Kia's big, boosted Stinger GT tested on twisty roads
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Neon orange signals a second chance for one of 2018’s most talked-about cars to grab a second share of the spotlight.
And to warrant a second stint for me behind the wheel.
Kia has launched this special edition Neon Orange Stinger GT, limited to 10 units for the Kiwi market.
The vivid orange is contrasted with gloss black highlights — the roof plus the bonnet and side vents — to deliver the visual impact of a Mega Mitre 10 store and some added audio accompaniment with a bi-modal exhaust system.
Those changes excepted, this is a standard Kia Stinger GT delivering the increasingly rare rear-wheel drive large car format and endowed with 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo urgency and tyres in mixed sizing — 225/40 R19 front tyres and 255/35 R19 at the rear. It also has powerful braking with 350mm front discs and four piston Brembo callipers and 340mm discs at the rear with two piston callipers.
Performance is the big appeal of the Stinger GT. The 3342cc V6 twin turbo develops an impressive 272kW at 6000rpm and the close ratios of the eight-speed transmission — with paddle shifters — is an ideal match to the 510Nm of torque that is available from only 1300rpm and flat lines till 4500rpm.
The V6 has a snarly urgency when asked to work harder — or settles at a relaxed 1600rpm to achieve top gear 100km/h cruising.
Power and weight conspire to make the Stinger GT a relatively thirsty beast and I averaged 9.6L/100km on a highway run and 10.7L/100km overall.
The Stinger GT’s looks and performance are matched with a comprehensive sports-luxury equipment level.
Standard features include a powered tailgate and tilt/slide sunroof, leather trim, dual-zone climate control, a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, colour head-up display, wireless smartphone charging, rain sensor wipers and proximity key entry with push button start.
There’s a clear 7in TFT instrument cluster while the 8in central touchscreen has satellite navigation including SUNA traffic updates.
You sit low in the Stinger and supportive front seats have adjustable side bolster shape. The driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustment plus cushion length adjustment, four-way lumbar adjuster and a two-position memory. Front seats are heated and ventilated.
The issue of marginal rear seat space remains with tight headroom under the sloping roof along with moderate kneeroom and a large centre tunnel that intrudes into the footwell space. There’s a wide but shallow 406 litres of boot space.
The Stinger GT safety package includes adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection.
Excellent LED headlights are standard with High Beam Assist and the Stinger GT has tyre pressure monitoring.
The Kia Stinger GT is quick and effortless and driving the Neon Orange edition confirmed it has become a more cohesive package when it’s taken beyond the smoothest hot-mix and on to roads with twists and camber changes.