Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
The Kia Stinger hit the ground running this year, taking the Kia brand to new heights. It is derived from the Kia GT Concept that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. It was designed by Peter Schreyer and Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s Chief Designer. The Stinger was engineered by Albert Biermann, the former BMW M Vice President of Engineering. It was officially unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show. I was excited to get some review time with the Kia Stinger and see what the buzz is all about.
The 2018 Stinger is a five-door hatchback and has a sporty look. Very similar to the Porsche Panamera and the Audi A7 or RS7. I love the look of the Stinger with the lip spoiler, hood vents and 19-inch wheels. The sport sedan is appealing as I received a lot compliments during our “Trunk or Treat” event. Dads loved the sporty look while Moms praised the spacious cargo room and cabin.
The interior has comfortable nappa leather seats, with heated and vented front seats. The driver seat is 16-way adjustable and the passenger seat is 12-way adjustable. The Stinger comes with two-zone climate control. The infotainment system had an 8.0-inch touchscreen offering Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM, UVO Services, head-up display and navigation with real-time traffic and weather. The 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is phenomenal. The multi-color interior LED mood lighting added a nice touch to the Stinger.
The 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 producing 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. It will snatch the change out of your pocket, in sport mode when you launch from the line. The Stinger handles well in the corners too. GT2 comes with a limited-slip differential and electronically adjustable suspension. The electronic shift-by-wire system is exclusive to the GT2 trim. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic with five drive modes on a dial in the cockpit and paddle shifters. The drives modes are Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom. The Custom setting allows drivers to adjust the performance of the Engine/Transmission, Steering Wheel, Suspension, AWD and Active Engine Sound. Let me just say that when the Active Engine Sound is set on “Enhanced”, the growl from the exhaust is exciting. Kia equips the beast with Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires (225/40R19 front, 255/35R19 rear) to handle the output.
The Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) package is Kia’s safety suite. It comes with blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning and assistance, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and correction, Rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights, Adaptive cruise control and Automatic high-beams
I had to take the Stinger to one of the largest events that I cover each year, which is the grand finale of racing season, known as the Haltech World Cup Finals aka Import vs Domestic. This event highlights drag racing action from all over the world as well some top flight custom cars. The Kia Stinger was pure show stopper as people stared as I rolled past in a parking lot. Gearheads immediately talked to me about companies who are already offering Air Intakes, Intercoolers, and Blow Off Valves to make more power that the 365 hp that is delivered from the factory. Each one of these parts has a purpose because improving efficiency and keeping the twin turbo setup running at its peak is extremely important. My buddies, that are into the custom part of the car game, kept referencing back to the 2017 SEMA Kia Stinger build by West Coast Customs and the 2018 SEMA DUB Stinger build. It was encouraging to see the excitement from the car community about the Kia Stinger.
I was hoping for better gas mileage but hey, it’s a sports car so I can’t complain too much 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined. One thing that alarmed me were some noises in the cabin. The model that I tested had over 9,000 miles and there were some squeaking and creaking noises that I should not hear in a fairly-new vehicle. It was evident when driving slow in a parking lot or down the street. Another thing to consider is adding a flat head screwdriver in the tire change kit, versus having a Phillips screwdriver. Popping the Kia cap of the wheel to access the lug nuts would be much easier with a flat head screwdriver if you are ever tasked to change the tire.
The Kia Stinger comes in a few different trims. The GT1 and GT2 trims sit above the base GT. I was fortunate enough to receive a well-equipped 2018 Stinger GT2 AWD V6 in Silky Silver with a price tag of $52,300.00, including delivery. Kia of today is nothing like it was in the past. Kia has set their sights to maintaining an economy-car benchmark, as well as targeting the big luxury brands and their sport-sedan models. The Stinger offers ample power, a nice interior design at an extremely attractive price when you look at the competitors such as the BMW 640i, Porsche Panamera V6 and Audi A5. The Kia Stinger is a family car but built to go fast. So, the family that is looking to have fun and ride in style, this is the vehicle for you. Enjoy the photo gallery.