2018 Kia Stinger Review

Is it a rival for the BMW M5 or the Dodge Charger R/T

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch our review of the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger GT

Meet Korea’s answer to the BMW M5. Okay maybe not quite the M5, because that has nearly 600bhp. But I brought it up for two reasons – the first is that Kia is leap-frogging years of building a sporting heritage for its road cars, by hiring German engineers from such august institutions as BMW’s M-department.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

And the second reason is that the new Stinger is supposedly benchmarked against the 4-Series (even though it’s more 5-series sized). Plus it’s a rear-wheel drive saloon/sedan… sportback, five-door hatchback, four-door coupe thingamabob. I’m just gonna go with saloon okay?

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

So affordable fast saloons are back then? Judge for yourself – a 3.3-litre Twin Turbo puts 370bhp through the rear – yes REAR – wheels via an 8-speed auto with paddleshifts. It hooks up to provide a 0-100kph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 270kph.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Pulling back from the technicalities for a moment, and it’s one good looking saloon – as illustrated by my pictures (a technical issue with the white car I originally photographed, meant we used a red one for the video review).

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Good proportions, just the right sprinkling of garnish, a justified presence and visually punching above its weight – which of course is a bit of a theme with this car.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

That translates to the inside too with lashings of carbon, nice seats, best-yet touch-and-feel experience and a lavish repertoire of a standard kit including all the comfort, entertainment and drivers aid goodies you’d expect.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Start it up and it’s a bit cammy from the outside, but isolate yourself in the cabin’s cocoon and flip to Sport mode and the meaningful thrum is ready – canned music though, meant for your ears only. You won’t be getting pulled over for excessive roar that’s for sure.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

It shifts though, best in the low to mid-range, when the Turbos are twerking dollops of packed oxygen into the engine chambers. Don’t bother going hunting at higher revs, just change up.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Or let the gearbox do it for you  – the paddles shifts aren’t that satisfying, though they are undramatically  effective. The Brembo brakes do a great job of stopping too.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Chuck it into a corner and brace yourself. The ride might be sports car firm, but the body isn’t as tightly held down as you might have thought. Still grip is there, and the road-holding overcomes the initial momentary understeer to carve a line faithful to the accurate and responsive, if not very chatty, steering wheel.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

So there we have it, a sporty, comfortable, spacious and stylish saloon that knows how to turn it on when you manage to shut out the value-conscious brain that took your feet to a Korean car showroom, and succumb to the call of the heart that still dreams of M5s.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

What’s not to like right? And at this price? Wow – hold on, I haven’t mentioned that yet have I? At this point I could trot out the old ‘I’ve saved the best for last cliché’ but that may not be necessarily true.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Because dear reader, I occasionally am able to harness superpowers that allow me to read your minds! And I know you’re thinking ‘This is awesome! And all for… what… AED80k, or 90k, okay 100k…. maybe 120? Alright, alright… final price 130k right?’

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Erm… you’d better sit down, and take some deep breaths to calm the adrenaline a bit. This Korean car is priced at AED170,000 ($46,300).

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

Hey, hey! Where are you going? Hold up a minute! Sit back down again. Listen – forget the thought that that seems a lot of money for a Korean car, and consider instead, what else can get you with this level of performance for the money in the shape of a practical saloon?

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

The only thing’ I’ve come up with is the Dodge Charger R/T. Same sort of price and identical power from its 5.7-litre V8 Hemi. Also rear wheel drive and 0-100 about 5.6 seconds with pretty much the same VMax.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

But a very different approach – the Dodge is a larger car, but more crucially it’s emphatically Old Skool. About as Old Skool as you’re going to get in the current market. But with that authentic V8 orchestra emanating from its tailpipes, solid street cred and over a 100 years of history – it still tugs at my heartstrings.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

The Kia is incredibly impressive and a milestone moment in the Korean car industry. It’s a halo car and one designed to get you excited about the brand. It may not be Kia’s NSX moment, possibly more like its Type R moment, but it’s a moment of sorts nonetheless.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

I’d encourage you’d to check it out and I’d thoroughly applaud and respect you for buying it – but personally I’d wait for version 2.0 and that’s only if they dump a ton of money into brand-building marketing to raise the street cred of the Kia badge.

2018 Kia Stinger GT Review

You see the real issue is that the last thing I want is to drop 170k on a new sled and have my friends snigger as they rumbled past in their Charger R/Ts!

 

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