Ya know what the automotive industry lacks nowadays? Great names. Every car seems to just be a jumble of letters and numbers now, with BMW being the most guilty of them all. It used to be okay when those letters and numbers represented something but now that they don’t, it just seems like they’re named by nerdy scientists coming up with a new medicine names. Where are the Jenson Interceptors and Triumph Spitfires of the world (come to think of it, were the British always the best at naming cars?). Well now we’re getting a new car with a great name from an unlikely brand — the KIA Stinger.
KIA wants to be considered one of the top brands in the world of sport sedans. If the Korean brand had said that 10 years ago, the automotive world would collectively laugh in its face. However, Hyundai and KIA have been stepping their game up as of late and producing some very good cars at impressive prices. The latest car to come from KIA is the Stinger and it recently just debuted at the Detroit Auto Show with BMW in its sights.
To make a great first car, brands usually look to other brands for inspiration. KIA seems to have done that here, with many aspects of the car reminding us of many other cars. The exterior, for instance, has a sort of Chevy SS look going on, except for the hatchback style trunk, which is a proper lift-back and a nice touch. But with its short front overhand and emphasis on its rear haunches, the Stinger clearly looks rear-wheel drive, which is as refreshing as the fact that it is rear-wheel drive. This car’s most direct-competitor will likely be the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, as both are rear-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive) sport sedans with hatchback-style tailgates.
Inside, the Stinger looks good, with impressive ergonomics and nice materials. The air vents’ styling on the dash are clearly borrowed from current Mercedes-Benz interiors and the dash as a whole could be mistaken for the dash in a Mercedes CLA-Class. Overall, though, nicely done by KIA.
Underneath the hood lies one of either two longitudinal engines. The first is a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which develops 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This will be very competitive with BMW’s 430i Gran Coupe that packs a 248 hp 2.0 liter turbo-four. The second engine is a 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V6 that makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than the BMW 440i Gran Coupe’s 320 hp and 332 lb-ft, though that B58 engine is likely vastly underrated as it pulls like a freight train. Both Stinger engines will be mated to the brand’s eight-speed automatic first introduced in the KIA K900.
The KIA Stinger’s rear-wheel drive chassis was developed by none other than Albert Biermann, the man who used to head BMW’s M Division. So don’t doubt for a moment that this car will drive well. It was even tested at the Nurburgring, a place that BMW knows very well. While KIA isn’t well known for its rear-wheel drive sports cars, its sister company, Hyundai, actually made some impressive cars with the Genesis line. So, with Biermann’s help, the KIA Stinger should be a genuine competitor to the likes of the BMW 4 Series, as well as the Mercedes-AMG C43 and Audi S4.
We’ll have to wait and see if the KIA Stinger is completely up to the task of taking on the BMW 440i Gran Coupe just yet, but the Bavarians better watch out or they’ll get…wait for it…Stung (*crickets*).