Kia’s new high-performance Gran Turismo – the Stinger - has broken cover at the North American International Auto Show.
A five-seat fastback sports saloon, the Stinger is the fastest production vehicle in Kia’s history and will arrive in markets around the world later this year, offered with a choice of engine and drivetrain configurations.
Instantly recognisable as a direct evolution of the 2011 GT concept that preceded it, the design was overseen by Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer, and his team of designers in Frankfurt. Ride and handling development was looked after by Albert Biermann, Head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development and his group of engineers in Korea and on the Nurburgring racing circuit.
Key to its road presence are the rear-wheel-drive proportions; a long bonnet and short front overhang, an extended wheelbase to deliver a spacious cabin, and a long rear overhang with strong shoulders. The Stinger’s stance and visual balance are designed to lend the car an air of ‘elegance and athleticism, rather than boy-racer aggression’, says Kia.
At 114.4 inches, its wheelbase is longer than those of the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS . It’s also longer overall (190.2 inches) and wider (73.6 inches) than the others in the segment and Kia claims its boot is larger than many in its class, with enough space for full-size luggage or golf bags.
All the information revealed so far refers to US-specification vehicles, but we can assume that the European spec will be broadly similar.
MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension has been tuned to provide optimal feedback to the driver, while ride-damping and vehicle handling characteristics may be modified by the driver through an electronically adjustable suspension known as Dynamic Stability Damping Control, which features five drive modes (a Kia first): Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart. Depending on road conditions and driving style, the Stinger can be tuned to respond with more agility through corners as the system softens the front shocks and firms up the rear, while improved high-speed stability is achieved when the system stiffens the front shocks and softens the rear.
Standard variable ratio Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS) is said to offer razor-sharp feedback through direct mounting of the electric motor on the steering rack, enhancing steering response and reducing unwanted vibration through the column.
A choice of two, longitudinally-mounted, turbocharged engines are available, initially, each mated to the same eight-speed rear-drive automatic transmission as fitted to the K900 luxury saloon. Both engines are still under final development but the standard 2.0-litre four-cylinder Theta II unit produces an estimated 255 horsepower at approximately 6,200 rpm with maximum torque of 260 lb.ft available from 1,400 – 4,000 rpm. The 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 Lambda II engine is anticipated to produce 365 horsepower at around 6,000 rpm with peak torque of 376 lb.ft from 1,300 – 4,500 rpm. Kia is targeting 5.1 seconds to 62 mph and a top speed of 167 mph with the twin turbocharged V6.
The Stinger is available with rear- or all-wheel drive – depending on market. The AWD system is rear-wheel biased and features a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system, while Rear-drive vehicles get a mechanical limited slip differential to help evenly distribute power through the rear wheels.
Multiple Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are available, including Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system to help combat distracted or drowsy driving and Forward Collision Assistance (FCA)3 with integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection which can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the car to a halt. It also comes with Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) which scans the area behind the vehicle when backing out of a parking space, alerting the driver with an audible warning if cross traffic is detected.
A height-adjustable colour Head-Up Display (HUD) delivers key data to the driver, including speed, turn-by-turn navigation, audio and cruise control settings and Blind Spot Detection information. Bluetooth hands-free operation is standard and there’s a wireless Smartphone charging pad located in the centre-console.
Kia says that pricing for the all-new Stinger will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date.