Kia Stinger GT is an intoxicating blend of muscular performance, thrilling dynamics, eye catching style and sharp value
The Kia Stinger is perhaps one of the most anticipated and most talked about cars to be released in Australia and perhaps internationally within the last two years. The Korean sports sedan’s local arrival coincided with the closure of Holden and Ford’s Australian manufacturing facilities and with it, the death of the rear-wheel drive Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
As such, the Kia Stinger is considered to be a spiritual successor to these models, as the Commodore range has gone front or all-wheel drive, and the Falcon has been indirectly replaced by the front-wheel drive Mondeo.
When we tested the mid-spec Stinger 330Si earlier this year we were enamoured by the car’s brutal performance, it’s comfort and styling, but we felt its anonymous engine note, slightly underwhelming equipment levels and patchy build quality were a little disappointing.
Enter the Kia Stinger GT. Priced from $60,490 – $4,500 more than the 330Si – the Stinger GT is the flagship of the range and gains the following over its underling: sports seats wrapped in Nappa leather with GT logo, with heating and cooling for the front seats, GT Interface which includes g-forces, oil temperature, lap times, torque and turbo boost pressure and lap timer, a 360 degree camera system, dynamic damping stability control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Oh, and there’s also that new Aussie developed bi-modal exhaust, which is a most welcome change.
On the road, the Stinger GT is a hoot, yes, it feels big, but that twin turbo 3.3 litre V6 produces 272kW @ 6000rpm and 510Nm @ 1300-4500rpm. That engine is married to a slick shifting eight speed auto that sends power – most crucially – to the rear wheels.
Kia says the Stinger GT will race from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds, and we believe them. And thanks to that massive powerband, the engine is not only fiercely responsive but it’s easy to live with, too. Refinement is great, and that bi modal exhaust emits a deep and alluring burble at idle, but mash the throttle and you’re rewarded with an angry induction roar from the engine bay and an enraged bark from the back. The whole experience is rather addictive and makes you wonder why the exhaust system wasn’t fitted as standard from launch.
The eight speed transmission is a well matched companion, too. It can be smooth when you just want to potter around or rapid – and still smooth – when you want to get a lick on. The driveline’s performance is also influenced by the car’s various drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport, Smart and Custom. We recommend choosing Custom and setting the drivetrain to Sport and the ride to Comfort.
The drivetrain behaves remarkably differently to that in the Stinger GT’s arch nemesis, the Commodore VXR, whose V6 needs to be revved hard to really get moving and its transmission can get a little well, confused.
Chuck the Stinger GT into a corner and it’s a laugh, it feels dynamic, although one is always conscious of its size. Push on, and it doesn’t mind shaking its booty, albeit it in a rather controlled way.
Inside, you get that lovely Nappa leather, GT embroidery on the seats and pretty much all the kit Kia can throw at you. And that raises another case point – the GT is only $4500 odd more than the 330Si and makes a far stronger argument as a value for money package. It’s also worth noting that the build quality inside our GT test car was far superior to that of the 330, suggesting Kia has refined the production process for the Stinger over time.
Sale or No Sale?
Sale. Absolutely. The Kia Stinger GT ticks all the performance car boxes: it’s fast, handles well, is great value for money and now it even sounds good. Definitely worth a look.