Meet the Kia Stinger GT. It’s a automobile made to tackle the Audi S5s and Mercedes-AMG C43s of the world. With 365hp from a Three.Three-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that sends energy to the rear wheels and a claimed Zero-100kph time of four.7sec… wait, what? Let’s again up a second. You’re in all probability considering: “Doesn’t Kia do on a regular basis household automobiles?” Sure, the Korean carmaker has constructed a strong fame the world over for its trendy, well-put-together and dependable, if nonetheless mass-market fashions, however the Stinger is completely different. It’s been conceived with the very function of pushing the boundaries.
With me is the very automobile that drew the crowds at Auto Expo 2018, and even in the present day, away from the arc lights of the motorshow, it has the exact same impact. Heads are turned, digital camera telephones are pulled out, and thru the window I may even lip-read the odd expletive-heavy appreciation of fellow motorists. For a lot of who see the automobile on my journey from Gurgaon to Delhi to Better Noida and again, this can be their first sighting of a Kia. And I’m positive they aren’t going to overlook this automobile any time quickly. How may they? The Stinger has a lot of star worth; even on this comparatively unflattering shade of white.
The Stinger’s bought a stunning fastback form, and the proportions are spot on. At four.8m lengthy, it’s a whole lot of automobile however the tight skinning means the large GT additionally steers away from wanting cumbersome. Kia’s trademark ‘tiger nostril’ grille is the focus on the entrance and is flanked by well detailed headlights that curve with the physique work. The massive central air dam provides appropriate aggression to the face and I fairly just like the impact of the vertically oriented aspect vents. An in depth look reveals the vents on the bonnet are only for present, and what I’m additionally not too taken by is the shiny bronze end on the shiny bits; it’s a bit kitsch, actually.
What’s somewhat good, nevertheless, is how the practical ‘gills’ have been included on the sides. And don’t these 19-inch wheels simply look horny? To my eyes, nevertheless, it’s the portion aft the B-pillar that actually makes the Stinger’s design click on. The thick C-pillar provides muscle to the physique, there’s a grace with which the shoulderline leads on to the quick rear deck, and the tail-light extensions on the sides are distinctive too. Excessive-set LED lights, quad exhausts and a diffuser spherical off the look.
Within the curiosity of a well-rounded assessment, I did test the boot and rear seat earlier than beginning out. Suffice to say, the bags bay is cavernous and there’s much more room within the again than seen on German rivals. The seat of energy, nevertheless, is the one behind the steering wheel.
There’s not all that a lot I could make out in regards to the Kia’s finer bits within the preliminary a part of the drive. However some issues stand out. For one, it’s simple to get cozy on this automobile. The driving place is rather well judged, you get an excellent view out and also you additionally get used to the scale of the factor rapidly. This present automobile additionally has the total suite of driver aids. There’s a blind spot indicator and I’m even disciplined by the automobile’s lane preserve help – there’s a powerful tug on the wheel once I inadvertently change lanes with out flashing the indicator. The Stinger can also be fairly easy-going on the lengthy stretches of freeway that lead into Delhi. It cruises quietly and journey high quality is kind of polished too. I don’t suppose I’d be a lot worse for put on have been the shoot location modified from Better Noida to Agra on the different finish of the Yamuna Expressway.
Photographer Shafiq jumps in on the mid-way mark and has the identical excessive opinion of the Stinger’s cabin. High quality is nearly up there with the German automobiles, and that’s a giant deal. The bigger surfaces are rather well completed, there’s a wealthy use of soft-touch plastics, and the steel inserts and uncovered stitching look correctly premium too. If there’s something, it’s that some buttons on the decrease portion of the sprint and the controls on the doorways aren’t that particular.
The dashboard is a bit plain however the high-set place of the floating 7.Zero-inch touchscreen makes it simple to view on the go. The graphics and structure of the display screen’s menus aren’t leading edge however I’m not too bothered. There’s Android Auto (and Apple CarPlay too) so my infotainment and navigation necessities are nicely taken care of.
There’s a excessive chance of rain, so Shafiq will get clicking away as quickly as we attain the situation. The excellent news is the roads are empty and there can be an opportunity to lastly open the Stinger up. The primary severe prod on the throttle pedal introduces me to the Kia’s darkish aspect. It’s fast and responsive, alright. The dual-turbos guarantee there’s a powerful swell of energy all by way of the rev band, and it even sounds somewhat good. The V6 snarls, although it’s not as loud or offended as an equal V6 engine from AMG. Expectedly, the engine doesn’t rev to the heavens, and by 6,000rpm or so, it’s greatest to upshift. The factor is, the Stinger’s eight-speed torque converter auto gearbox isn’t as snappy in its shifts because it should be. There’s no choice to shift manually by way of the gear lever, and the paddles don’t all the time grant a shift once you need.
And that’s in all probability the one blemish in an in any other case participating driving expertise. There’s a delicacy to the steering, and a fluidity in the way in which Kia modifications route. It feels balanced and retains to its line once I energy out of the corners. ‘Honed on the Nürburgring’ is one thing we hear about each quasi-performance automobile however the Stinger actually does really feel correctly sorted.
STING IN THE TAIL
First impressions counsel it is a automobile that may take the combat to its extra illustrious rivals. For Kia that’s by no means achieved a sport-oriented automobile just like the Stinger earlier than, that’s an enormous praise. And never simply that. That is additionally a automobile that does luxurious nicely. The query is, would you spend Mercedes cash on a Kia?
There’s additionally the little matter that the Stinger would possibly truly not even go on sale in India. With the primary mannequin for India – the production-spec SP SUV – to launch in 2019, Kia’s focus can be on the mainstream segments, and a Rs 70 lakh (with duties) sports activities sedan doesn’t fairly slot in with the carmaker’s bigger plans. However, given the curiosity within the automobile, who is aware of, it may simply think about bringing in a couple of items as a ‘halo’ product. Seeing one at your closest Kia dealership is certain to have an incredible rub-off impact on the remainder of the carmaker’s vary. Of that I’m positive.