Driven: 2017 Kia Stinger GT S Review
We got the opportunity to test out Kia’s first ever performance car, the Kia Stinger GT S. Here is what we think about the brand’s hero car.
What is the Kia Stinger GT S All About?
The Kia Stinger is an incredible car, coming at the right time for the brand. The Stinger GT S is a 365bhp rear wheel drive GT designed to be the halo car of the brand.
The Stinger will be available with a 2.0-litre petrol, 2.2-litre Diesel or the 3.3-litre performance petrol engine in GT S trim.
The looks of the Stinger are certainly busy, but they somehow all blend together to create a classic Gran Turismo look. The long bonnet puts the driver’s seat sitting slightly towards the rear, creating a fast look before you even move off. The car’s side profile has some nicely shaped contour lines. Finally, at the rear you’ll see 4 exhaust pipes, which give that solid performance coupé look and feel. Overall, the Kia Stinger is a great looking car.
The car is powered by a 3.3-litre petrol engine that creates 365bhp and 510 Nm of torque. All that power goes to the rear wheels using an 8-speed automatic gearbox. This means that, impressively, the car can get from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 168mph. This same car is also capable of doing a combined economy figure of 28 mpg and creates 225 g/Km of CO2.
How Does it Drive?
Getting behind the wheel of the Stinger is certainly something to write home about. Climbing into the car, it immediately looks nothing like any other Kia you’ve seen before. In fact, the interior is so good you could cover the steering wheel’s Kia badge and have most passengers guessing they’re in a premium German brand car.
The seating position does feel great. Initially, a part of me did want to sit a little lower, though. Next, a short press of the start button lit up the v6, which starts subtly with a muted exhaust sound. Drop the electric park brake and use the large leather-covered gear selector to put the car in drive and you’re off in the cars default drive mode – Comfort.
After spending some time with the car, one of its biggest qualities was how well refined and comfortable the adaptive suspension system is. In Comfort mode, without a doubt, it certainly does its GT credentials proud. This superior ride quality is certainly further complemented by a nicely balanced adaptive steering system that works with its adaptive drive modes.
The drive modes in the car can be set to Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Smart will change the dynamics of the car as it senses what the driver is looking for, then provide the correct mode at the right time. Eco is designed for maximum efficiency. Comfort lightens steering, optimises dampening, and balances the throttle. Sport quickens the steering, optimises the throttle map for more power, and hardens up the dampens for advanced handling. Sport+ adds to this. It tunes back the ESP, allowing for less interruption from the car’s management system, thus allowing more slip.
Firstly, the Comfort setting is a great all-round setting that would be fine for daily driving. It’s tuned to present the car as a good Grand Turismo.
However, things get really interesting when you put the car into Sport mode. This is where the GT S comes alive. From a dead stop a quick mash on the throttle shoots the car into the horizon. It achieves 60mph in 4.7 seconds and will relentlessly keep going far past this. On the country roads where we did our testing, the steering setup felt amazing. In Sport mode, minimum steering lock was required to keep the car flowing tightly around the bends. The Stinger GT S is a car that felt very familiar to me early on and allowed me to learn how it would react very quickly.
When powering your way across the country in the GT S, opening up the car is done with a great amount of confidence. The car feels planted in every corner and during hard cornering, I even saw around 1 lateral G of force being applied to the car. This definitely demonstrates the cars solid grip. The power output from the car is what I’d define as practical performance – it is not overly dangerous or aggressive. It applies the power to the road in a calculated manner. I felt that working with the electronics in the GT S, I was able to use every last bhp efficiently with minimal loss.
The GT S comes with 19″ alloy wheels dressed in Continental SportContact tyres. These, even in autumnal, damp conditions, grip the road incredibly well. When it comes to stopping, the tyres do a fantastic job bringing this large car to a halt, working alongside a very large set of Brembo brakes.
It’s worth noting that this car is fully kitted out with lots of goodies, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Blind Spot Detection. All helping to make the Stinger GT S a very safe place to be.
What is it Like Inside?
The interior of a Kia has never looked so good. Opening the door on this halo car relives a super sporty and luxurious interior that would certainly encourage premium car buyers to this brand.
There is a spacious but cocooned cockpit with plenty of room for 5 people, and then their luggage in the boot. Getting into the car, you will sit in some snug and sporty red Nappa leather seats. These are certainly a big part of the car’s overall comfort value.
Looking around the cabin, there is an array of soft materials. When searching for cheaper materials, they’re pretty hard to come by.
Focusing on the driver’s tools, we have a leather-dressed D-shaped steering wheel that fits perfectly in your hands. The pedals are well placed in front of you, and look the part in bright aluminium. The console offers a part-chrome, part-leather gear selector – a real treat to get your hands on.
In classic Kia style, the infotainment system is very usable and has a responsive 8.0 touchscreen that is loaded with features. The Stinger comes with a powerful and well-rounded 15 speaker sound system that’s a pleasure to listen to.
Interior cabin storage is another strong point in this car. You get a large glovebox, door bins and a noticeably large central console storage box between driver and passenger.
I’m a big fan of the Stinger GT S, it’s an affordable large GT car that has solid performance. Testing it firsthand showed me just how credible and playful the car is. I also loved the split personalities the car offers in its individual drive modes. When you want to cruise, the car relaxes and suits your needs. But, when you want to run, the car pushes the limits of physics and allows you some tail-happy fun.
All the time driving the Kia Stinger GT S I found myself wanting to compare the car to the Maserati Ghibli S, as the form factor and performance is very similar, I know it is pitched at a different market. However, the Stinger is surprisingly quicker to 60mph by 0.3 seconds. You would, though, be looking at least £65,000 without options to the Maserati. Others would compare the car to the BMW 440i, where again you would be paying out more money. So the Kia Stinger is a bargain, but more importantly, it is a credible competitor. The icing on the cake is that it comes with the 7 year 100,000 miles transferable warranty and has predicted good residuals after the first few years. I really can’t find a reason not to buy this car.
2017 Kia Stinger GT S Review
- Price: £40,495
- Engine: 3.3-litre Petrol V6
- Power: 365 bhp
- Torque: 510 Nm
- Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic
- 0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
- Top speed: 168mph
- Weight: 1,855 kg
- Economy combined: 28mpg
- CO2: 225 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley