Kia

News | Detroit 2017 | Kia Stinger GT

How do you ensure you get attention on the first day of the 2017 North American International Auto Show? Launch a stunning new sports saloon the night before. It certainly worked for Kia and the bold new Stinger.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

We’ve covered the Korean brands of Kia and Hyundai on ESM quite a lot. Their commitment to continuous improvement and rapid development, interesting design, and those lengthy warranties have always impressed us. The Hyundai i30 Turbo showed potential, and the Kia Cee’d GT has always garnered praise. So should we really be shocked by Kia launching a serious sports saloon?

2017 Kia Stinger GT

Perhaps not, but there will still be a lot of people less open-minded to try to win over here. Thankfully, the genuinely handsome and attractive styling of the Stinger should go a long way to persuading them. It’s probably the best interpretation of the Peter Schreyer’s vision for how Kia models should look. We can actually bring ourselves to forgive the front end of the latest Sportage now, just. The Stinger features the most aggressive version of the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille at the front, with some fearsome scoops and apertures. The rear three-quarter view is perhaps our favourite, as it seems to channel both US muscle car influence, combined with European elements, too.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

That international mixture is quite important, as the Stinger will be available on both sides of the Atlantic. But if the styling doesn’t quite do enough to convince buyers to consider it, the drivetrain will probably do the rest. The base Stinger features a 255bhp (with 260lb-ft of torque) 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, using an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Most importantly power goes to the rear wheels, unless you happen to live in a market where AWD appears on the options list. But pick the rear driver regardless, as it comes with a mechanical limited-slip differential. Mmm, yes, there’s drift potential here.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

However, the entry-level version isn’t what has got us most excited. No, the Stinger GT is the real reason that this becomes a big deal. Using the Lambda II T-GDI engine from the Genesis G90 saloon, the range-topping GT gets 365bhp from the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6. Torque is an equally impressive 376lb-ft, with that peak available from just 1,400rpm. This all sounds suitably muscular, as does the claimed 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds and top speed of 167mph. Indeed, we’re talking about a Kia with the potential to nail 0-60mph in 5 seconds. To think we wrote 2016 off as being crazy…

2017 Kia Stinger GT

Most importantly, one of the five drive mode choices is a sport mode. This adapts the Dynamic Stability Damping Control of the suspension system, weights up the steering, and also quickens throttle response and paddle-shift gearbox changes. Textbook sport mode integration – well done, Kia. We also deeply approve of the staggered 225/40/R19 and 255/35/R19 tyres fitted to the Stinger GT, along with vented Brembo brakes front and back. Kia has attempted to kit out the Stinger with a sizeable performance arsenal, which should hopefully translate to a genuine driver’s car.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

The interior is also driver focussed, with a TFT screen between the analogue dials detailing data such as lap times, G-forces, and engine oil temperature. The dashboard itself is neat, with slivers of satin chrome trim and circular air vents keeping it classy. We’re not huge fans of what resembles an iPad being stuck to the top of the dash, but the standard touchscreen will control what Kia promises to be an impressive standard sound system at least. There is also a Harman/Kardon 720 watt system, with 15 speakers and under-seat mounted subwoofers, on the options list as well.

Prices are not yet confirmed, but it’s safe to bet that this will be the most expensive Kia offered to date. European sales are expected to begin at the end of 2017, so we should get more information before then. Ultimately, we’re very impressed with the Stinger. Kia has produced a bespoke sports saloon, with genuine performance equipment and bold styling. We just hope it delivers on the high expectations it’s now set for itself.

 

Opinion – Seven fast estates we want to see built

The number of performance estates seems to have expanded massively in recent years but, here at ESM, that’s not enough for us. No, we’re greedy, and we want to see even more quick wagons on the market. To help we’ve come up with a septet that we think should happen.

Fast VW Estates

These aren’t just ‘pie in the sky’ ideas – we’ve picked out ones that, due to the wonders of modular platforms, could probably happen without too much engineering work. We’ve also rated them for desirability and feasibility, just to help point those manufacturers in the right direction…

1. BMW M3 Touring
BMW M3 TouringBMW has flirted with M Touring versions of the larger M5 twice in the past, and even went so far as building a concept E46 M3 Touring which never saw the light of day. Is now the time for a compact BMW performance estate?

The concept of a 431hp twin-turbocharged 3 Series Touring is rather appealing and, we imagine, adding M3 modifications to the estate bodyshell would make for quite an attractive proposition. Plus, BMW appears committed to covering every possible market niche these days, so this would just be one more addition. Think of it as karma for the 2 Series Active Tourer.

Sadly, market demand apparently means that this one falls quite far down the list of possibilities. BMW models are required to have global appeal and an M3 Touring is something that would seemingly only sell in Europe. Audi with the RS4, and Mercedes-Benz with the C 63 AMG, have somehow transgressed this problem, but the men in Munich aren’t convinced. Alpina is already doing a rather good job of building rapid 3 Series wagons, which doesn’t help our case.

Verdict
Desirability – 8/10
Feasibility – 6/10
Likelihood – 0/10 Probably more chance of an 2 Series Active Tourer M

2. Ford Focus RS EstateFocus RS EstateAlthough the hatchback might have only finally emerged, what better time to add a rapid load-lugger to the lineup as well.

The Focus RS hatch is a fairly awesome piece of kit, so making it more practical can only be a good thing, surely? Plus there’s already a Focus ST estate on sale, proving demand exists for quick wagons wearing the Blue Oval badge. With the Volkswagen Golf R notching up sales, there’s certainly buyers out there for estates based on extremely rapid hatchbacks. Plus, the thought of engaging Drift mode whilst on the way to the recycling centre has huge appeal.

Ford is already struggling to meet demand for the Focus RS hatch, so adding an estate variant might just be too much to handle. Although, as the RS is built on a regular production line with extra bits added later, surely there would be scope to squeeze a limited edition in there? There’s no precedent for RS estates, and we imagine that’s the excuse Ford would use to bat this away, but everything has to start somewhere. Also, this rendering by X-Tomi Design shows how good it could look.

Verdict
Desirability – 9/10
Feasibility – 8/10
Likelihood – 6.5/10 We’re still hoping on some ultra-limited edition opportunities.

3. Volkswagen Golf GTI Estate
04 VWYeah, this one pretty much only came to mind to help our OCD with VW’s current estate model range. As part of the performance estate lineup there’s a GTD, and an R, Variant but there’s no GTI version! That’s something which happens to unnerve us, ever so slightly, so we’d be a lot happier if Volkswagen just filled that gap. (more…)

Friday Photo – Detroit 2016 Gallery

Red, white and – well, more red actually. Not the colours of the American flag, but the colours of pretty much everything on show at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Perhaps rouge is this colour of choice for motor show cars?

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Detroit Auto Show 2016 – Hefty Trends

As the first big event of the year, the North American International Auto Show offers the chance to spot trends we might see for the rest of the year. It also has the potential to prove if the US market is still obsessed with making the biggest stuff possible. 

2016 Detroit Auto Show

Pickup trucks are getting more outrageous
If there’s one vehicle that sums up the US automotive market in one fell swoop then it’s the pickup truck. But 2016 seems to be the year that manufacturers have truly gone XXL with their offerings.

Ford’s latest version of the F-150 Raptor was launched at the Detroit show a year ago but, twelve months later, it’s already been tweaked. Now there’s a SuperCrew version of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost powered machine so you can fit even more people or stuff inside. Although persuading people to get in the back as you make use of the new Terrain Management system in mud, rock or even baja mode might be a challenge!

Not to be outdone, Nissan premiered the Warrior concept version of its Titan X.D truck, again just one year after showing off the regular production version. With a 5.0-litre Turbo Diesel V8 engine, race-derived suspension parts, and a smattering of carbon fibre body panels it’s a formidable sounding proposition. Whether it becomes a reality remains to be seen.

Not quite as dramatically-styled as the Ford or Nissan, Honda is concentrating on practicality with the all-new Ridgeline. With a design that focuses on things which really matter to pickup buyers, like hauling sheets of plywood or drywall flat in the loadspace, or a 540 watt sound system mounted in the truck bed to improve your tailgating experience. Could it just be a little too sensible for its own good?

The big saloon isn’t dead!
2016 Volvo S90

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Friday Photo | The madness of SEMA 2015

EngageSportMode has featured the SEMA show, and the quite literally mental creations it throws up, before. This year seems to have been just as crazy, so we’ve pulled together a gallery featuring some of the wildest offerings. Just remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that.

2015 SEMA Car modification in the UK seems to have come a long way from the Max Power glory days. Gone are the bodykitted Corsas and Saxos with huge exhausts and deafening subwoofers. Today, aside from bigger wheels or a vinyl wrap, everything just seems pretty standard looking. But, over in America, the modification industry still seems to be alive and well.

However, it isn’t just aftermarket companies that use the annual Speciality Equipment Market Association event to show off. Car manufacturers are also using SEMA to display their creativity with concepts inspired by celebrities, or just the minds of designers running wild. We’ve picked a handful of our favourites from the show, but there’s a bigger gallery of the slightly crazier stuff further down. Enjoy.

Chevrolet

The big Detroit manufacturer rolled out a huge twenty concepts at SEMA, covering the range from Corvette Stingray to classic Camaro and a whole host of pickup truck offerings. With the all-new 2016 model year Camaro about to hit the streets, Chevy has clearly paid some attention to its latest offering, with four concepts based upon it.

2015 SEMA ChevroletHowever, our personal favourite is probably the 1970 Camaro RS with a thoroughly modern LT4 engine.  (more…)

Friday Photo – Frankfurt 2015 Gallery

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show proved to be fairly impressive, with a host of big names revealing new products and concepts. Incredibly, this even included cars that hadn’t been previewed in a press release weeks beforehand! Who knew that was still possible? We’ve picked out some of the notable cars making an appearance in Germany. 

2015 Frankfurt

ESM actually spent the first Frankfurt press day helping out the good people at Motoring Research with their live blog. We heartily recommend you go and read it, especially for the Periscope video action from Andrew and Gav. Trust us, you’ll find yourself longing for a special edition Suzuki Jimny or at least learning where not to leave you bag on a motor show stand.

Possibly the biggest talking point of the whole Frankfurt show was the Bentley Bentayga SUV. Promising to be more luxurious than a Range Rover, but with epic performance from a W12 engine, it’s a pretty big deal. To some it’s a step too far for the Bentley brand, and the styling is also equally divisive. However, ESM is pretty sold on it – especially in orange. The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is just as mental in real life as in the initial photos – a definite showstopper. Oh, and yes that is a tent on the back of the Citroen Cactus M.

We’d already seen PR photos of the Ferrari 488 Spider, but it’s seemingly even more impressive in the metal. Some even going so far as to say it’s better looking than the GTB coupé. The Hyundai stand was one of contrasts, with the Korean company pushing its new “N” performance sub-brand with the rather mental 2025 Gran Turismo concept, alongside the Santa Fe and i20 Active. Jaguar’s F-Pace stole the pre-show excitement with a Guinness World Record-breaking launch event, whilst the MotoGP-engined Honda 2&4 concept proved to be a winner.

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Friday Photo – The Geneva 2015 ‘known knowns’ Gallery

A few years ago, Donald Rumsfeld made an infamous speech talking about things we know, and don’t know about. Ahead of the Geneva Motor Show next week, we’ve got a gallery covering the new cars we already know will be there. That’s mainly because the manufacturers have already spoilt the surprise by showing them to us. 

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity from automakers across the world, as they’ve revealed and announced all-new cars to be shown off at the Swiss show. Here’s a few of the ones we’ve already seen:

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Naturally, these are just a few of the highlights – there’ll be much more to see.  Of course, there’s also another category of cars – the ‘known unknowns’ – which includes ones we know will most probably be there, but don’t know the full details on. Like the Honda Civic Type R and the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS ; although so much information on the latter has been leaked, it might as well be a ‘known known’ now. But there are others, such as the expected Lamborghini Aventador SV and a mystery Bentley concept car. (more…)

Friday Photo – Kia at SEMA 2014

It’s that time of year again where the American aftermarket industry dishes serves up its craziest offerings at the annual Special Equipment Manufacturers Association event in Los Angeles. This year, Kia America has gone all out with a number of concepts, but our favourite is the one below:

051114kia-K_5082

Yes, that’s a Sedona fitted with a bar dispensing craft ale in place of the rear seats. With one door welded shut, a brand new wooden clamshell roof that flips 90 degrees and two fully functioning beer taps, it’s a pretty impressive creation. Sadly, although drivable, it’s apparently not road legal. Oh well.

With the clamshell down, it almost looks normal.

With the clamshell down, it almost looks normal.

We’ll be bringing you more wild and crazy stuff from SEMA in the coming few days, although we’re not likely to find anything that beats a Kia made into a mobile bar. Probably… but then again, this is SEMA!

New Kia cee’d GT – Two more doors, but still packing 201 bhp.

Kia’s pro_cee’d GT caused somewhat of a stir when it was launched last year, combining hot-hatch ideology alongside the Korean firm’s traditional values. With the five-door cee’d GT added to the lineup, is this the performance hatchback that you really can rely on?

2014 Kia Cee'd GT 001

EngageSportMode traditionally has a rule that you should aways pick the three-door variant when available for a hot-hatch. From Golf GTI to the Audi S3, and everything in between, that has always been our school of thought. But the new Cee’d GT might just be the car which makes us deviate from our usually strict three-doors only policy. Quite frankly, it looks stunning; we’re willing to argue quite vehemently that the GT model’s styling package looks even better here than it does on the Pro Cee’d.

2014 Kia Cee'd GT 002

Whilst the three-door Pro Cee’d GT is handsome in its own right, there’s something about those additional doors which gives extra aggression to the Cee’d GT’s side profile. We also love the big gaping bumper, Peter Schreyer designed ‘Tiger Nose’ grille and trademark LED ‘ice cube’ DRLs at the front end. Intricate 18″ dark grey alloy wheels and sculpted sills showcase the sides, whilst twin exhausts, gloss black detailing and an obvious GT badge complement the rear. Make no mistake, this is a good looking car.2014 Kia Cee'd GT 003 (more…)

A Girl Writes – It’s a Boy/Girl Thing Part II

Tonight, ESM’s opionated Other Half returns with a second article discussing the touchy subject of “girl’s cars” and shows us some notable, yet respectable, examples.

It’s a Boy/Girl Thing – Part II

Girls Car

When I wrote my last post I felt it important to establish the criteria of a “girl’s car” and why certain models were branded as such. I can appreciate why the term “girl’s car” exists but as highlighted in my previous article, there are usually good, practical reasons for the car choices a lot of women make. Maybe it’s because statistically, woman aren’t really bothered what’s under the bonnet. But what if they actually are? What if the idea of owning an impractical fuel guzzler, depleting your bank balance at a rate of knots, is ludicrous in these financial times? With tail end of the recession still looming over our heads, why not own an economical car to get you from A to B? Yes typically women may make up the majority of that demographic, but what’s to stop a man proudly owning and driving one? You may get lynched by your petrol head mates for owning one of these, but for daily commutes, city driving and family business, surely these are an obvious choice?

So based on this eureka moment, here are a few examples that fall into the category of the small, cheap and economical “girl’s cars” that aren’t too embarrassing to drive:

1. Peugeot 107 – 1.0 litre, 68 bhp, 65.6 mpg (combined), 99g/km CO2

Peugeot 107 001

First and foremost, this city car is cheap to buy, cheap to run and even those with the spatial awareness of an Audi driver could park it with ease. Thanks to the low CO2 emissions, you need never fork out for road tax and the mpg is not to be sniffed at. With basic models in the region of £8k – £9k new, it’s a definite contender. (more…)