfurt Show. Since then, Kia’s been waiting for the right time and place to build its new GT.
Now all the stars are in alignment, we have a really appealing new wave player whose head turning design, keen performance and handling set it well apart. No question, it’s a new image builder for Kia and left field alternative to the likes of the VW Arteon and Audi A5 Sportback for free thinking SME business motoring drivers.
That said, the Stinger’s eco numbers – 181 g/km and 35.8 mpg combined – are none too special and we hear not every Kia dealer will get to support the car. It’s the model grade one higher than this, the GT-Line S, that Kia expects to be the most popular.
If budget doesn’t quite stretch to the headlining 3.3-litre twin turbo Stinger GT S, then consider this 2.0-litre petrol GT-Line or GT-Line S to be a more than able stand in.
What else should you know about the new Stinger?
- Kia is starting out with quite modest market expectations for the Stinger, envisioning just 1800 sales this year with the retail/business split set at 60/40.
- Not so long ago, diesel might well have been the unit of choice in this category. But times change and with the Stinger, Kia now sees the split as follows: 2.0-litre petrol (40%); 2.2-litre diesel (40%); 3.3-litre V6 (20%).
- All Stingers have DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth with music streaming. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also feature. The GT-Line has a nine-speaker system with front under-seat sub woofer.
- The higher spec GT-Line-S and GTS have a 15-speaker Harman/kardon premium system, ventilated front leather seats and 360-degree around-view monitor.
- Kia has developed an effective electronic suspension damping system (DSDC) for the new Stinger, but only on the range topping 3.3-litre GTS. The GTS also gets 19-inch alloys and uprated Brembo brakes.
- A full suite of safety systems are standard, including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lake Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, Hill Start, Electronic Stability Control & Vehicle Stability Management. GT-Line S and GTS then add Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. An Active Bonnet is another standard safety feature on the new Stinger.