The sports liftback that Kia will unveil at the Detroit motor show this week will be available in New Zealand towards the end of this year, perhaps with a choice of powertrains.
The four-door Stinger has been designed and engineered in Germany to redefine the Kia brand globally and challenge European luxury badges for performance and refinement.
It rides on a longer wheelbase than the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 4-Series and will be available with either a rear-drive (RWD) platform or all-wheel drive (AWD).
The AWD model is likely to be limited to European and North American left-hand-drive markets, those in snow belts. The RWD will be built for both left- and right-hand-drive countries.
There will be two longitudinal engine options. The base model Stinger gets the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine from the boosted Optima variant, a four-pot good for around 190kW at 6200rpm and 353Nm between 1400rpm and 4000rpm.
The premium Stinger uses a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 delivering around 272kW at 6000rpm and 510Nm between 1300rpm and 4500rpm. The engine is from the Hyundai-Kia Alliance’s Lambda family and powers the flagship Hyundai Genesis in NZ.
Kia is targeting a 0-100km/h sprint for the V6 Stinger of 5.1 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 270km/h. The RWD Stinger gets a mechanical limited-slip diff and brake-induced torque vectoring. Both engine options are mated to an eight-speed automatic with torque converter.
It is not yet known if both models will be available in NZ. The pictures on this page appeared online ahead of its premiere in Detroit. Stinger is said to be 4831mm long, 160mm shorter but almost as wide as the VF Holden Commodore.
Suspension is by MacPherson struts up front and multi-link independent rear. Stinger is the first Kia to get adjustable dampers, part of a dynamics package that includes weight-adjustable steering.
The dynamics were developed at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit by former BMW M division chief Albert Biermann. He said: “For the Kia brand, the Stinger is like a special event. Because nobody expects such a car – not just the way it looks but also the way it drives. It’s a whole different animal.”
Stinger has evolved from the two-door GT Stinger concept of 2014, the work of Hyundai-Kai Alliance design chief Peter Schreyer. The production model gets Kia’s signature ‘Tiger’ grille above a diffuser with distinctive fins, and a long, sculpted bonnet with twin vents, leading into a coupe-style sportback roof.
Inside, there’s a floating tablet screen sitting above a series of infotainment and climate/ventilation controls. There’s heavy use of real leather trims and metal, too.
A colour TFT screen between the analogue gauges relays performance data such as cornering G-forces, lap times and engine-oil temperature, along with ancillary information such as the trip computer, driver settings, navigation and diagnostics.