Concluding a string of compelling video teasers, Kia has formally unveiled the 2018 Kia GT Stinger sport sedan ahead of its debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
The moniker does a good job invoking memories of the two door GT4 Stinger concept that made its debut three years ago in Detroit. At the time, many considered the car to perhaps be a veiled preview to a contender that would rival entries such as the Subaru BRZ and the recently renamed Scion FR-S.
However, Kia pulled a swerve, and while the GT Stinger name carries over, it now graces a stylish four door sedan that was crafted to take advantage of its aggressive undertones. A long muscular hood and bold front fenders stretch nicely to the rear of the car. The roofline serves as a compelling transition to the short rear deck, which is becoming a must-have item in sport sedans these days. This allows the GT Stinger to be on par with stylish rivals such as the Audi A7 and the BMW Gran Coupe. Strong character lines located at the rocker panels help trim down visual heft in its overall profile, though the presentation is marred somewhat by a shiny fender vent.
The 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder that defined the original concept car has been pitched in lieu of a 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged V6 which is good for 365 horsepower, and allows the GT Stinger to rocket its way to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
Unfortunately, the concept’s six speed manual gearbox didn’t survive the transition from concept to reality, and the production sedan makes do with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is fine with us, especially since the take rate for a pure manual offering would’ve been comparably low versus a more mass market oriented automatic. Hopefully, Kia will eventually add a manual gearbox in the future especially on a more hardcore version of the GT Stinger. As a bonus, the transmission helps channel all 376 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, which is another sport sedan must have feature.
The low slung cabin is a compelling balance of occupant coddling luxury and performance inspired cues. The front seats can be shod in ultra soft Nappa leather and come equipped with air cell bladders that deliver maximum levels of comfort and support. The center console is split into two distinct areas, and the gauges feature metal rims as well as bold red needles.
A bold color TFT screen between the gauges is home to performance data such as cornering G-forces, lap times, and also engine oil pressure and can also display more traditional readouts such as navigation, diagnostics, and other ancillary information. The GT Stinger’s long wheelbase helps produce exceptional amounts of front and rear legroom while the low seating position provides good amounts of headroom in both the front and back seats.
This move is admittedly unexpected, especially at a time where the market is being motivated by the strong demand for crossovers. However, we are glad Kia is taking a step outside the box in producing not only a shapely throwback to proper four door sedans, but also a rolling tribute an era when non-alphanumeric nameplates ruled the streets. Stay tuned tomorrow when we will learn more about the GT Stinger, as well as live pictures from the show floor.