2018 Kia Stinger Debuts as RWD Sports Sedan-Shaped Middle Finger to German Rivals


Kia may already have the best debut of the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and the show hasn’t even officially started yet: The new Stinger sports sedan is finally here and it packages 365 horsepower in a fun-to-drive chassis and wraps it in a surprisingly sexy exterior.

Drawing inspiration from the Kia GT Concept that was first seen six years ago, the 2018 Kia Stinger is a rear-wheel-drive based luxury sedan that was honed on the grueling Nurburgring racetrack. It is one of the most exciting debuts from Kia in a long time and is being hailed as the sportiest and quickest Kia yet.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

 Kia is offering two engines in the Stinger, both mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions. Both engines are available on rear-drive and AWD models. The base engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder unit that makes an estimated 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The optional engine is a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, which is expected to make 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. Kia hopes the Stinger will hit 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 167 mph with the V6 engine.

Click here for full 2017 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

While rear-wheel-drive models get a mechanical limited slip differential to more effectively put the power to the ground and increase traction, all-wheel-drive models get a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system, which automatically applies power and braking force to the correct wheel to keep the car tracking where drivers need it to.

The car rides on performance tires no matter what engine is picked, while V6 models get a staggered setup with ultra high-performance tires and vented Brembo brakes.

2018 kia stinger

The chassis uses a lot of high-strength steel to make it very rigid and stiff, which apparently leads to a quieter cabin and less vibration. The ride is controlled by a first for Kia: an electronically adjustable suspension called Dynamic Stability Damping Control. The system allows the Stinger to be more responsive and agile by softening the front shocks and firming up the rear. Additionally, improved high-speed stability is available when the system stiffens the front shocks and softens the rear. There are five different drive modes: Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort, and Smart, which adjust the variable ratio steering, shift patterns, and throttle response.

Featuring a bold yet sleek body style, the Stinger packs a few other elements that are essential in defining this car as a grand touring sedan. First and foremost is the rear-wheel-drive proportions: the long hood and muscular rear haunches. Between those two identifying factors is an extended wheelbase, hinting that this car has significant interior space. At 114.4 inches, Kia points out that the Stinger’s wheelbase is longer than the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe, and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS. It’s also longer overall (190.2 inches) and wider (73.6 inches) than the others in the segment, allowing for spacious accommodations.

It’s a sharp looking sedan with a fastback shape, but the design is also functional. Improved airflow around the car is achieved by using air curtains up front, wheel arch gills, and an integrated rear diffuser. Around back is a quad tailpipe design that hints at the Stinger’s performance capability.

While the Stinger is a sport sedan through and through, it packs a lot of driver assistance and convenience features including driver attention alert, forward collision alert with automatic braking, a lane keep assist feature, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross traffic alert. There’s also an available color head-up display.

2018 Kia Stinger

Kia also packs a wireless phone charger into the center console and is promoting that its UVO infotainment system varies slightly between models equipped with four cylinders and six cylinders. Four-cylinder equipped models come with six-speakers and a seven-inch touchscreen, while six-cylinder models up the speaker count to nine and include an external amplifier. Buyers can also choose an upgraded sound system from Harmon/Kardon that pumps out 720 watts of sound through 15 speakers and a seat-mounted subwoofer.

The interior of this car is nicely appointed with available nappa leather and aeronautical-inspired circular vents. The gauge cluster is made up of a combination of analog and digital displays, and those gauges feature metallic rings and sporty red needles.

Pricing for the 2018 Kia Stinger hasn’t been revealed, but it is expected to arrive at dealerships late this year. With a great blend of performance, styling, and luxury, the Stinger may already be the best debut of this significant auto show.

Discuss this article on our Kia GT Forum

  • JOHN

    Doesn’t look that nice ! probably the VW new sportback that will be replacing the CC will look nicer. If it’s completeing with the Audi A7, BMW 6 series and the Mercedes CLS it needs to get people attention away from other companies and stand out more

  • smartacus

    it will be like owning a Panamera and having it too.

    i like the 15-speaker 720-watt system
    Available Brembo brakes
    and available with AWD

    TFT screen with G-forces is cool, they wouldn’t be putting it in there if they didn’t feel it was indispensable.

  • riiiiick

    I like that they called it ‘luxury’, but there is nothing luxury about it, but they’ll go ahead and slap a $45,000+ price tag on it. It does look nice from the exterior, but from the few, and lack there of, interior pics, it doesn’t look very luxury.

  • Anon

    But how much does it weigh!?

  • bjrichus

    It does have a nice exterior, but… the interior is well… I’ll just say that the steering wheel center design reminds me of a Jeep Compass. REALLY? Can you say vomit?

    You needed to put that V6 engine, an improved suspension and that outside body shape further DOWN the 2016 product line and scrap the “subtle” 2017 line modifications (except for the audio system upgrades and adding Android Auto – that was long overdue) the 2017 “redesign” sucks.

    I drive a 2016 model year Kia Forte right now and even if the interior is far too plastic for my personal tastes, at the price (and I paid nowhere near list for it new) it’s a great deal, so I know what a good Kia (even if it is a compromise) is like.

  • Prototheria

    Based on hp/tq and 0-60 time, I’m going with 3800ish lbs.

  • octogon

    Like the KIA GT it is inspired from, this looks like the Optima’s Big Brother (not really a bad thing). I’m sure, like most KIAs, the refresh of the interior will be better than this one. And finally, this car SCREAMS for better looking After Market Wheels, so I look forward to the SEMA Interpretation of this car.

  • S L

    What was it Top Gear/The Grand Tour said? Anything tuned/honed on the Nurburgring is going to drive like rubbish in the real world. I totally agree.

  • Ji Dosha

    “The ride is controlled by a first for Kia: an electronically adjustable suspension called Dynamic Stability Damping Control.”

    The dynamic damping should keep it bearable on the roads. Repair/replacement will probably be a kick in the wallet though.

  • sailndayz

    Where’s the convertible?

  • Anon

    If so, that’s what I was afraid of.

  • bd

    Have you sat in it and touched the materials?

    The Cadenza, which is a premium and not luxury model, has gotten praise for its interior and the Stinger should have an upmarket interior from the Cadenza.

  • cardboardharley

    No fog lights.
    i will keep my 16 optima.
    You know cause it has a turbo. t
    Kia will want top dollar for it.

  • Nathaniel Williams

    well look at it in comparison to the Cadenza one of their current premium cars. I would say as a luxury sports car coming from Kia probably retailing under $55000 it’s from a perspective worth it.

  • Jeff Z

    Its hard for Germans to build decent cars anymore. Their burkas get in the way.

  • Andy Callander

    I stopped reading at “4 doors” and “automatic transmission.” GTFO with that “you can drift it” nonsense! Learn to drive a real car maybe?