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.
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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.
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.
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.
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