Without knowing it, well they know it, Kia’s upset many people and made many enemies. And for this, the automotive world thanks them. They built a car that is designed to piss off countless low-end luxury, sports and powerful touring car owners that think they are all that, and a bag of potato chips.
There are currently no other cars that combine this kind of street presence and style, power and equipment for this price, be they knew or a few years old. A 4-year BMW 550i xDrive can be found for the price of a Stinger GT and might be a little quicker to 100 km/h but it’ll have 100,000 km on the clock and cost an arm and a leg to maintain. Sure, it’ll be the right key fob, and that may be the Kia’s only weakness.
The 2018 Kia Stinger GT has quickly to grown to become an “it” car. On its styling merit alone, the car looks like nothing else. No disrespect to Kia but if you buy the car, you can remove all the badges…
Actually, the only true thing I would physically change are the wheels. A great set of HREs, or Braelin BR09s, 20”x 8.5” all around, would fix everything. Well, the wheels and a real colour, like Atomic Blue, California Red or even Ghost Grey. I will admit that draped in Aurora Black, the Stinger GT is absolutely badass. When I spotted it in my rear-view mirror, it reminded me of a Dodge Charger. That’s a complement.
The car’s exterior shape is sleek, and wide. The body seems to sit and cover the wheels which gives it, darn it, I’m going to say it, that stance. The 5-door hatchback is my second favorite body style, and this makes the Stinger the last thing from a boring old sedan.
The cabin features a number of elements that demonstrate that Kia is very serious about the car. Perhaps the most telling are the seats and steering wheel. The driving position is spot on and that bodes well for the upcoming drive.
The dashboard is simple, straightforward and, unfortunately, still holds glossy black plastic switchgear. It’s not as bad as it once was though! I love the location of the seats warmers/coolers and heated wheel behind the drive mode switch and shifter. The vast piece of plastic that holds the three circular vents is missing something, I’m not sure what but thankfully it’s textured. The screen that sits atop the center stack is lovely and touch-sensitive.
Not only is the cabin a generally attractive place, it’s also incredibly spacious and comfortable. As I’ve stated, the driving position is ideal thanks to the multiple electric seat adjustments and sight-lines. The GT Limited gets power adjustable driver’s seat bolsters and 4-way lumbar support. This is reason enough to opt for the GT Limited over the GT, this and the fact that they are cooled too.
The rear bench provides enough width for three occupants. Head-, leg- and elbow room are generous for long hauls. And, if you like your rear passengers, the GT Limited also throws in rear bench heating.
The trunk is huge, and access is aided by a standard power hatch. The boot will hold 660 liters of gear with the bench in place, or up to 1,158 with the bench down.
This 2018 Kia Stinger GT’s cabin is airy, and stays decently quiet at speeds, and you and I both know there will be speeds…
The Kia’s kicker is that a base Stinger GT goes for $44,195. I’ve essentially touched on many things that are standard but here are a few more: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, LED headlights, power sunroof, leather, blind-spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Want more? How about AWD, Brembo brakes, dynamic dampers and that twin-turbocharged V6?
The GT Limited goes for $49,995 and the value proposition is silly. Just get the GT Limited and call it a day. That is, unless you wait for the upcoming 2,0-litre turbocharged 2WD version expected for the 2019 model year. It’ll be loaded and spunky to boot. Lighter too and probably a little more dynamically inclined.
While the styling’s turning heads, it’s the powertrain that’s making enemies. Apparently, “Killed In Action” is a new thing in the tuning and drag-racing world. It now refers to the car staring at a rear badge. Can you guess which car started this new thing? It isn’t the Ford Mustang GT or the BMW 640i GT. No, the honour goes to the K.I.A. Stinger GT. Look it up. It’s quite amusing.
Now, I shouldn’t review a 2018 car, tell you it’s great, because it is, and follow up with: wait for the 2019. Like you, I’ve done loads of reading on the Stinger. It’s a fascinating car as you can see but one detail caught my eye a few days ago. Apparently, the 3.3T is already getting and will receive an updated or new intercooler, ignition, injection, heads, manifolds, sodium-filled valves and other improvements. Rumours has it that these updates are making their way into more GT trims levels and that the difference in output could be up to 10% between the debut 3.3T and the updated 3.3T.
I’ve digressed only slightly… The standard-for-now twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6 still produces 365 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 376 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm. This kind of juice is enough to launch the 1,900 kg (4,200 lbs.) car to 100 km/h in about 5 seconds, over and over thanks to the simple launch control system.
Speed piles on quickly and the 8-speed automatic transmission pounds away at the gears without ever giving it a second thought. The Stinger GT might be quick, but my favorite aspect is the ride. The car’s weight, girth and suspension tuning give it a true GT feel. There’s plenty of compliance in the dampers in “comfort” mode, body roll even, but it’s entertaining.
Moving the to the “Sport” drive mode makes everything a little sharper, as it would, but unlike other adjustable dampers, the Stinger GT still benefits from some actual damping, the ride’s not harsh nor are any of the controls. Another great part of the drive are the car’s brakes. The 4-piston front and 2-piston rear Brembo calipers clamp down hard on the 4-wheel vented disc brakes. Pedal feel is soft-ish, but the performance is tops. As well, steering is well judged.
The 2018 Kia Stinger GT has become an overnight sensation. In fact, I think the car’s taken on a life all its own and has become its own brand. It’s not a Kia, it’s a Stinger. If this hold true, Kia should create Stinger key fobs to absolutely enrage all others.