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Stinger a sharp car set to jumpstart kia

First Drive: 2017 Kia Stinger Prototype

Graeme fletcher Driving.CA When Kia landed in Canada 17 years ago, it did so with a forlorn lineup; the original Sportage and a compact sedan called Sephia remain among the worst road tests I?ve ever conducted. Since those early days, the company has gone from a bargain brand to the first non-luxury car company to top the J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey in 27 years. The study looks at the things gone wrong in the first 90 days of ownership and not only speaks to the build quality, it also acts as a barometer for things to come in future years. Peter Schreyer, Kia?s chief designer and president, morphed the brand?s portfolio from homely to handsome and now makes it a destination brand ? all in just 10 years. The next chapter, and the realization of a dream for Kia?s design team, is the Stinger. It?s based on the Gran Turismo (GT) concept that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, and the finished car stays true both to the style and thrust of the concept. From its stunning face, long hood and raked roofline, to the pinched waist, bold haunches and tight rear end, the five-door fastback is set to redefine Kia when it?s launched in the latter part of 2018. It will be offered in Stinger and Stinger GT versions; the latter has a much stronger presence, with its shark-like nose, LED headlights and larger air intakes. The bold exterior style flows neatly into the cabin. From the deep dish-style front buckets to the rear seat, the Stinger has plenty of space and functionality. Surprisingly, the raked roofline does not impinge on The Kia Stinger is set to redefine Kia when it?s launched in 2018. space; a six-footer will find plenty of headroom and legroom in all positions. Likewise, the materials are off the top shelf, as are the amenities. The highlight is the free-standing infotainment system, with its seveninch touch screen with haptic feedback. The dash itself is split horizontally with the information being housed above the steering wheel?s central crossbar and the controls below it. Finally, the available headup display shows navigation, audio, cruise control and blind-spot monitoring information in a clean and uncluttered fashion. The Stinger will also arrive with Kia?s Drive Wise suite of safety features. It brings forward-collision warning with autonomous braking and pedestrian recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure/ keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and high beam assist. All of this works to avoid or mitigate the effect of a collision. A new feature is Driver Attention Alert, which monitors select inputs and warns visually and audibly if it senses the driver?s concentration level is waning. The starting point for the Stinger was the platform used to underpin the Genesis, but it has been radically reworked to produce a fullsize ride that felt so light and lithe on the test car?s P225/40R19 front and P255/35R19 rear tires. The reason is the stiff body (55 per cent is of high-strength steel) and the adaptive suspension, which delivers comfort and minimizes body roll at the same time. There?s also a millimetre-precise variable-ratio steering setup and, on the GT, large Brembo brakes. Pop the hood and the Stinger has a 2.0-L turbocharged four-cylinder that pushes 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque at a low 1,350 rpm. The Stinger GT adopts the same 3.3-L turbocharged V6 that headlines in the Genesis G90. It twists out 365 hp and, more importantly, 376 lb-ft of torque anywhere between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm. graeme fletcher/Postmedia The power is relayed to the road through an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and the rear or all four wheels. The rear-driver uses a limited-slip differential to help get the power down. The all-wheel-drive model sends the power rearward by default, but can send up to 50 per cent of it forward when needed. The drive proved the system to be both seamless and very good at digging the Stinger GT out of a corner without wheelspin. It also uses a brake-based torque-vectoring system to reduce under- and oversteer when the drive gets frenzied. Everything can be tailored to suit through the Stinger?s Drive Mode select. It has five modes ? Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport and Individual. Each alters the throttle sensitivity, shift pattern, the steering?s weight and the adaptive suspension. For the most part, Smart is the best choice; it picks the right mix of settings for the driving conditions. However, a race track begs for Sport. Everything is set to hyper, and so the GT gave its all. What goes unspoken is the secret mode. Select Sport and turn off the electronic stability control system on the rear-driver and you have, for want of a better description, drift mode. The electronic nanny is rendered inactive and so flicking the tail out is as simple as pulling a ?Scandinavian Flick.? On the drift portion of the test, I dialed in a quarter turn right, followed immediately by a half turn to the left. This and a healthy stab at the gas put the Stinger GT into a glorious 270-degree drift around the traction circle. A second, over-exuberant, stab and I was facing the wrong way in a cloud of smoke, but with an enormous grin on my face. The track portion proved the Stinger GT?s work ethic banishes any hint of turbo lag and brings a run from rest to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, making it the fastest Kia ever (the base Stinger comes in at six seconds flat). More impressive was the GT?s power in the mid-range; on the main straightaway at Kia?s Namyang test track, it picked up its side sills and blasted forward, putting 193 km/h on the clock before needing to hammer those Brembo brakes to make it around a decreasing radius hairpin. Hang on to things around the corner, hard on the gas and the allwheel-drive system dug in and kept the GT pointed in the right direction ? it proved to be deliciously neutral, even at the limit. Sadly, my three laps were over just as I was beginning to fully appreciate the tenacity of the GT?s handling. With its combination of looks and performance, and the interior execution, the Kia Stinger adds a new dimension and needed halo car to the brand. The better news is the base Stinger is expected to be priced between the Optima and Cadenza, making it a seriously seductive steal of a deal! Ends May 31 st 5-Star Safety Ratings More Stars. Safer Cars.

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