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Driven: V6 Kia Stinger to be sales leader

More to come: Kia’s Stinger is expected to get a hotter version. The company is just not saying what or when.

Most expensive variant to dominate Kia Stinger volume in Australia

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Kia logo22 Sep 2017

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) has revealed its Stinger turbo four-cylinder variant will kick off from $45,990 plus on-road costs, or $3000 below the previously-announced twin-turbo V6 alternative that is tipped to snare 75 per cent of sales.

Launching in Australia this week, the rear-wheel drive sedan will be offered in six grades, including the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder 200S from $45,990, $52,990 Si and $55,990 GT-Line, as well as the 3.3-litre V6-powered $48,990 330S, $55,990 330Si and $59,990 GT.

KMAu chief operating officer Damien Meredith confirmed that the company’s annual sales target of 3000 units could double within five years as supply issues ease.

“We’ll be limited in the first 12 to 18 months with supply, so we’ll be looking at around 200 to 250 per month and that will continue for 12 to 18 months,” Mr Meredith told GoAuto at the national media launch of the Kia Stinger in Canberra this week.

“After that when supply does free up we think we’ll be able to do double that amount. Just like any vehicle in its lifecycle, supply starts to free up after about 12 months, depending on global demand for it.

“We (then) believe that we’ll be able to build to 500 a month.”

With equipment levels near-identical between the 182kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and 272kW/510Nm 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 variants, both of which utilise an eight-speed automatic transmission, Mr Meredith confessed that the V6 was the pricing priority as it would become the volume seller in Australia.

“(The) 3.3-litre GT will be the number one seller,” he confirmed.

“I think we’ll go the top-end for probably the first 12 months, that’s where the orders are (and) we think the mix between V6 and 2.0-litre will be about 75:25. We know that we’ve had a lot of 3.3-litre orders, but we think that the four-cylinder will do around 40 to 50 a month.

“We were very driven by the fact that we wanted to bring a 3.3-litre performance vehicle here in under $50,000 so we had to mix and match pricing, and get our mix right to make sure it was viable in a financial point of view.”

Mr Meredith, who was raised in the northern suburbs of Melbourne near Ford at Broadmeadows, added that while it was “very sad” to see the end of vehicle production in Australia, the South Korean brand had a special opportunity to speak to fans of rear-wheel drive performance sedans. Yet he also believed there was a place for the more affordable four-cylinder versions.

“In regards to the four-cylinder, I think people that have driven the vehicle would say it’s an incredibly well balanced car and performs exceptionally well,” he continued.

“(But) I think we were incredibly fortunate as an organisation that we were able to get this car as a rear-wheel-drive car that produces 272kW into market as local manufacturing closes down.

“We positioned the vehicle to fill that void that has been left by the local manufacturers, and we thought that was the best way to go in regards to making sure Stinger created a stronger impact on the Australian market.”

While former Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore buyers were expected to absorb a significant portion of Stinger sales, however, Mr Meredith revealed that only one-third of pre-orders were from owners of those models – with the same split made up of former Kia buyers, and also Audi and Mercedes-Benz owners.

Of the pre-order mix for the vehicle, he said: “There’s a lot of Euros in that, there’s quite a few Mercedes-Benz which surprised us, not too many BMWs, quite a few Audis, but then you do get to your Holdens and Fords also – but in the initial orders that we saw, not as many as we expected.

“We think that will grow over time. There are quite a lot of Kia owners pushing up to the Stinger also. So in that initial order, close enough to a third, a third, a third.

“In Australia we didn’t set out to position the vehicle against the Europeans.

(But) the main thing will be what Stinger will do for the brand. You can grow volume in the marketplace but to enhance the brand at the same time is the secret to making your brand better, stronger and more resilient.”

Depending on the dealership, however, the Mr Meredith said there could be a three or four month wait for a particular model grade. He described “heartland” dealerships in the north of Melbourne and Brisbane, and west of Sydney, as accumulating the most interest from the 7000 online inquiries about the Stinger.

“We want to service the dealers with big orders as quickly as possible,” he added.

“If you walk into Dubbo (western New South Wales) and there’s a V6 on the floor you can probably walk out with it tomorrow.

“But if you walk into Penrith (western Sydney), which are holding quite a few orders, it’s probably three to four months.”

The 2.0-litre turbo Stinger has an official combined-cycle fuel consumption sticker of 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres compared with the 3.3-litre twin-turbo’s 10.2L/100km.

However the smaller-engined models have a 1693kg kerb weight versus 1780kg.

Both versions of the 4830mm-long and 1870mm-wide Stinger also boast a 406-litre boot and each can tow between 750kg (unbraked) and 1500kg (braked).

The V6 can hit 100km/h from zero in 4.9 seconds, while the four-pot covers the same distance in 6.0 seconds.

Standard equipment on both the 200S and 330S includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic on/off headlights, electric-fold door mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless auto-entry and start, artificial leather seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with reversing camera, satellite navigation, digital radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

The 330S can also be distinguished by a black and chrome grille, and gloss-black front and rear bumper inserts, and dark-chrome door mirrors, while it further scores a limited-slip differential, variable-ratio sports steering set-up and larger Brembo brakes (up from 320mm ventilated front/313mm solid rear discs to four-piston 350mm ventilated front/twin-piston 340mm rear units) as standard.

A $7000 premium to the 200Si and 330Si then buys front parking sensors, auto on/off wipers, sports leather seats, a luggage net, larger 8.0-inch touchscreen plus forward collision alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assistance, driver attention alert and adaptive cruise control – the latter of five safety features of which Kia said only emerged from the factory as a bundle that proved cost-prohibitive if a sub-$50,000 entry pricetag was to be reached.

The 330Si also upgrades from 225/45 R18 Continental ContiSport Contact5 tyres to 225/40 R19 front and 255/35 R19 rear units of the same tyre.

A further $3000 to the GT-Line and $4000 to the GT compared with their Si equivalents, respectively, adds three-mode adaptive suspension, 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, LED headlights (with auto-levelling, swiveling and auto high-beam functions), electric lumbar and side/thigh bolster support for the driver with memory functions, electrically adjustable passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, electric sunroof, colour driver cluster and head-up displays, suede rooflining, alloy pedals, and aluminium console and door trim inserts.

The GT-Line then upgrades to larger 19s and sports bodykit of the V6, while the GT exclusively offers Nappa leather, an electrically adjustable steering column and a torque graph/boost gauge/lap timer/G-force meter cluster.

KMAu has locally tuned both the fixed and adaptive suspension for the Australian market, with the Holden Commodore SS-V Redline, BMW 420i M Sport and Lexus RC F and GS F touted as benchmarks used.

All Stingers will also feature Kia’s seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

2017 Kia Stinger pricing*
200S (a)$45,990
200Si (a)$52,990
GT-Line (a)$55,990
V6 330S (a)$48,990
V6 330Si (a)$55,990
V6 GT (a)$59,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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