DETROIT – South Korean automaker Kia surprised people at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with its Stinger sports sedan, a vehicle that is designed to compete with German and Japanese high-performance vehicles.
Nobody expected plans for the vehicle would ever come to fruition because it is not a common product for Kia, yet it promises to be the highest performing sedan in company history with a V6 turbo engine that produces up to 365 horsepower, Candelaria Powell, Kia’s multicultural manager, told EFE.
Powell added that the Stinger will attract buyers of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Infinity vehicles to Kia.
When Kia in 2014 revealed the GT4 Stinger prototype, many thought it was merely a daydream, although the South Korean firm called it the “most aggressive” prototype it had ever designed.
Many also felt that Kia – until them associated with mass-production, moderately priced vehicles – was not capable of manufacturing and marketing such a vehicle.
But in a little more than three years, Kia has transformed the 2+2 coupe prototype into a reality, bidding farewell to the firm’s image as merely a mass-production automaker.
The Stinger’s importance for the firm was made clear at its debut in Detroit, which was attended by Kia design chief Peter Schreyer of Germany, testing and high performance director Albert Biermann and Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s design director in Europe.
In addition, the firm’s main executives in South Korea and the United States were on hand for the presentation.
Powell said it plans to sell the Stinger in the United States starting late in 2017 and the company has called it “a true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, (which) is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace.”
The front part of the new vehicle has a “tiger nose” that has been the defining characteristic of Kia vehicles designed by Schreyer.
Kia said that the Stinger is equipped with a chassis with 55 percent high-resistance steel to provide rigidity, MacPherson rear-wheel drive suspension and multi-link.
Other features include forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian protection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, color heads-up display and 720-watt Harman/Kardon audio.
The Stinger will come in two versions with the standard model sporting a 2.0L 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the more powerful model featuring a 365-hp 3.3L twin-turbo V6.
The vehicle’s transmission is a second-generation eight-speed automatic.
Powell confirmed to EFE that pricing for the Stinger has not yet been announced but it has been designed to compete with the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS1, according to Kia.