Kia. It’s a car brand known for its reliable and well-priced product line, not for performance automobiles. But the Korean automaker boasts a truly sporty model called the Stinger GT, a four-door and rear-wheel-drive fire-breathing fastback with a twin-turbocharged heart. And it has become the flagship of Kia’s GT series of thoroughbred horses.
Admittedly, it’s hard to get one’s head around the fact that Kia now has a racetrack-munching machine at its disposal. Its cars are supposed to shuttle kids safely to school, or get from point A to point B in the most economical fashion possible. But here’s the Stinger GT, a car Kia designed to do all those tasks and shred tires at will on a twisty mountain road.
And shredding tires is something this car does very well, thanks to the powerhouse residing underneath its long hood. The 3.3-liter V6 engine produces 365hp of output and a very healthy 510Nm of torque. These impressive numbers are courtesy of two turbochargers feeding air into the direct-injected motor. In addition, maximum pulling power isn’t confined to the upper reaches of the rev range. The flat torque curve means all that torque is accessible from as low as 1,300rpm.
Hooked up to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with shift-by-wire control, the Stinger GT’s rear axle is equipped with a limited-slip differential. Coupled with the electronically controlled suspension system consisting of MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup at the back is a torque vectoring system that aids cornering stability. Stopping power is handled by a potent braking system with Brembo calipers at all four corners.
Having this powertrain-and-suspension package means that every trip in the Stinger GT is an experience that stirs the soul. Every prod of the accelerator has the twin-turbo V6 barking with authority through a quad-pipe exhaust system. Each turn of the leather-wrapped steering wheel has the car’s nose pointing into the desired bearing with gusto. It’s not just a pretty face that can only go for a quiet cruise on the highway—this beautiful beast has serious performance credentials. Sprinting from rest to 100km/h is accomplished in a brisk 4.9 seconds, and the speedometer needle keeps going until it hits 270km/h. Or you can take it easy and simply appreciate the premium ride with the seamless automatic cruise control.
The Stinger GT is not just a pretty face that can only go for a quiet cruise on the highway—this beautiful beast has serious performance credentials
Speaking of having a pretty face, all the car’s technology is cloaked under a sleek, low-slung fastback body that is unlike any other in its class. The signature tiger-nose radiator grille takes a prominent place up front, rendered in a two-tone, 3D-like paint finish. Massive 19-inch wheels sit under subtle flared fenders. An equally stylish diffuser takes up residence in the rear, housing four large tailpipe finishers that will be the main view seen by anyone challenging the Stinger GT to a race.
But being a thoroughbred doesn’t mean the Stinger GT can’t be driven daily. The drive mode switch has five settings. A simple flick of this switch into Comfort turns the car into a superb long-distance cruiser. The upholstery is trimmed in leather, pampering each occupant just like any luxury sedan would. The front seats are 12-way power-adjustable perches that are equipped with a built-in ventilation system for the ultimate in comfort. If you’re bored with local radio stations, the infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is connected to a premium Harman Kardon sound system with nine speakers, four tweeters and two subwoofers, so even the little nuances of a classic orchestra can be enjoyed by those lucky enough to hear it inside the Stinger GT.
This vehicle is also a capable family-hauler. Our hot climate is made bearable by the dual-zone automatic climate control with rear air-conditioning vents. The rear seats have Isofix child seat tethers, so even the young ones can participate in the grand-touring experience. Pop open the power tailgate and up to 406L of cargo can be swallowed by the trunk. Which is to say it is enough to hold everything a family would need for a weekend road trip.
Of course, you would want to keep the car’s sexy sheet metal from being damaged. To help ensure this doesn’t happen, the Stinger GT has some electronic tricks up its sleeve. All-weather driving is made possible by electronic stability control. Within the city, hill-start assist and blind spot monitoring are your safeguards against low-speed collisions. Car-park dents should also be a thing of the past with the front/rear parking sensors and the 360° camera. And in the unlikely event that things go haywire, the cabin has a network of seven airbags ready to spring into action.
Walking on the tight rope between comfort and sportiness is a technically challenging endeavor for any automotive manufacturer. But the Kia Stinger GT gets that balance on point. It’s the right mix of superb performance and refined luxury. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find another steed that does a better job of playing these roles perfectly well.
This branded article was produced in partnership with Kia Philippines.