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Detroit show: Kia Stinger set for September Oz launch

Dead ringer Stinger: While not quite as faithful to the 2011 GT concept as the Range Rover Evoque or original Audi TT were to their show-stealing progenitors, the Stinger is close enough to put Kia into the concept-to-reality club.

Swoopy Kia Stinger sports sedan to provide ‘Falcodore’ space and pace for $40K


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9 Jan 2017

KIA’S coupe-styled Stinger sports sedan, revealed this morning at the Detroit motor show, is due to hit Australian showrooms in September of this year with an expected price range in the $40,000 bracket.

The turbo-V6-powered, rear-drive Stinger is pitched as a perception-transforming halo model for the South Korean brand globally, joining the ranks of car-makers that have made striking concept cars into production reality.

It also promises to provide Australians with an affordable rear-drive family four-door in the absence of locally made Falcons and Commodores.

For example, at 4831mm in length and 1869mm wide with a 2906mm wheelbase, the five-seat Stinger is only slightly smaller than a VF Holden.

Meanwhile, the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine confirmed for Australian-delivered Stingers is on track to churn out 272kW of power at 6000rpm and 510Nm of torque from 1300-4500rpm in production form – similar figures to the dearly departed Falcon XR6 Turbo.

With an eight-speed automatic channelling drive to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential, Kia expects zero to 100km/h to come up in 5.1 seconds.

Understandably, tyres will not be covered under Kia’s seven-year aftercare plan including factory warranty, capped-price servicing and roadside assist.

A less powerful 2.0-litre turbo-petrol will also be offered overseas, with an as-yet unconfirmed diesel likely for the European market and all-wheel-drive variants with torque vectoring to be available in snow-belt regions.

Like the Genesis sub-brand of Korean compatriot Hyundai, Kia’s Stinger will take it up to European luxury sedans from Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.

Its interior styling certainly appears to pay homage to the latter.

Kia’s German outpost spawned the GT concept that made waves upon its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt show, and was picked to carry the project through to production.

With dynamics tuned under former head of BMW’s M division Albert Biermann, the Stinger is claimed to deliver a driving experience that lives up to its striking looks under the mantra: “Designed in Frankfurt, developed on the Nurburgring”.

An Australian tuning program to tailor the GT’s ride and handling for local conditions and tastes will also enter the mix before the Stinger arrives Down Under.

Stinger will be the first Kia to feature adaptive dampers, forming part of a five-mode dynamic customisation system that also alters steering and drivetrain characteristics. It rides on MacPherson front struts and a multi-link rear suspension setup, bolted to an ultra-stiff body with a 55 per cent high-strength steel content.

Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith described Stinger as “a car you cannot help but be excited by”.

“It has all the attributes to appeal to the Australian enthusiast – exciting design, a high-tech performance engine and gearbox combination and rear-wheel drive.

“The Stinger is the right car to take Kia, and the brand's perception, to the next level in Australia. It is the type of car to add desire and excitement to Kia's core values of style, reliability and value.”

Like its GT concept progenitor – and the imported 2018 Holden Commodore – the Stinger features a fastback silhouette with liftback-style boot opening promising generous cargo capacity.

Although the concept’s rear-opening ‘suicide’ doors and skinny windscreen frame have been dropped and the aggressive intakes at the edges of its front bumper have been tamed down, little about the Stinger’s overall shape and style has been sacrificed in the five-year transition from outlandish design study to production reality.

A long, vented bonnet with short front overhang and muscular rear haunches leave no doubt in the observer’s mind that this is a performance-oriented, rear-drive vehicle.

From the rear three-quarter view the production Stinger is arguably even more striking than the concept, with four purposeful tailpipes emerging from the diffuser and a hunkered-down stance.

The interior has changed significantly over the GT concept’s minimalist design taking on a more Mercedes-Benz-inspired style with triple central air-conditioning vents between a tablet-style multimedia touchscreen above and metallic button cluster below.

A T-bar style gear selector is reminiscent of an Audi A8, with the instrument cluster also Audi-esque. Most interior surfaces appear to be upholstered in leather or leather-like materials, with high-gloss black and chrome highlights.

The design brief was to produce an authentic grand tourer, to be nimble and fast but also luxurious and quiet, with room for five and their luggage.

Kia Motors Europe chief designer Gregory Guillaume said 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.”“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,” he said.

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