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Kia hints again at super-Stinger

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

Stinger development “won’t stop with V6 turbo”, suggests Kia Australia

Kia logo22 Nov 2017

KIA continues to dangle the prospect of an even more powerful version of its Stinger sports tourer to sit above the twin-turbo V6 Stinger with its 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque.

This week, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith told journalists that he assumed Stinger’s development “won’t stop with a V6 turbo”.

His comment follows similar hints by Hyundai Motor Group executive vice president Albert Biermann – a former BMW M division technical director – that Kia has more to come from its rear-wheel-drive lift-back tourer.

American motoring publications have speculated that a V8 version is being considered, possibly using an enhanced version of Hyundai Group’s 5.0-litre Tau engine featured in cars such as the Hyundai Genesis G90, G80 and Equus, as well as the discontinued Kia K9 (K900 in North America).

That has not been confirmed by Kia which is happy to let speculation roll on while it can sell every twin-turbo V6 Stinger it can lay its hands on, even before the car is hits showrooms across North America – an event that could impact the prospects of KMAu getting an increase in deliveries anytime soon.

Stinger has been a sell-out in Australia where 200 a month roll off ships from the factory and directly into customers’ hands after pre-delivery treatment.

So far, the restricted production and deliveries have been skewed to the V6 GT flagship which accounts for 90 per cent of sales. The remaining 10 per cent goes to the four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo Stinger.

That is expected to even up somewhat as orders level out, although the GT is still expected to dominate sales for the foreseeable future.

Because the Stinger is built on a truncated version of Genesis’ front-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform, it seem logical that powertrains that have thus far been confined to the big luxury cars, including the V8, could find their way into Stinger.

However, that V8 is getting long in the tooth, having been introduced in its 5.0-litre GDi direct-injected form in 2009.

The updated version introduced in Hyundai Equus in 2015 delivers 320kW of power and 510Nm of torque.

However, as Mr Biermann has suggested, that engine “would need a special treatment” to generate more performance than the twin-turbo V6 already in Stinger.

That would seem easy enough, but that does not mean Kia will follow that route.

Because the Tau engine is rather old, the Hyundai Group might follow the lead of German rivals and come up with a smaller – say 4.0 litre – and lighter V8 with turbo-charging and latest emissions technologies to be shared across the Hyundai and Kia ranges in various states of tune.

Or they could further hot-rod the current 3.3-litre Lambda V6 to take the fight up to BMW’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo M3 Competition with its 330kW of power and 550Nm of torque.

Or even take the high-performance hybrid route to employ the blistering acceleration of electric motors while at the same time reducing its carbon footprint.

With the current range selling faster than the factory can build them, we would not expect Kia to confirm what it has in mind in the short term, perhaps waiting until sales go off the boil a little – as performance cars inevitably do – and require re-ignition.

In the meantime, Stinger owners who want a bit more bark with their bite will soon be able to invest in a new, official aftermarket bi-modal exhaust system to suit their V6 engine.

The $2659.99 system has been developed locally by KMAu and Australian supplier Lumen, and will be made in Melbourne with deliveries starting by Christmas.

The Australian branch of Kia went its own way on the system because European noise emission restrictions are set to clamp down on such active exhausts, meaning the Stinger was designed with a benign exterior exhaust note and a sound system that channels the noise electronically into the cabin for the driver’s enjoyment.

The local system not only fixes the dull exhaust note when the V6 is unleashed but also has sophisticated electronics to coordinate its performance with the Stinger’s three driving modes. It is muffled when cruising or in Eco mode, but when sports driving is selected, it takes a more fruity route via a bypass valve.

However, the system is not a power enhancer, having been designed purely for aural pleasure.

Complying with Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and taking one hour to retro fit, the system is already in demand, with dealers ordering 140 “sound unheard”.

A similar system for the four-cylinder turbo 2.0-litre Stinger is under consideration.

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