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.

 

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…)

SEMA 2013 – The wild and wonderful

Held annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the SEMA Show brings together the USA’s billion dollar aftermarket tuning and performance industry for one week. The show is a chance for companies from across the globe to show off their wares, but is also seized upon by car manufactures to show off their own creations. We’ve picked out some of our favourites below, both good and bad, from last week’s show.

Founded in 1963 the Specialty Equipment Market Association covers a wide range of companies, from the big brands such as K&N and Edelbrock, to lesser known firms such as Crap Industries. Apparently Crap Industries make various exterior enhancements for cars such as the MINI Countryman to the Ford Raptor, demonstrating the breadth of the SEMA Show. Anyway, without further delay, here are our notable picks from 2013.

1. Ford Snakebit F-100

Snakebit at SEMA

It’s hard to write this without it sounding too much like a Family Guy sketch. Essentially, this is the time Gene Simmons from KISS, his wife – actress Shannon Tweed – and a Canadian Ford dealership got together to produce a custom F-100 pickup to be auctioned for charity. (more…)