• 2018 Kia Stinger

    2018 Kia Stinger
  • Revised “Tigernose’ grille
  • Functional air dam
  • Fastback like design w\ Large panoramic glass panel up front
  • A refreshing design from the Korean Automaker
  • Rivals the look of cars like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 with Elegance
  • Luxurious interior far above any Kia that came before it
  • Soft touch surfaces
  • Instrument cluster includes oil temp, navigation, g-forces, and a lap timer
  • Advanced HUD system
  • Low-siting driver’s seat for more support
  • Spacious rear seats unparalleled by BMW or Audi
  • Base model: 2.0-liter; 255 HP & 260 LB-FT
  • GT model: 3.3-liter, 365 HP & 376 LB-FT
  • 0-to-60 could be as fast as five seconds flat
  • Fuel economy as good as 22/29/25
  • Euro customers get a 2.2-liter with close to 200 HP
  • Automatic transmission only
  • Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter - a first for Kia
  • RWD standard; AWD $2,200 option
  • AWD gets dynamic torque vectoring
  • RWD models get a mechanical LSD
  • More than half of chassis composed of higher-strength steel
  • 3,615 LBS in base for or 3,968 with the V-6
  • Could go hybrid in the future
  • Chassis can handle much more power

Kia is finally ready to take on the Germans!

When Korean manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia came to the U.S., they were fighting an uphill battle against American, Japanese, and German cars that were often regarded as having nicer materials and better build quality, among other things. Fast forward to today, and Hyundai has spawned its own performance/luxury brand called Genesis and Kia has finally jumped on the bandwagon with a premium and performance-based fastback that is derived from the GT Concept. Going by the name Stinger, it’s set to bring some insanely stiff competition to German rivals like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback, among others. At Launch, it will be available with a 255-horsepower four-banger or a 3.3-liter, Biturbo, V-6 with some 365 ponies on tap. But, that’s not all. It’s extremely spacious with a longer wheelbase than that of other competitors like the Lexus GS, and even the Infinity Q50 while the chassis itself is composed of 55 percent high-strength steel for superior stiffness and excellent ride handling. Inside, it offers high levels of comfort and an absolutely striking design with technology that rivals that of high-end models way outside the Stingers expected price range.

Those two engines I just mentioned, well there’s already word of a diesel powertrain being available for European customers. And, while it hasn’t been officially planned or confirmed, interviews with Albert Beirmann – the Executive VP of Vehicle Testing and High-Performance Development for Kia – has said that there have been talks of electrification, a move that could pit the Stinger against the likes of the Tesla Model 3 or even the Model S, depending on how much electric muscle Kia can come up with. Beyond that, the Stinger is said to be able to handle much more power than that offered by that Biturbo 3.3-liter, so an even brighter future could be on the horizon for Kia’s new halo car.

But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself as we already have a lot to talk about, and the Stinger isn’t scheduled to hit showrooms until later on in 2017. So, grab a beverage and join me farther down the page to see what the Stinger will offer when the order books officially open.

Update 11/16/2017: Kia has announced pricing for the 2018 Kia Stinger just weeks before it rolls into dealers. Pricing starts at an exceptionally low $31,900, nearly $10,000 less than its main competition. Check out the pricing section below to learn all about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Kia GT.

Exterior

  • Revised “Tigernose’ grille
  • Functional air dam
  • Fastback like design w\ Large panoramic glass panel up front
  • A refreshing design from the Korean Automaker
  • Rivals the look of cars like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 with Elegance
2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 734759
More than half of chassis composed of higher-strength steel
I was kind of expecting the Stinger to be a modified version of the latest Optima or Cadenza, but boy was I wrong.

When I arrived in Detroit on the first day of the Detroit Auto Show, the No. 1 car that was on my list was the Kia Stinger, and boy was I surprised when I got to Kia’s show floor. What did I see? Three different production Stingers that not only looked amazing but offered a little secretive nod to the U.S. with one finished in red, one in white, and one finished in a gorgeous blue. I was kind of expecting the Stinger to be a modified version of the latest Optima or Cadenza, but boy was I wrong. Of course, Kia still gave it that Tigernose grille, but it’s the best iteration that we’ve seen so far. Refined and chrome plated the grille defines the sporty nature of the new Stinger and is accented perfectly by that large, functional air dam down below and the deeply recessed vent on each corner.

Moving farther up the front clip, it’s hard not to notice the unique headlights with double LED running lamps and the tightest fit to the body of anything its German rivals offer at this time. But, it’s the little details that really add to the car’s overall appearance. After all, look at the weird arrangement of dots on the bottom of the headlamp lens, or that vertical chrome stripe inside the corner air vents – it’s all about attention to detail, and Kia nailed it. The most interesting thing about the front is that Kia opted for a smooth hood, with mildly muscular lines on the fenders and front fascia – something that’s somewhat unique in this segment. Those hood vents look really nice, but don’t be fooled; they aren’t in any way functional from what I could tell. Upon opening the hood, you’ll notice they are covered up underneath.

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 734752
For the most part, the side profile is smooth, but if you look closely, you’ll see a very light body line running from the corner of the headlight all the way to the rear, crossing the doors just above the door handles

Moving on to the side profile, you’ll find that the name of the game was elegance and style as opposed to aggressiveness or muscularity. For the most part, the side profile is smooth, but if you look closely, you’ll see a very light body line running from the corner of the headlight all the way to the rear, crossing the doors just above the door handles. The windows get chrome trim that matches the vent ahead of the front door, while the mirrors match the door trim between the two side windows. Finally, there’s another mild body line at the bottom of the doors that feeds from that front vent and disappears into the side skirt ahead of the rear wheels. What really emphasizes the car’s sporty characteristics, however, is the large glass roof above the front seats and that downward slope above the rear seats that gives the Stinger the fastback look. A smaller corner vent adds just a little more character on the side of the rear fascia, and those unique wheels with their five split spokes offer a path of view to those Brembo performance brake calipers. Nice!

Around back, the sexy hits just keep on coming. The thin and sleek taillights reside primarily in the rear quarters, however, the LED strip on the hatch offers a visual connection between the wo. The lower corners of the taillights wrap around the rear quarters to provide a rectangular side marker on each side – yet another unique feature. The rear quarts and rear hatch and a slight upward swoop to create a built-in lip of sorts. Down below, there’s a mild line that runs the width of the rear fascia, but what’s more important is the massive, full-width insert at the bottom that houses the twin, dual exhaust outlets and offers up a diffuser-like look in the middle.

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 734755
The exterior look of the Stinger just goes to show what kind of talent Kia has required over the years

All told, the exterior look of the Stinger just goes to show what kind of talent Kia has required over the years. It proves that a brand can step away from the boring, lackluster designs that made it a go-to for affordable but dependable vehicles and jump in the ring with the big boys. The design is well thought out and strategic in every sense, based on looks alone, the German three – as well as other premium and luxury manufacturers – have a lot to worry about in coming years.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 114.4
Length (Inches) 190.2
Width (Inches) 73.6
Height (Inches) 55.1
Track front/rear (Inches) 62.8/64.8

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

So, once the Stinger hits dealer showrooms, it will be the new kid on the block that has to battle extreme brand loyalty and models that have been established in the market long before the Stinger was even conceived. Kia has named a number of models that it considers competition, but the more prominent ones include the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback.

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupè High Resolution Exterior
- image 540334

When it comes to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, it’s still in its first generation, being introduced as a 2014 model when BMW decided to split the 3 Series into two lineups. Be that as it may, the 4 Series will actually be nice and fresh when the Stinger goes on sale as it was just refreshed for the 2018 model year – something that might make it just a little harder for the Stinger to get a foothold in the market. In terms of exterior styling, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is sexy and stylish, and has more muscular definition than the Stinger. Up front, you’ll find that the hood has sharp and well-defined lines while the front fascia carries on with BMW’s typical aggressive design that makes use of a large, fake vent in each corner. The vents are larger than those on the stinger, while the air dam is smaller.

The Bimmer does feature some chrome, but it’s nowhere near as flashy as the stinger. The same story holds true for the side profile where two distinct body lines add character and a less-noticeable fender vent resides between the front wheels and the front door. The side skirts of the Bimmer are also far more aggressive. In the rear, you’ll find the 4 Series is more defined, featuring aggressive styling on the rear fascia and a rear insert that sits in between. The upward swoop on the decklid provides a bit of downforce in the rear while the exhaust outlets sit closer to the center of the fascia than they do on the Kia.

2017 Audi A5 Sportback
- image 702793

If you fancy yourself as an Audi person, you’ll find that Audi has made some pretty big strides in recent years to ditch the bland, boring designs of the past. The A5 is clear and uncut proof of that in many ways. It has a muscular front hood that features four sharp body lines, with the outside lines curving inward to terminate at the upper corners of the front grille. That grille, by the way, has evolved in recent years and is now thinner, wider, and flashy. The upper corner edges run almost parallel with the inner-most edges of the headlight units and, down below, you’ll find a pair of aggressive but fake air vents that serve as a permanent home for the fog lights, when properly equipped. Instead of having a wide-open air dam like the 4 Series and the stinger, Audi kept with a short nose with the corner vents linked together by a splitter like design. It’s actually unique in this segment (in a weird kind of way) and fairly pleasing to look at.

To the sides, you’ll find that the headlights serve as a starting point for a somewhat wavy body line that curves slightly above each wheel well and runs between the door handles and waistline before terminating at the taillights. Down below a slanted body line that is positioned between the front and rear wheels helps give the illusion that the A5 as a slightly raked stance. The side skirts, are rather uneventful, and the A5 is the only one of the three that doesn’t have a vent or trim element on the front fenders. Around back, the rear quarters flare out a bit to give a muscular appearance, while sleek taillights sit below a tiny overhang that visually links the rear quarters and decklid together. Down below, the rear fascia has a few body lines that run the full width of the rear, but there is no massive insert or diffuser hear, just a single exhaust outlet, a pair of reflectors, and a small vent for a little extra character.

If you’re motivated by looks alone, it’s going to boil down to how much you like aggressive looks. The Stinger, while fairly flashy is the least aggressive of the three, while the Bimmer and Audi bring significantly sharper lines and a more commanding presence. Both German models have been updated recently and will carry on through the end of the decade, as will the Stinger.

Exterior Dimensions

left right
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Audi A5 Sportback
Wheelbase (Inches) 110.6 111.18
Length (Inches) 182.6 186.33
Width (Inches) 71.9 72.55
Height (Inches) 54.7 54.56

Interior

  • Luxurious interior far above any Kia that came before it
  • Soft touch surfaces
  • Instrument cluster includes oil temp, navigation, g-forces, and a lap timer
  • Advanced HUD system
  • Low-siting driver’s seat for more support
  • Spacious rear seats unparalleled by BMW or Audi
2018 Kia Stinger Interior
- image 745698
Luxurious interior far above any Kia that came before it
When you sit down inside the Stinger, you’ll find yourself feeling an immediate and intense sensation of bliss as your mind goes into slight overload as you try to convince yourself that this is really a Kia

When you sit down inside the Stinger, you’ll find yourself feeling an immediate and intense sensation of bliss as your mind goes into slight overload as you try to convince yourself that this is really a Kia. Not that Kia hasn’t made drastic improvements to its interiors over the last 25 years (Kia Motors America came to be in 1992,) but there is much more going on here than anyone expected. First off, there are soft-touch surfaces everywhere including the entire dash and the door trim panels. The dash itself is elegantly designed with that slight overhang that casts a small shadow on the nose of the dash. Mixed HVAC vents keep things interesting with trio circular, eight-spoke vents in the center and almost rectangular vents in the corners. A bright trim strip runs from both sides of the dash’s face, leading the way to a small control panel that houses the hazard light switch as well as a few audio controls.

Oddly, there isn’t a flat-bottom steering wheel here, but it’s sporty nonetheless and features red contrast stitching that matches the seats and door trim inserts. There are thumb control buttons on each side spoke, and the bottom spoke features a gloss black finish with the GT logo at the bottom. Ahead of the driver sits a semi-digital instrument cluster with two analog gauges that are outlined in metal trim to go with bright red needles. In between sits a wide TFT display that provides information like engine oil temperature, navigation, cornering G-forces, and lap times, but also serves as the home for the driver settings menu and onboard diagnostics system. Sitting just to the right, is a hint toward the Stingers German rivals with that large display that is perched prominently atop the center stack. And, you can’t see it in the pictures we have here, but there is also and advanced HUD system that is height adjustable and displays information on the windshield, including speed, navigation, audio settings, cruise control settings, and blind spot detection information.

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Interior
- image 734761
The dash itself is elegantly designed with that slight overhang that casts a small shadow on the nose of the dash.

Moving lower in the front of the cabin, you’ll find metal plated pedals and a metal plated foot rest. In the center, that tall transmission tunnel serves is covered up by that high-sitting center console that offers a central armrest with a storage pocket underneath to go with dual cup holders and a gear shifter that’s ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to use and understand. Further ahead is a smaller storage tray that offers wireless phone charging for smartphones with the capability. Sitting above that tray are the HVAC controls that are positioned for easy access from either front passenger. As you can see, the front seats offer amazing side support top and bottom and feature a nice stitching pattern. The models at the Detroit Auto Show were wrapped in the optional Napa leather, and while we don’t know what that option will cost yet, it’s definitely something you want to consider if you decide to give Kia’s new Halo car a chance.

There is one thing here, that’s very important to know but isn’t really represented in any of the images here. The driver’s seat actually sits really low in the car, bringing the driver’s hip point significantly lower than that of the Stinger’s German rivals. This gives it a snugger and sportier feeling, and to test this theory I went straight from Kia to BMW and sat down in the new 5 Series – the difference was night and day. The seat was more comfortable and offered much more support in all of the right places. It was shocking and hard to believe, but if you don’t believe me, I suggest you take the test for yourself – you’ll be surprised as well.

2018 Kia Stinger Interior
- image 745697
The driver’s seat actually sits really low in the car, bringing the driver’s hip point significantly lower than that of the Stinger’s German rivals.

Sitting in the rear of the Stinger is just as surprising as sitting up front. Of course, it’s void of anything like a rear infotainment system, but rear passengers do get their very own HVAC vents and controls to keep things kosher and a pair of power sockets to keep devices charged on those longer trips. What really caught my attention, however, was how spacious the rear of the cabin really was. Despite the sloping roof and fastback design, there’s more than enough headroom for anyone shorter than 6’4, while legroom can easily accommodate those of the taller persuasion as well. The doors even open wide to accommodate those with a larger frame. The rear seats offer support in all of the right places with an emphasis on the lower back and shoulder blades. While I couldn’t spend too long in the rear, I did find that the rear seats did ease the tension in my back – something you don’t normally find happening in the rear of a smaller sedan. The rearward tilt to the seat cushions help keep your legs in a comfortable position without hampering blood flow to the lower extremities.

I know a lot of this might come off as PR talk to those of you who haven’t had a chance to see the Stinger in the metal yet, but I promise you it’s not. In the short time I spent inside this crazy sedan, I found myself highly impressed and even a bit confused that Kia hasn’t brought this quality of materials or the superb and meticulous fit and finish to other models in its lineup. For the brand’s first go at the luxury segment, it did pretty damn well, and it’s only fair to give them props. Not everyone can jump in the ring with the big boys and go a full 15 rounds.

2018 Kia Stinger Interior
- image 745739

Interior Dimensions

Headroom front/rear (Inches) 38.3/37.0
Leg room front/rear (Inches) 42.6/36.4
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 56.4/54.8
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 55.5/56.1
Passenger capacity (cu. ft.) 93.8
Cargo area capacity, rear seats up (cu. ft.) 23.3
Cargo area capacity, rear seats folded (cu. ft.) 40.9

Design, Function, and Comfort

At this point, you know that I practically fell in love with the Stinger’s interior, but that doesn’t mean the competition doesn’t stack up well. When BMW updated the 4 Series, it also did quite a bit to the interior to help keep it on point for the next few years.

2018 BMW M4 Convertible High Resolution Interior
- image 702101

Looking at the full dash shot of the BMW 4 Series above you can see that it’s quite stylish in its own regard. I haven’t had a chance to sit in the updated 4 Series, but the pre-facelifted model offered very comfortable seats and a spacious alternative to the Stinger. Kia made it a point to say it benchmarked the Stinger against the 4 Series a lot, but some of the similarities between the two are uncanny. Take the door trim panels, for example. The both have their own designs and all, but the design of the armrest, pull handle, and the location of the middle speaker in the middle of the insert prove that Kia smuggled in some cues from the 4 Series – a tactical and strategic choice, but risky.

The seats in the Stinger offer a little more side support (unless you look at the M4, for instance) while the Bimmer has a more intuitive operating system built into its infotainment system. The screen in the Bimmer isn’t as tall, but it’s wider and responsive. Both models make use of a semi-digital instrument cluster, however, the TFT screen in the Kia is just a bit wider and offers better graphics. As far function goes, both offer similar safety technology while the controls for the Bimmer’s infotainment system are a little more intuitive. The Driver’s seat in the Kia does sit a bit lower in comparison, however, so it has a sportier feel and should offer a little more support during more extreme maneuvers.

2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior
- image 687428

And, we finally get to the A5, which I tend to favor more than that of the BMW and find to be a little more advanced than that of the Stinger. Now, the Stinger wins hands down as far as comfortability goes, but on the technology and design front, the A5 is hard to ignore. It can be hard with a 12-inch, digital instrument cluster that provides all necessary information and as a home for the navigation system – a feature that helps keep your eyes on the road. I prefer the navigation in the BMW as far as looks and function goes, but I’d be willing to sacrifice if it meant getting that digital instrument cluster. The A5’s infotainment screen is also the larger of the three and actually looks like it is floating above the dash instead of being mounted to it.

The Audi features HVAC vents that run the full width of the dash and the seats sit higher than those of the Bimmer and Kia. The center console features a semi-floating design with storage area located underneath and, while it has the slightly elevated edge on the passenger side, it’s not as intrusive as that of the BMW. The seats in the Audi look almost identical to those found in the 4 Series while the door trim is more refined. Like the other two models, it comes with a similar list of safety and technology features, including the option of a 4G LTE hotspot and various semi-autonomous safety features.

Interior Dimensions

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Audi A5 Sportback
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 39.9 39.92/37.28
Legroom, front/rear (Inches) 42.2/33.7
Shoulder room, front/rear (Inches) 54.8/54.3
Cargo Space (cu. ft.) 17.0 17.0

Drivetrain

  • Base model: 2.0-liter; 255 HP & 260 LB-FT
  • GT model: 3.3-liter, 365 HP & 376 LB-FT
  • 0-to-60 could be as fast as five seconds flat
  • Fuel economy as good as 22/29/25
  • Euro customers get a 2.2-liter with close to 200 HP
  • Automatic transmission only 
  • Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter - a first for Kia
  • RWD standard; AWD $2,200 option
  • AWD gets dynamic torque vectoring
  • RWD models get a mechanical LSD
  • More than half of chassis composed of higher-strength steel
  • 3,615 LB in base for or 3,968 with the V-6
  • Could go hybrid in the future
  • Chassis can handle much more power
2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 734762
Base model: 2.0-liter; 255 HP & 260 LB-FT
The entry-level model comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-banger known as the Theta II that has 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 260 pound-feet of twist at a very low 1,400 rpm.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t afforded the option to take one of the three Stingers on display for a spin, but as they say, good things come to those who wait, right? Even without getting to hear that 3.3-liter Biturbo roar or feel how this thing really handles in a tight corner at high speed, I find myself impressed and intrigued by the specs. The entry-level model comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-banger known as the Theta II that has 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 260 pound-feet of twist at a very low 1,400 rpm. But, if you’re like me, and have a true thirst for power, you’ll jump up to the 3.3-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that is available in the GT model. It pumps out a cool 365 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 376 pound-feet at an even lower 1,300 to 4,500 rpm – this should make for some very fun and powerful burnouts when you turn off that traction control.

Of course, Kia has yet to release official performance specs thus far, but the 60-mph sprint should come in as low as five seconds with the 3.3-liter. Fuel economy for the four-cylinder is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. If you opt for all-wheel drive, fuel economy drops by one mpg in the city and combined. Meanwhile, the 3.3-liter delivers 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mph combined in rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive configuration.

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Drivetrain AutoShow
- image 701499
Fuel economy for the four-cylinder is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.

On a side note, European customers will have the choice of a diesel-powered Stinger that is powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder. It is said to deliver 197 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque. With this engine in tow, the Stinger will be able to hit 62 mph in 8.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 139 mph. This sounds more like all looks and no go to me, but something tells me the fuel economy will be amazing, so it may be fair trade off.

Unfortunately, those who prefer to row their own gears will find themselves largely disappointed as the Stinger isn’t to be offered with a manual transmission. In fact, it has now been exposed that Kia engineers didn’t even try to develop and manual gearbox for the sports sedan, so don’t get your hopes up for the future either. With that said, shifting duties are scheduled to be handled by the second-generation eight-speed auto that comes from the K900 sedan. It was designed by Kia engineers and makes use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter, a first for any vehicle that sports a Kia badge. The plus side to this is that the transmission will handle shifting all on its own, but if you’re feeling the need to get better acquainted with those corners on the way home, you can engage manual shifting and cycle through the gears with the paddle shifters that are attached to the steering wheel. At least you’ll have that option.

2018 Kia Stinger Exterior
- image 745710
When it comes to the driveline, the Stinger can be had in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with a rear-biased torque distribution

When it comes to the driveline, the Stinger can be had in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with a rear-biased torque distribution. The latter features dynamic torque vectoring that allows the car to monitor conditions and deliver just the right amount of torque to each wheel for just about any given condition, ultimately resulting in the best traction possible in most scenarios. In adverse conditions, automatic braking will take charge of each wheel individually to keep things from getting wild. Those equipped with rear-wheel drive come with a mechanical limited-slip differential which should help evenly distribute power to the rear wheels.

When it came to the Chassis that supports the beast, Kia focused more of stiffness than it did making a light car. As such, the Stinger tips the scales at as much as 3,615 pounds with the four-banger and 3,968 pounds with that V-6 with all-wheel drive. But, that’s not a bad thing, because this makes the car excessively strong, and with 55 percent of the chassis being composed of advanced higher-strength steel, it can handle much more power than the current range-topping model. This in itself is a hint that the Stinger may, at some point in the future, be offered in a more powerful form with the ability to take on the BMW M4 head-to-head – now that’s a battle I would love to see.

Drivetrain Specifications

Stinger GT
Engine 2.0L Twin Scroll Turbo 4-Cyl 3.3L Twin Turbo V6
Displacement (cc) 1,998 cc 3,342 cc
Bore x stroke (mm) 86.0 mm X 86.0 mm 92.0 mm x 83.8 mm
Compression ratio 10.0:1 10.0:1
Horsepower 255 HP @ 6,200 RPM 365 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 1,400-4,000 RPM 376 LB-FT @ 1,300-4,500 RPM
Curb Weight
Minimum RWD 3,611 lbs. 3,829 lbs.
Maximum AWD (All Options) 3,792 lbs. 4,023 lbs.
Fuel Economy
Automatic transmission (RWD), city/highway/combined (mpg) 22/29/25 19/25/21
Automatic transmission (AWD), city/highway/combined (mpg) 21/29/24 19/25/21

Rumors

There’s word that Kia has been discussing a future of electrification for the Stinger – there’s no official word and any details at this point, but the conversations have taken place. This means that in the near future a hybrid could come to be. Furthermore, an all-electric variant could but a big damper on the Tesla Model 3 if Kia plays its cards right. I certainly wouldn’t expect that to happen for at least a few years, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

Better Bang For Your Buck

Power delivery and performance is a pretty big deal to a lot of folks, especially when you’re looking at sporty models like the Stinger, 4 Series Gran Coupe, and the A5 Sportback. But, how do they all stack up against each other? Well, the Stinger is actually the most powerful of the three, offering 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque from that biturbo, but that doesn’t mean it’s the fastest. When it comes to the 4 Series, the entry-level model is the 430i, which can be had in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel ($2,000 premium) and is powered by a 2.0-liter with 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s not much less than what’s offered by the four-cylinder Stinger, but it’s enough to push the Gran Coupe to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds – likely a bit quicker than that of the Stinger. But, if you upgrade to the 440i or 440i xDrive, you’ll get a 3.0-liter inline-six that delivers a cool 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. It’s less than the Stinger, but thanks to weight savings and aerodynamics, the 440i can hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds or 4.7 seconds with xDrive. That’s at least 0.3 seconds faster to 60 than what the Stinger is expected to do, but in terms of top speed, the Bimmer is limited to 155 mph while the Stinger tops out well above 160.

The A5 Sportback is a little more confusing, but considering it’s not available in the U.S. as of the time of this writing, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s offered with more diesel engines than gasoline engines. In fact, if you want a six-cylinder model, you have no choice but to get an oil burner. On the gasoline front, there’s a 2.0-liter four-banger that can be had with 187 horsepower and 236 pound-feet or 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. 62 mph comes in around six seconds, so it’s quite a bit slower than where the Stinger and 4 Series GC sit, but it does pull 47.8 mpg, so at least you get fuel economy if you sacrifice performance a bit. On the diesel front, you can get a 2.0-liter as well, that offers 187 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, which allows the 62-mph sprint to happen in around 7.4 seconds and top speed to sit at 146 mph. It’s a turd in comparison to the Stinger or 4 Series, but it does achieve a combined fuel economy of 67.3 mpg, which could be a major selling point if you do a lot of driving. V-6 TDI models displace 3.0-liters and can be had with 215 horsepower and 295 pound-feet or 292 ponies and 457.3 pound-feet of twist. Performance figures aren’t readily available for all engines, but you can opt for a six-speed manual if you want to row your own, or a seven-speed S Tronic dual clutch with paddle shifters. For those of you who like to cruise and enjoy the luxury without the fun of spirited driving, you can opt for the eight-speed auto that is said to offer smooth shifts.

BMW 430i Gran Coupe BMW 440i Gran Coupe Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI Audi A5 Sportback 3.0 TDI
Engine 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder 2.0-liter Inline four-cylinder 2.0-liter Inline four-cylinder 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine
Horsepower 248 HP @ 5,200 RPM 320 HP @ 5,500 RPM 252 HP @ 5,000-6,000 RPM 190 HP @ 3,800-4,200 RPM 218 HP @ 4,000-5,000 RPM
Torque 258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,800 RPM 330 LB-F @ 1,380–5,000 RPM 272.9 LB-FT @ 1,600-4,500 RPM 295.0 LB-FT @ 1,750-3,000 RPM 295.0 LB-FT @ 1,250–3,750 RPM
Transmission 8-speed Sport Automatic 8-speed Sport Automatic 7-speed dual-clutch 6-speed manual 7-speed dual-clutch
Acceleration 0–60 mph 5.6 4.8 6.5 7.9 6.4
Top speed 130 mph 130 mph 155 mph 148 mph 152 mph
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 23/2/4/27 21/32/25
Curb Weight 3,668 Lbs 3,799 Lbs 3,240 Lbs 3,306 Lbs 3,615 Lbs

Safety

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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If you know anything about the Kia brand, you know it wouldn’t bring a car like this to the market without integrating a fair amount of safety and driver assistance features to keep things safe. As such, the Stinger has a number of advanced features, including an all new (and first for any Kia) Driver Attention Alert system that can determine whether the driver is tired or distracted and deliver audio and visual alerts to encourage a rest stop. But, that’s not all. It also features a forward collision system with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian protection to go with advanced cruise control, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert. While some may have been hoping to see more autonomous features, it’s nice to see that Kia isn’t shoving that crap down your throat with its first real performance offering. Surely, it will come in time, but this car is slated to be a driver’s car.

Pricing

2018 Kia Stinger Exterior
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AWD gets dynamic torque vectoring

We originally speculated that the Kia Stinger would command at least $41,000 to sit right in line with its main competition, the BMW 4 Series GC and the Audi A5. That would have been logical from most standpoints, but Kia decided to dial things down a bit more and keep its resident performance car in a price bracket that doesn’t require excessively deep pockets or an outrageous car note. All told, the Stinger will start out at a relatively low $31,900 for the base model. Moving up to the Premium trim increases your entry point by $6,000 to $37,100. The Stinger GT comes in at $38,250 while the GT1 commands $43,250. The range-topping Stinger GT2 comes in at $49,200. Of course, this doesn’t include the $900 destination fee and, like the other guys, AWD will set you back an extra $2,200 on any given model. Still, not a bad price point from bottom to top and lots of value for your hard-earned buck.

2018 Kia Stinger $31,900
2018 Kia Stinger Premium $37,100
2018 Kia Stinger GT $38,350
2018 Kia Stinger GT1 $43,250
2018 Kia Stinger GT2 $49,200
All-wheel drive $2,200
Destination $900

Sometimes It’s All About That Green Stuff

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupè High Resolution Exterior
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So, maybe you find yourself limited to a budget for your next whip. If so, then you’ll find that pricing is really tight in this segment, so you’ll probably want to look at things like design, and performance to really help you make a decision about which model is best for you. As of the time of this writing, the Stinger has yet to be priced, but journalists everywhere shoot out numbers that range anywhere from $40,000 for the entry-level model up to right around $60,000 for the range-topping stinger. When it comes to BMW’s offerings in this segment, you can get the 430i for as little as $41,950 or $43,950 with xDrive. Going with the 440i, which offers better acceleration than the others will hit the bank for at least $48,300 or $50,300 when equipped with all-wheel drive.

2017 Audi A5 Sportback
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When it comes to the Audi A5 Sportback, pricing varies a bit depending on the specific market. Over in Europe, however, it’s offered in three different trims. The entry-level model comes with the low-end 2.0-liter TDI and starts out from $40,641 in SE form, but increase to a starting point of $42,978 in Sport trim or $45,007 in range-topping S Line trim. These prices have been converted at exchanges rates as of Jan 18, 2017. It should be noted that the two upper trim levels can be had with any of the engines available, but pricing can increase to more than $50,000 for the S Line with all of the available options.

BMW 430i Gran Coupe $41,950
BMW 430i xDrive Gran Coupe $43,950
BMW 440i Gran Coupe $48,300
BMW 440i xDrive Gran Coupe $50,300
Audi A5 Sportback SE $40,641
Audi A5 Sportback Sport $42,978
Audi A5 Sportback S Line $45,007

Other Options

So, perhaps you’re considering the Kia, but you’re not interested in owning a BMW 4 Series Grand Coupe or an Audi A5. That’s okay, though, because the Stinger has what it takes to be cross shopped with a handful of models, like those listed below.

Lexus GS

2016 Lexus GS High Resolution Exterior
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The Lexus GS isn’t a noob on the market, with the first-gen model being introduced way back in 1991. Of course, the GS wouldn’t have what it takes to compete with a model like the Stinger if Lexus hadn’t pulled itself together and released the current-gen model in 2015 – the first generation to wear Lexus’ iconic spindle grille as we all know it. On the outside, it features a wildly aggressive front end with sharp points and deep lines while the side and rear profiles are rather toned down in comparison.

Like the Stinger, the GS is offered with a four-banger and a V-6. But, the four-banger displaces just 2.0-liters and delivers 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, Lexus claims a 7-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 143 mph. Move up to the GS350 or higher will get you a 3.5-liter V-6 with at least 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. In this configuration, 60 mph comes as quick as 5.8 seconds while top speed maxes out at just 130 mph. In this configuration, you can have all-wheel drive if you so desire, but if you really want power, you need to upgrade to the GS 450h and that’ll need you a few extra ponies with an output of 338 horsepower. You’ll get to 60 in 5.6 seconds and top out at 137 mph, but will be limited to all-wheel drive. Of course, these specs are a little lower than those promised by the Stinger, so the only motivation I can think of is not wanting a German or Korean car, and being more interested in aggressive looks than power under the hood. Pricing starts at $46,310 which could be comparative to the four-cylinder Stinger (maybe) but climbs to as much as $69,995 for the range-topping 450h F Sport.

Read more about the Lexus GS here.

Infiniti Q50

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Q50 is a baby in Infiniti’s stable, being introduced for the 2014 model year and updated in 2016 to keep up with the competition. But, you’ve got to be careful when considering the Q50 as you could find yourself paying as much for way less power if the Stinger really starts out around $42k See, the Q50 starts out at $33,000 and climbs to as much as $44,300 in 2.0t form. This model comes with a 2.0-liter four-banger with a meager 208 horsepower on tap – far less than that promised by the entry-level Stinger. So, if you really want comparable power, you need to go with the 3.0t that pumps out 300 ponies from a 3.0-liter V-6. It starts out at $40,650, which could offer more bang for your buck if you’re considering an entry-level Stinger, but can climb to as much as $46,500 when fully loaded with all of the bells and whistles.

Then again, if the Stinger commands more like $60k, you could opt for a Q50 Red Sport 400 with 400 ponies on tap and an enticing exterior package for as little as $48,700. But, if you want all-wheel drive exclusive wheels and other niceties, you’ll be asked to pony up $50,700. Oh, and by the way, as far as looks go, the Q50 takes an approach similar to that of the Stinger – it’s got lines in all of the right places, but isn’t wildly aggressive. It is pleasing to look at, however, and you’ll find that it does compare well in the looks department.

Find out more about the Infiniti Q50 here.

Conclusion

2018 Kia Stinger Exterior
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And here we are at the end, and you have a lot of information to digest. What’s really important, however, is what you take away from what I’ve said here. I’m not talking about my opinion or all of my happy and enthused attitude about the new Stinger, but the fact that it impressed some like me, who can have some pretty harsh words about cars I see on the market today. Of course, I’m no David E. Davis or Brock Yates, so I don’t expect my thoughts and experience to carry much weight with you, but when you lay eyes on the Stinger for the first time, try to let go of all preconceived notions embedded in your mind based on previously released models from the brand. Kia really raised the bar for itself with the Stinger, and I hope that you find it as impressive as I did, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. Just keep an open mind at first and give it a chance – I truly believe you’ll be impressed as well. And, if you’ve already seen it in person, hit me up in the comments section below and fill me in on your thoughts.

  • Leave it
    • * No manual transmission
    • * Lots of German brand loyalty to compete with

References

2011 Kia GT Concept Exterior
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Kia is getting ready to tackle the Germans again with a production version of the GT Concept.

Read our full review on the 2011 Kia GT Concept.

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Read more Kia news.

Update History

Updated 06/14/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Kia GT up for a new testing session, this time somewhere in the Alps.

Spy shot Comparison

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 Kia Stinger Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 Kia Stinger Exterior Spyshots
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Kia did a good job at keeping the Stinger prototype covered throughout its real-world testing sessions. We knew it would be sporty, but the world wasn’t ready for it to looks so good when the sheet came off.

Kia Stinger vs Kia GT Concept

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2011 Kia GT Concept Exterior
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As I mentioned earlier, the new Stinger (left) is based, in part, on the Kia GT Concept (right) that Kia showed off for the first time at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Concept was significantly more wild and futuristic than the production model it spawned. It took Kia five years to rework the concept into something that could be brought to the masses, but that was time well spent. As you can see, the new Stinger got a similar front grille, however, the front fascia, fenders, and headlights were all largely reworked. As far as the side profile goes, Kia dropped the side view cameras in exchange for aging but effective mirrors, and they solved the issue with the front door glass that made the front end of the concept look a bit awkward. The body lines on the side have been toned down but did carry over to the production model. The waistline is practically the same and Kia did make use of the vent from the concept that is ahead of the front doors, but it’s now chrome and doesn’t extend toward the rear wheels.

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2011 Kia GT Concept Exterior
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In the rear, there’s some significant difference in design, but that’s a very good thing as the rear of the concept was the weakest point in its design. To put it simply, the rear end was boringly flat and uneventful with a weird diffuser-like element providing some character. As far as carry over to the production model goes, the only think you’ll recognize as familiar are the rear taillights. They wrap around the rear quarters in the same fashion and traverse across the rear hatch in the same fashion. The lens layout of the production model is much more attractive as is the exhaust setup and rear fascia insert.

2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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2011 Kia GT Concept
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Inside, Kia completely reworked the interior to make the stinger more feasible and ready for a market where judgment and criticism comes at light speed. There are very few similarities here, however, you’ll notice that the Stinger’s steering wheel has a similar design but isn’t anywhere near as flashy. The dash has the same design principal with a nose that extends from the center to house the infotainment system and center vents. Normally, production models don’t look nearly as well as the concepts that led to their existence. But, in this case, the Stinger looks much better than the concept inside and out.

What do you think?
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