• Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
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  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
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  • Image Credit: Kia
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  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
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  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
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  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
Autoblog Rating
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Industry
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  • Engine
    3.3L Turbocharged V6
  • Power
    365 HP / 376 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • 0-60 Time
    4.7 Seconds
  • Top Speed
    167 MPH
  • Drivetrain
    Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
    Front
  • Curb Weight
    3,829 LBS
  • Seating
    2+3
  • Cargo
    23.3 CU-FT / 40.9 CU FT
  • MPG
    19 City / 25 Highway
  • Base Price
    $32,800
  • As Tested Price
    $39,895
  • Best Deal Price
    $30,096
The 2018 Kia Stinger GT is a breath of fresh air in the Korean automaker's lineup. After years of building cheap and mostly forgettable appliances, Kia (and Hyundai) finally started to build truly solid products that no longer needed to be marketed as just a value proposition. Once the company finally got reliability, build quality and styling down, it really needed to focus on performance if it had any plans to be a fully-rounded automaker. Hyundai is doing very much the same thing with cars like the new Veloster N.

On paper, we should be comparing the Stinger GT to cars like the Dodge Charger. Size, pricing and power are all about the same, but that's not really where we're at. Kia is talking more about cars like the Audi A5, BMW 3 Series and other luxury sedans — and that's how we're seeing it too. It shows just where Kia is aiming with this car.

The car we have this week is the base GT, the lowest-spec model available with the 365 horsepower twin-turbo V6. This is the same engine that's available in the Genesis G80 Sport. While the GT1 trim doesn't get things like a moonroof or a 720-watt stereo system, it's still pretty well-equipped. You get heated leather seats, power front seats, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and dual-zone climate control. Performance upgrades include Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires (our car was wearing all-seasons thanks to old man winter).

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: Ever since I attended the Stinger's debut in Detroit last year, I've been eager to drive one. On paper, it sounds bang on. It has aggressive, muscular styling inside and out, is only available in rear- or all-wheel-drive, and has a pair of potent turbo engines, either a 255-horsepower four-cylinder or a 365-horsepower V6.

Finally, this past week, I had the chance to drive a rear-drive GT with the twin-turbo V6, and it absolutely lived up to expectations. One of the first things that delighted me was the steering and handling. The helm is very quick and accurate, and the chassis feels light, communicative, and easy to manage. This was particularly helpful since, although I drove it on the one warm day in Detroit this winter, it was still wet and slippery outside. The engine is a charmer, too. It's not the best sounding thing in the world, and there is a bit of waiting on the turbos, but it packs some serious punch and makes onramps and highway passing something to look forward to.

I hardly have any complaints with this thing. I deeply wish Kia would offer a manual, even on the four-cylinder, and that's the big one, but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker. Following that, I would say the interior might be the weakest point, since there are a lot of plastics about. But they're attractive and soft touch. If I get really nit-picky, there are sports sedans that might have advantages in any one area such as engine or steering, but the Kia does everything extremely well, and it does so at a price that established competitors can't match.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: Like Joel, I've been interested in the Stinger GT for a long time. We all love performance cars, especially when they offer a lot for relatively little money. The Stinger GT was offering rear-wheel drive and a twin-turbo V6 packed into a roomy, stylish sedan for just under $40,000. I think everyone in the industry took note.

The driving position is fantastic, though visibility (especially out the rear) is compromised a bit thanks to the styling. It doesn't move and feel like a car this big, unlike something like the Dodge Charger or Ford Taurus. The thin-rimmed steering wheel feels just right in your hands. The feedback is good, but not great. It's quick and weighted well, but sometimes I wish I was getting a bit more from the road. Maybe the standard summer tires would help. The suspension is firm without being harsh, something I was concerned about when I saw the 19-inch wheels.

In the key-up comfort mode, the Stinger GT feels a little lazy off the line. Switch things to sport mode and it really comes alive. Power comes on smooth and low thanks to two turbos and a copious amount of torque. Joel didn't seem too hot on the exhaust note, but I think it sounds pretty decent for a V6. I like the eight-speed, too. Shifts are quick when they need to be and smooth most other times. Rear-wheel drive may not be the best for winter, but it is the most fun. It's not difficult to get the tail out, but it never feels out of control when you do.

The interior is handsome and well designed, though many of the materials feel cheap. So what? In a car like this, I'm not expecting real wood or metal. Kia focused on performance first and design, and that's where the Stinger really shines.

Managing Editor Greg Rasa: First impressions from one night in a Stinger: It has an Audi look and feel, as in well put-together. Perhaps not fully Audi-nice inside, but the cabin is cleanly designed with simple, easy-to-use controls. It's a bigger car than its driving impressions suggest, with decent legroom front and back. Driving position is excellent, and as Reese notes, the sloping liftback design limits the view out the back. Interior lighting provides a premium feel, with a thin, glowing accent line across the dashboard.

It's a great-looking car. At first glance, you see the tiger nose and four doors, but it bristles with sporty design touches unlike any family sedan. And it looks fabulous in Micro Blue Pearl, one of the perks of stepping up to a GT. (If you get the base car, you're limited to white, silver and black.) An orange Stinger on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show is also sharp, but that's not yet on offer.

The engine is well-behaved with a light foot in traffic. But go to the paddles and open it up, and the Stinger lives up to its name. There is lag from the twin turbos, but they kick in with gusto. Reese, who has spent more time in the car, says Sport mode mitigates the lag.

The Brembo brakes are authoritative. Encountering a yellow light that normally would be hard to stop for, I decided to put the brakes to the test. They worked great. Luckily, the bottle of wine I'd bought as a gift, then had forgotten was in the passenger seat, survived its flight.

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Kia Stinger Information

Kia Stinger

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