Kia Motors takes a quantum leap in its product portfolio by entering the rear wheel drive sports sedan club with the all-new 2017 Stinger fastback-styled sports sedan
As Kia Motors evolves as a respected global player, its aspiration levels are also moving upward. Not content with just bread-and-butter volume models anymore, the brand has been considering niche or lifestyle slots as hinted by the numerous concepts presented over the years. In fact, in one of our past face-to-face interviews with Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ chief design officer when we asked what he thought would be a desirable product in Kia’s line-up he mentioned it would be a GT. Taking things forward, a realistic idea for such a car surfaced a few years ago when the GT concept was first unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show by Kia.
So, how does Kia define its GT? “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,” according to Gregory Guillaume, chief designer, Kia Motors Europe. “The Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey. It’s about passion.”
With that objective in mind, Schreyer was assigned the task of producing the packaging for the car and to do this Schreyer involved a team of top designers and engineers. The design team was based in Frankfurt and for ride and handling development, Ex- head of BMW’s M performance division Albert Biermann, who now heads Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development along with his group of engineers in Korea took on the challenge by putting prototypes on the gruelling Nurburgring racing circuit in Germany.
The production version of the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger had its global debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show as a five-passenger fastback sports sedan.
With GT design authenticity in mind, key to the car’s road presence are the rear-wheel-drive proportions, a long bonnet and short front overhang, an extended wheelbase to deliver a spacious cabin, and a long rear overhang with strong shoulders. The wide front and rear track, along with the recessed contours along the doors complement functional elements of the exterior design like the front air curtains, wheel arch gills, smooth underbody, and integrated rear diffuser.
The rear valance houses four oval exhaust pipes and Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille sits between designer LED headlamps.
Inside the low-slung cabin offers occupants to experience luxury as trims include ultra-soft Nappa leather covered deeply contoured seats with air bladders in the driver’s seat. The dashboard design had a split centre console with two tiered approach for infotainment and climate controls.
Instrumentation combines analog and digital and colour TFT screen between the gauges serves as information centre providing key 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. Other kit includes height-adjustable colour Head-Up Display [HUD] display, wireless Smartphone charging pad and Bluetooth® hands-free operation as standard.
Biermann was responsible for setting the engineering benchmarks and his team looked at competition and set the car’s wheelbase at 114.4in, which means the Stinger’s wheelbase is longer than the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS. It’s also longer overall [190.2in] and wider [73.6in] than the others in the segment. The chassis uses 55per cent advanced high-strength steel to ensure torsional stiffness.
The car gets MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension with electronically adjustable suspension known as Dynamic Stability Damping Control which offers a choice of five driver selectable modes [another Kia first]: Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart. The variable ratio rack-mounted motor driven power steering boost is also adjustable through the five selectable drive modes.
To give the car optimised weight distribution, the engine has been Oriented longitudinally and set rearward beneath the long, sculpted hood, a choice of two force fed engines — the standard 255hp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Theta II engine and 365hp 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 Lambda II engine. Both engines are mated to second-generation eight-speed rear-drive automatic transmission designed to offer crisp shifts and maximized fuel efficiency.
The Stinger is Kia’s first sedan available with rear- or all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel biased for optimal control in the wet or dry and the AWD cars get torque vectoring control. A choice of alloy wheels and tyres combinations include 225/45R-18 tyres for the entry level model while the V6 is shod with asymmetric ultra-high performance rubber; 225/40R-19 in front and 255/35R-19 at the rear. Vented Brembo disc brakes are standard on the V6 and feature quad-piston front callipers and dual-piston rear callipers.
On the safety front, the car will be loaded with features like the new Driver Attention Alert [DAA] system to help combat distracted or drowsy driving, Forward Collision Assistance [FCA] with integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking [AEB] with pedestrian detection, Advanced Smart Cruise Control [ASCC], Lane Keep Assist [LKA] and Rear Cross Traffic Alert [RCTA].