KIA STINGER MAKES WORLD DEBUT AT NORTHERN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHO
Powerful all-new fastback sport saloon redefines the Kia brand •Kia Motors follows through on the promise of a production model of the GT concept •Designed in Frankfurt, developed on the Nurburgring, industry-leading quality by Kia Kia’s dramatic new high-performance gran turismo – the Stinger - has snatched the spotlight at the North American International Auto Show – and event typically dominated by US manufacturers.
A five-seat fastback sports saloon, the Stinger promises to shake up a segment dominated by European products and is the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history. Eventually to be offered with multiple engine and drivetrain configurations and luxurious accommodation, the Stinger will arrive in markets around the world later this year. 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 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 recognisable as a direct evolution of the concept that preceded it, the stunning Kia Stinger design was overseen by Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ Chief Design Officer, and his talented team of designers in Frankfurt. Ride and handling development was looked after by Albert Biermann, Head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development and his group of engineers in Korea and on the gruelling Nurburgring racing circuit.
But what makes a true gran turismo? This question was the foundation for a journey that began when the GT concept was first unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Although every Kia design study has a purpose, the GT concept was something considered by many outside the company as little more than a dream for a brand known for producing mass-market transportation rooted in value. But the GT ignited embers of passion that sparked a fire within the organisation and over the next five years that fire would grow beyond fantasy and morph into reality.
Once the Stinger was given the green-light, that gran turismo question became a mantra as development commenced. Coming from Kia, the design had to be bold. And it was. But it also had to be nimble and fast whilst also luxurious and quiet. It had to achieve the perfect balance of ride and handling and seat five comfortably with room for luggage. It had to be a lot of things, but most of all, it had to be an authentic gran turismo. And it is.
Design Turning a concept into a production car is no small task and Schreyer looked no further than Kia’s Frankfurt studio – the birthplace of the GT concept – to bring the Stinger to life. “A true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace,” notes Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer, Kia Motors Europe. “The Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey. It’s about passion.”
From its sleek front through its svelte flanks, and up to its powerful haunches, the Stinger exudes a muscular confidence. Key to its road presence are the rear-wheel-drive proportions; a long bonnet and short front overhang, an extended wheelbase to deliver a spacious cabin, and a long rear overhang with strong shoulders. The Stinger’s stance and visual balance are designed to lend the car an air of elegance and athleticism, rather than boy-racer aggression.
The wide front and rear track, along with the recessed contours along the doors, enhance the visual power of the Stinger’s shoulder line as well as its fastback silhouette. Other purely functional elements of the exterior design – the front air curtains, wheel arch gills, smooth underbody, and integrated rear diffuser – aid its aerodynamic efficiency. The rear valance houses four oval exhaust pipes. Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille sits proudly between complex LED headlamps.
The low-slung cabin with its steeply raked windshield and backlight, sits toward the rear of vehicle, creating a fast silhouette. Inside is a space dedicated to the thrill of driving while cossetting the occupants in luxury. Ultra-soft Nappa leather covers the deeply contoured seats and the driver’s seat has available air-cell bladders in the seatback and bolsters for optimal support and comfort.
A confident dashboard creates a strong horizontal plane for the driver to work with. The centre console is intuitively split into two specific areas: the infotainment controls sit neatly below a large colour touchscreen, while the climate and ventilation controls nestle beneath. Ahead of the driver is a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a single instrument binnacle with a combination of analogue and digital instrumentation. The large gauges are ringed in metal and accentuated with sweeping red needles. A colour TFT screen between the gauges relays performance data such as cornering G-forces, lap times and engine-oil temperature, along with ancillary information such as the trip computer, driver settings, navigation and diagnostics.
Aeronautically-inspired spoked circular vents are found front and rear and a tasteful satin chrome trim piece encircles the cabin. The effect is a feeling of cocooned intimacy. But the long wheelbase allows for generous front and rear leg room and the low seating position provides ample head room front and back.
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