News - Kia Stinger
Kia Stinger not chasing 3 Series: designer
Style council: The Stinger will appeal to buyers looking for a grand tourer as opposed to a dynamic, fast mid-sizer, according to chief designer Gregory Guillaume.
Original Maserati Ghibli in mind for Kia designer when creating Stinger sports sedan
9 March 2017
KIA’S Stinger sports sedan was not developed to match the performance of
prestige German models such as the BMW 3 Series but to be more of a Gran
Turismo – and a showcase of the South Korean brand’s technical capabilities –
according to chief designer Gregory Guillaume.
The rear-wheel-drive Stinger made its European debut at the Geneva motor show
this week and will sprint into Australian showrooms by the end of this year in
2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.3-litre turbo V6 guise.
In Australia, the Stinger will be pitched at buyers who might have previously
bought a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon but will soon have few options – apart
from the Chrysler 300 – with the demise of local vehicle manufacturing.
Mr Guillaume, who is head of design at Kia Motors Europe, told Australian
journalists in Geneva that the company’s focus during development was more on
creating a grand tourer as opposed to a Euro-baiting high-performance sedan.
“That’s a bit why we decided to go for the Gran Turismo approach,” he said.
“The project started with the GT concept from 2011. That concept was a result
of a question that we were asked by headquarters – if we were going to go into
front-engine rear-wheel-drive car in that segment and in that size, what should
“The reference in that segment worldwide is BMW 3 Series. Everybody wants to
beat that always. We said from start we don’t believe that is what Kia should
be doing. With us it should be more about style and more dynamic-looking. And
we started to go for this modern interpretation of a GT.”
Mr Guillaume said his inspiration for the Stinger came from his childhood dream
cars as a young man growing up in France.
“I always had in mind iconic GTs of the early ’70s – this Italian Gran Turismo.
I had in mind one car – the original Maserati Ghibli. Raw power, fast, but it’s
not what it’s about. It’s elegance, it is style.
“I grew up in France. I had in my mind those cars that were the ones you would
see on the motorway going from Paris to St Tropez. You work hard in Paris, go
and have fun in Cote d’Azur. We were looking for the modern interpretation of
Mr Guillaume said the decision to make the Stinger a big comfortable cruiser
meant that it would not compete dynamically with the predominantly European
“A GT is about a long journey – yes, spirited driving, but a long journey. You
need comfort, you need style so that’s why we went for that car,” he said.
“It has a much longer wheelbase than the 3 Series or any car in that segment
actually, because you give occupants space. Not so much vertical space, but
knee space. When you sit in the back of a Stinger, you are not cramped, you
feel quite comfortable, you could do a long journey.
“Automatically, if you make those choices you are not going be as competitive
in handling as a four-door, more compact solution like a 3 Series, but that was
the choice we made. It was the right thing for us to do.”
Mr Guillaume penned numerous sportscar proposals earlier in his career for Audi
and Volkswagen, and noted the irony of Stinger being the sportiest car to reach
production under his watch.
“It is probably the sportiest car I have done in production in my whole
career,” he said.
“I worked a long time at Audi and Volkswagen and God knows how many proposals
of coupes I have done that just didn’t make it. The one that makes it is a Kia.
How cool is that?”