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First Look: 2018 Kia Stinger

Kia’s performance aspirations begin to take shape

Six years have passed since the Kia GT concept made its official debut at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show. Finally, at the 2017 Detroit auto show, the Korean automaker is ready to put a swoopy, sporty rear-wheel-drive sedan on showroom floors. The forthcoming 2017 Kia Stinger is the automaker’s take on the popular “GT” style of car, with comfort and performance given in equal portions.

Visually, the Stinger is Kia’s first four-door “coupe,” a segment populated by the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS, and Audi A7. See a theme here? Aside from the older Volkswagen CC, this Kia will be the only contender not from a traditional luxury brand. It’s a handsome car, appearing purposeful and aggressive while still maintaining Peter Schreyer’s excellent “Tiger Nose” design.

Inside, the car appears as plush and cosseting as a GT should be. On the top-spec model, stitched leather wraps around most interior surfaces, complementing attractive metal trim pieces. It’s not a complete departure from what we’ve seen in other higher-end Kias, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unsurprisingly, it’s packed with a bundle of infotainment systems, including a handy head-up display, wireless chargepad, and premium sound systems.

Underneath the Stinger’s skin beats one of two familiar engine choices, beginning with the 2.0-liter turbo-four we’ve seen elsewhere in Kia’s lineup. The engine puts out a respectable 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. If that’s not enough, the range-topping, Genesis-sourced 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 spits out a heady 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, enough for a 0-60 sprint in 5.1 seconds, making the top-spec Stinger the fastest factory Kia ever.

Both powerplants are managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, routing power to either the rear or all-four wheels. If you opt for the rear-drive model, the Stinger arrives with a mechanical limited slip differential; all-wheel drive models receive a fancy torque vectoring system instead.

Sleek proportions aren’t the only thing Kia shares with ze Germans. Predictably, the Stinger’s handling and ride were honed at the Nürburgring, where engineers ironed out the kinks in Kia’s first adaptive sport suspension, which allows the driver to soften the front and rear dampers independently from each other. Drivers have five settings for the electric power steering as well.

A meaty Brembo brake system comes standard to slow things down promptly. Four piston clamps in the front and twin pistons in the back grab 13.8-inch and 13.3-inch discs, respectively. Buyers get to select between 18-inch or 19-inch wheels wrapped in their choice of performance rubber from Continental, Michellin, or Bridgestone.

The Stinger is available with the full suite of safety systems, including forward collision alert with autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, cross traffic alert, overhead view camera system, blind spot monitoring, and automatic high-beams.

If this sounds right up your alley, get in touch with your local dealer before the car lands on our shores in late 2017.

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