As one era draws to an end another one begins. With the 240 series, dating back to the 80’s, Volvo introduced diesel engines on a large scale, now with the new S60, diesel engines disappear from the Swedish maker’s catalogue in favour of plug-in hybrids
In making its sports car, Kia used an exclusive floor-pan, derived from the one previously used for the Hyundai Genesis, adequately shortened and modified to adapt to a four-wheel drive and the power offered by a 366hp twin-turbo V6.
One of a kind, at least for the Korean manufacturer. This is, in fact, the first Kia ever with a four-wheel drive layout, and a rear-wheel drive as an alternative, but also the most powerful car ever produced here despite not being a pure sports car. A gauntlet launched towards some of the most popular German GTs, just to underline the Asian group’s ambitions, not at all intimidated by comparisons with authentic giants of the continental automotive scene.
Its typically Mid-European look, muscular and discreet at the same time, aims to become an alternative to competitors such as the Audi A5 and BMW 4 series, winking at an audience that expects sporty performance and a touch of exclusivity, without having to empty the moneybox.
KOREAN BUT MADE IN GERMANY
Preceded by the GT show car, quietly unveiled in 2011, which then evolved into the GT4 Stinger prototype in 2014, such a car was the last thing the market would have really expected from Kia, greeted with a measure of mistrust as soon as the logo on the bonnet was revealed. Yet the Stinger stands out both for its driving qualities, especially in the petrol version, and for the comfort offered by a roomy and well-finished interior comparable, in quality and content, to those of other famous GTs. The refined, aggressive and slender design, not quite the cup of tea of the Asian brand, much more inclined towards marketable all-purpose vehicles rather than stylistic exercises intended for a smaller niche of enthusiasts. Unravelling the mystery of its Euro-style, we need to specify that, the Stinger's design stems from the drawing board of Kia’s style centre in Frankfurt, Germany. Designed and optimized around a dedicated platform, aerodynamically perfected on the Nürburgring circuit, the Stinger is ready to jockey for position among the most popular sports saloons of the moment.
The Stinger design strikes for its rather long wheelbase, more than 2.9 metres to guarantee stability and space, and 4.83 metres in total length, closer to a saloon than a coupe. Reduced height and wider wheel tracks, designed to emphasize muscular sides, are the unusual characteristics of this Kia, imposing yet slender, without neglecting roomy interiors suitable for five passengers. Real premium car equipment includes a dashboard with large circular instruments, both analogue and digital, an 8-inch central display for navigation and on-board controls. A central tunnel with additional controls and an armrest with storage compartment - raised enough to allow the transmission shaft to pass through, but reducing the height of the rear central passenger's legroom - as well as a truly complete set of aids. Both versions, Diesel and petrol, boast leather interior, Dual-Zone air conditioning, servo-controlled front seats (heated and ventilated), 720 Watt hi-fi system with 13 speakers and two subwoofers. The must-have features include parking sensors, rear camera and 360° perimeter view, aluminium trim and sports pedalboard, full LED light clusters and a complete set of Adas devices, which include adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and AEB emergency braking, approaching vehicle monitoring (RCTA) and blind spot detection(BSD), speed limit detection (SLIF) and driver fatigue (DAW). The luggage compartment is also spacious, with a capacity of 406 litres - extended by the absence of the spare wheel replaced by a repair kit – and expandable to 1,114 litres by reclining the rear seat.
On the Stinger, Kia used an exclusive floor-pan, derived from the one previously used for the Hyundai Genesis, adequately shortened and modified to adapt to a four-wheel drive and the power offered by a 366hp twin-turbo V6.And this is the most intriguing peculiarity of the Stinger, a powerful 3.3 litre V6, 24 valves and direct petrol injection, with a twin-turbos placed under the long bonnet in front longitudinal position, able to raise the power output to 366hp, unusual value for a Kia by all standards, and 52 kgm of torque available all at 1,300 rpm. Traction management has been entrusted solely to the second generation of the eight-speed automatic transmission, with CPA (Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber) system inserted inside the torque converter to minimize vibrations and noise. The Drive Mode Select electronic control provides five different response settings, in conjunction with engine, steering and suspension management, so that each driving style can be pre-selected. The paddles on the steering wheel make it possible to select gears manually, adding an extra touch of sportiness to the driving experience. All this translates in a top speed of 270 km/h with a 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 5.1 seconds, with average consumption declared in the order of 9 km/litre.
However, performances of this kind are not for everyone. So here is a second engine, less exuberant and less expensive, a 200hp 2.2 litre four-cylinder Turbodiesel with 45 kgm of maximum torque between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm, able to push the vehicle to a more than respectable 230 km/h with 0-100 km/h acceleration in 7.6 seconds and 17.2 km/litre of average mileage.
The AWD transmission comes standard on the V6, managed by the new DTVC system - Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control – which automatically regulates the distribution of the force transmitted to each wheel through an electronically controlled viscous central joint. On request, the AWD can be fitted on the Turbodiesel version in place of the rear-wheel drive.
A true innovation for Kia in all its components, the Stinger is also equipped with four independent McPherson type suspensions at the front and multi-link at the rear, with coil spring, hydraulic shock absorbers and front and rear anti-roll bar, flanked by the electronic Dynamic Stability Damping Control system. For the first time on a Kia, in fact, it is possible to vary the suspension response, according to the five DSDC modes - Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart – as well as the power-steering control, optimising driving precision according to the settings selected by the driver.
Generous Brembo ventilated disc brakes and wheels, with dedicated 18-inch rims for the 2.2 CRDi RWD, 19-inch on the GT 3.3 V6 T-GDi AWD, and different size front and rear tires, with 225/45 R18 tires on the first (also approved for 225/50 R17), and 225/40 R19 tires on the front and 255/35 R19 tires on the rear.