Who would have thought Kia would be the company that makes a spiritual successor to the defunct Pontiac G8 sedan. But that’s exactly what the Korean automaker has done with the stunning Stinger GT it revealed here at the Detroit Auto Show. This rear-wheel-drive sedan looks fantastic and appears to be a viable competitor to the Dodge Charger and even some luxury performance sedans.
Loosely based on the Kia GT Concept from a few years ago, the Stinger GT is actually a proper fastback design. That means the the rear glass raises like a hatchback, which means the greenhouse design is similar to that of the Audi A7.
Overall the exterior look is very attractive. There’s a mix of Kia Optima (mostly in the three-quarter rear view) with some Dodge Charger and Audi thrown in here and there. Oddly, outside of a long hood, the proportions of the car are not traditional rear-wheel-drive sedan, which isn’t a bad thing here. Part of the aggressive design is air intake inlets on the sides and hood, but it is worth noting the ones on the hood are fake, which is a little disappointing.
Nonetheless, the Stinger is successfully walking a line between being too much from a design perspective, and being just awesome enough to capture the attention level appropriate for the hardware beneath its stunning skin.
Underneath is the same platform that underpins the Genesis G80 and G90. That means we’ve got a classic rear-wheel-drive setup with optional torque vectoring all-wheel-drive. In all cases the power is flowing through an 8-speed automatic, which has been received in the Genesis products. Buyers have two engine options, Kia’s 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 255 horsepower or a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6. The V-6 is the only engine that matters here because it has a healthy 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.
Where the Stinger’s performance credentials really begin to take shape is in the details. There’s vented Brembo brakes with quad-caliper fronts and dual-caliper rears when you opt for the V-6. There’s also a variable ratio steering rack on this car. To be clear, variable ratio racks are typically reserved for luxury performance cars, not Kia’s.
Even the interior of this car feels more luxury than Kia. The grey show car had a stunning red interior with soft leather, a suede-like headliner and real aluminum trim throughout. This interior could seriously be stacked against the best German luxury sedans, especially when you catch real aluminum grilles on the speakers and high-quality switchgear on the center stack.
So basically this new Kia looks like the ultimate GT car from the outside and feels like it on the insider. Let’s also factor in that this Kia was developed on the Nurburgring in Germany, so if it drives as good as it looks…wow. Go Kia.
The remaining factor here is who will buy the Stinger GT. If history is any indicator, the car isn’t going to sell in any sizable numbers, so hopefully it doesn’t discourage Kia from continuing to make image-busting cars like this that enthusiasts like us clamor over.