Kia today used its Detroit auto show conference to roll out something it’s never shown before: A two-door, rear-wheel-drive sports car that could put the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S on notice. Assuming, of course, it goes into production. “I don’t think there would be an obstacle [to building it],” says Kia public relations supervisor Mike Ofiara. “It’s a matter of making a business case.”
Right now, Kia stresses that the GT4 Stinger is merely a concept car, meant to highlight the styling chops of its California design studio. Still, Kia executive vice president of sales Tom Loveless emphasized that the GT4 Stinger is designed to pay homage to a time, “When performance was about a direct link between driver and car,” rather than electronic driving aids, and said he can’t wait to enjoy “power oversteer” in the car on a winding road.
With its stubby, Subaru BRZ-like stance; 315-hp turbocharged engine; six-speed manual transmission; and enormous Brembo brakes, we’d certainly like to see the Kia GT4 Stinger go into production. Its low, wide bodywork has such a low nose that the hood has bumps above the front wheels, while the rear end stretches wide to accommodate 10.8-inch-wide tires on 20-inch wheels. Open the rear liftback, and the cargo area offers far more room and practicality than you’ll find in the tiny trunk of the BRZ/FR-S twins.
Kia has a solid track record of bringing its wild concepts to showrooms. The original Kia Soul was a Detroit auto show concept before it became a popular hatchback, and the 2012 Track’ster concept is now available as the Red Zone trim package for the 2014 Kia Soul, making us optimistic this show car will eventually beget a real Kia sports coupe.
Above all, the GT4 Stinger concept is way for the California design team to tell the world, “If we could make a sports car, this is what it would look like,” explains Ofiara. Officials say it’s “conceivable” we could see a series-production Kia sports coupe inspired by the GT4 Stinger within one to three years, but make no firm promises.