Kia takes premium route

The Kia Stinger.
The Kia Stinger.

Kia has taken a bit of a swerve from their normal route with the launch of the company’s first premium sports car, the Stinger. From a car company that has built a sizeable following in mainstream car markets, here is a car that makes a bold statement that the Korean car maker can hunt with the hounds that dominate the premium sector – BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Alfa Romeo.

While they are a bit shy of saying that they want to be treated in the same company as these, that is generally where they will be measured. As a first attempt at building a performance sports car, this is a triumph from the collective talents of Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer of Kia Motors, and Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer at Kia Motors Europe. The Stinger is an authentic Gran Turismo (GT) in terms of design, driving excitement and entertainment.

The Stinger will be available with a pick of three engines in Europe: a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, a powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine.

When it arrives in Ireland in February next year, only two of these engines will be on offer – the 2.2-litre diesel and the 3.3 twin-turbo V6. And, while there will also be 4-wheel drive editions for Europe, the Irish catalogue will only have it in two-wheel drive form. All cars will a hydraulically operated 8-speed automatic gearbox.

To get a feel for the Stinger’s capabilities, we were invited to sample it at the European launch in Majorca last week. Kia took us to a racetrack to demonstrate just how full of vigour and how much fun you can get from a car of this nature. There is integrity about the Stinger with a bucket load of power, especially from the big V6 engine, sensational grip coupled with drifting ability to match anything currently in the sector.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.