Kia Stinger GT: Sting in the tail
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Kia aims at Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi
Kia has revealed its powerful new 273.5km/h coupe-style sports sedan called the Stinger GT, to take on Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar.
The Korean car maker has already won a place in the hearts of family car buyers with its hatchbacks and SUVs, and now it intends to challenge and undercut the premium car manufacturers, with a car designed and engineered by former senior BMW and Audi figures.
The Stinger GT fast-back grand tourer was hailed as "the highest performance production vehicle in the company's history" and made its debut on the eve of the the North American International Automobile Show in Detroit last week.
The top-of-the-range Stinger GT will hit 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, powered by a 3.3 litre V6 engine, and is expected to cost £43,000 (NZ$72,669) in the UK when it arrives in September. (Kia New Zealand has confirmed the Stinger will go on sale in this country before the end of the year.)
The Stinger will go up against other popular coupe style sporting sedans including Audi's A5, BMW's 4 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz's CLS and Jaguar's XF in an attempt to reposition the brand.
And the new Korean autobahn-buster has lots of German pedigree. Design of the new Stinger was overseen by Kia's Bavarian-born chief design officer Peter Schreyer, who at Audi was responsible for the creation of the original Audi TT.
Ride and handling engineering havs been taken on by former BMW executive Albert Biermann, who has brought years of M Car experience with him to the project.
The Kia Stinger GT is powered by a 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo engine and linked to an eight-speed automatic gear-box with manual paddle-shift.
Kia said: "The Stinger has snatched the spotlight for the North American International Auto Show - an event typically dominated by US manufacturers."
The Stinger attracted media attention at the Detroit show, with attention on the revitalised 'Tiger nose' grille.
A raft of safety systems also aim to keep occupants protected, including a warning chime and graphic alert to drivers who appear to be nodding off.
"In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the result of driver fatigue each year," says Kia. "This results in 1550 deaths, and 71,000 injuries annually."