The idea of a KIA competing with the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 was lunacy just a few years ago. But then KIA, and its parent company Hyundai, actually started to make some interesting cars. Both brands now have more than one rear-wheel drive offering that’s designed to inject some passion into the driving experience. Imagine that? A KIA with some real fun? That’s exactly what the new KIA Stinger GT is, fun, and it’s largely thanks to one man — Albert Biermann, formerly of BMW’s famous M Division.
Thanks to a recent interview from Biermann, we now know that he hasn’t been happy with the state of the German car industry’s design and performance for awhile. He claims that German companies are too afraid of hurting their bottom line that they aren’t taking any risks or doing anything interesting. Which is why when KIA came calling, he left BMW M. Since then, KIA has been making some seriously impressive driver’s cars. Admittedly, they aren’t perfect and they still have a long way to go before they can really compete with zee Germans, but considering that these are new waters for KIA, it’s a surprisingly impressive start.
In this new video from Motor Trend’s Ignition, we see a road and track review from racing driver Randy Pobst of the new KIA Stinger GT. He seems to actually enjoy driving it and is really quite complimentary.
From the outside, the Stinger is actually a pretty good looking car. It isn’t pretty, nor is it that aggressive or exciting, but it’s handsome enough to be a fun little sport sedan. The inside is rather nice, too, for a KIA. Again, it won’t beat out a 3 Series or especially a C-Class, but it works. But the Stinger doesn’t impress because of its design. The Stinger impresses with how it drives.
Under the hood is a 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, a commonly used engine in the Hyundai/KIA family. That twin-turbo V6 makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, which is a bit more than the BMW 340i’s 3.0 liter I6. All of that power is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to just the rear wheels. Claimed 0-60 mph is about 4.8 seconds, which is right around the same as the 340i. So it’s seriously quick, the Stinger.
How does it handle? According to Pobst, it’s not bad at all. It seems to handle pretty well, with good steering, decent chassis balance and great power. Its brakes are Brembos, too, so it stops as well as it goes. It needs work, though, as it could shed a few pounds and it has a bit too much understeer on corner entry. However, being based off of a much larger chassis and also being KIA’s first real attempt at a sport sedan, it’s a commendable effort.
Much of KIA’s newfound rear-drive success must be attributed to Biermann. His expertise from working at the M Division has really paid dividends for Hyundai/KIA. The new KIA Stinger GT might not be able to contend with the best from Germany just yet but it does show that KIA can be a serious player in the future. Also, how awesome is the Stinger name?