Surprises. There is a certain beauty to being unsuspecting of someone or something and then being astonished at said surprise. We’ve had plenty of these in the car world but of late, manufacturers have lost sight of the meaning behind practical performance cars. Because yes, these cars are still very good as purpose built machines but they don’t fly under the radar like they used to. And I’m not just talking about Audi RS, Merc AMG or BMW M in particular, I’m talking about everyone who sells a performance range of cars.
Or perhaps it’s just cynical old me who liked cars that let their performance do the talking as opposed to their black carbon wing mirrors or chromed exhaust tips. You can see an emerging pattern here, I do like cars that are understated but very exciting to drive. So then, the Kia Stinger GT is a perfect match for me.
Firstly, can I just say that this Kia has one of the coolest names in the business. With that out the way, back to the car. Kia have upped their game ten fold with their recent release of cars. The new Sorento and Carnival are just fantastic. Not just in terms of styling but also in terms of functionality. And the new 2021 Stinger is no different. On the outside, it looks like a regular Kia luxury sedan with a few styling quirks here and there. Like the rear tailight that wraps around or the sloping roof. Upon closer inspection, one can clearly see the performance pedigree that hides in plain sight. Those vents in the front or the Brembo brakes hiding behind the wheels and then the chromed tipped quad exhausts as well.
A similar story rings true of the interior which just looks like a leather wrapped luxury cocoon. Which it is, a very comfortable one too. But again, look closely and you will spot the aluminium pedals, flat bottomed steering wheel and the bolstered seats. The ’21 model gets Kia’s new infotainment system which is great to use. I love the neon purple colour theme as well. Along with this, it has those quirky features like sounds of nature, voice memo and the rest. The Harman Kardon sound system is great too and has plenty of oomph when you’re listening to Glory Days and want to turn the volume up! Though, it’s hard to justify needing a good audio system when you’ve got a good V6 like that up front.
Speaking of the engine, it’s a 3.3 litre twin turbo V6 unit. With plenty of punch and even though the car is rear wheel drive, it has no problem putting that 350+ horsepower onto the tarmac. As such, the Stinger will hit 100 in 4.9 seconds. That is lightning quick for a sports sedan like this! The V6 lambda 2 unit also produces 274kW and 510 Nm of torque, lack of power is definitely not an issue for the Stinger despite its size. Though, I will say that all this rear wheel power means that you will tend to eat through those rear tires rather quickly. No worries though because you’ll be having too much fun doing it. With this kind of power going solely to the rear wheels, you’d expect the Stinger to be a mess in the corners but it just isn’t. The grip is phenomenal and once you’re off the line, it can just keep putting down the power without wheelspin. Whatever they have done with the traction control system is just mind boggling because this car can really take corners. And that front engine rear drive combo makes it a treat in the twistys as well. The 8 speed gearbox also means that you always have power along with efficiency for those times when you just want to drive home.
In many ways, the Kia Stinger GT captures the essence of those discrete performance cars and brings it into this modern age. It is comfortable as a commuter car but can double up as an absolute weapon and I’m pretty sure you could take it drifting if the opportunity ever arose. All this while being able to pick up the kids from school or handle more than a weekly shop. It is the perfect all rounder. However, what I love the most about the Stinger GT is its ability to not draw attention to itself because it takes a true connoisseur to appreciate a machine like this.
The Kia Stinger GT gets a 5/5 from me!
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Words and photos by Matthew D’Souza.