Stinger debuts to fulfill Kia’s sport-sedan destiny

by | January 11, 2017 12:11 am

Over five years ago, Kia rolled out the GT Concept – a sheet metal that hypothetically kept industry followers guessing as to where the brand’s sporting aspirations might go. On the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, Kia unveiled the Stinger, the production version of that 2011 show car.

The Stinger is a five-passenger fastback sports sedan poised to redefine a segment currently populated by European automakers, the Stinger promises to be the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history and is backed by Kia Motors’ industry-leading quality and reliability. Offered with multiple engine and drivetrain configurations and luxurious accommodations, the Stinger is planned to go on sale in the global market late this year, even as pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date.

“Unlike any Kia that has come before it, the Stinger really is a dream car for us, and here today in Detroit, that dream is now a reality after years of commitment and hard work from a passionate group of designers, engineers and executives around the world,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America. “From its GT concept-car origins to the years of tuning and refining on the legendary Nurburgring circuit, no detail was too small to be obsessed over, and the result is simply stunning.”

Instantly recognizable as a direct evolution of the concept that preceded it, the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger design was overseen by Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ chief design officer, and his talented team of designers in Frankfurt, Germany. On a closer look, there is a lot of Optima adpatations in the body, but details everywhere separate the Stinger from the bread-and-butter sedan. The wheelbase is four inches longer than the Optima’s, yet overall length is an inch shorter.

Inside, the five-seat interior remains a mystery, but Kia says there will be a dual-zone instrument panel boasting a “large” colour touchscreen for infotainment, metal-accented dash gauges with red needles, and a small, colour TFT screen in the binnacle for displaying tidbits like G-forces and lap times. Luxury touches include a heads-up display, an optional 720-watt, 15-speaker Harmon/Kardon audio system with two subwoofers, a driver’s seat that can be had with air-cell bladders, and lots of driver assistance systems.

When the Stinger goes on sale late this year, customers will get a choice of two engines that are currently still in development. The base model employs a 2-liter turbo-charged four-cylinder with around 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

In terms of advanced technology and convenience, offering luxurious amenities and unexpected features have become part of Kia’s DNA and the Stinger continues that tradition.  Multiple Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) seamlessly work together to enhance the driving experience. The Stinger features a second-generation eight-speed rear-drive automatic transmission.  First offered in the K900 luxury sedan, the gearbox has been designed in-house and rewards drivers with crisp shifts and maximized fuel efficiency.

More typically found in aviation- and racing-engine applications, the transmission features Kia’s first use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber (CPA) torque converter to help reduce torsional vibrations through the drivetrain.

From its sleek front clip through its svelte flanks, up to its powerful haunches, it exudes a muscular confidence.  Key to its road presence are the rear-wheel-drive proportions; a long hood and short front overhang, an extended wheelbase to deliver a spacious cabin, and a long rear overhang with strong shoulders. Kia Stinger’s stance and visual balance are designed to lend the car an air of elegance and athleticism, rather than boy-racer aggression. A Kia first is the new Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system to help combat distracted or drowsy driving.

The system monitors a number of inputs from the vehicle and the driver and will sound a warning chime and display a graphic in the instrument binnacle that it’s time to take a break from driving if it senses the driver’s attention level has been significantly reduced. Forward Collision Assistance (FCA) with integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the car to a halt.  Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) maintains a pre-set distance between the Stinger and the vehicle in front and can bring the car to a full stop in congested traffic.

Lane Keep Assist (LKA) actively monitors the vehicle’s intended lane and will alert the driver with an audible warning along with providing steering input to help maintain the vehicle’s position.  Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) scans the area behind the vehicle when backing from a parking space and will alert the driver with an audible warning if cross traffic is detected.