Last Word First
Logic is a word and an action we apply when something often refuses to sit easy between our ears. It can involve someone’s dress code, the music they listen to, the team they support, how many pairs of shoes they own, and in this instance, the type of car they drive.
KIA haven’t been known as adventurous in their driveway offerings, their raison d’etre to provide affordable, well-toyed and reliable transport to the volume segments, and overall they have succeeded in the name placing KIA as a definite option in the buyer’s mind-set.
And now they bring us Stinger. Well, that’s not entirely true, the reality is our right-hand drive demand here is never going to be commercial justification for bringing us a car like Stinger, while our 3-million new cars per year neighbour, trumps our 125,000 expected sales this year, our bargaining power bubble fragile and easily burst.
That said, cars sometimes arrive here for our delectation and it would be rude not to greet it with Cead Mile Failte and have a wee chat with it, as in ‘How’s she cuttin’?
The Stinger is unquestionably targeted at markets where fuel is not the concern it is here, where annual car tax is not a small mortgage and where every nut, bolt and washer is subjected to our parasitical VRT.
Format: Four-door, four-seater, Grand Tourismo coupe
Engine: Twin-turbo, 3.3. lire V6, petrol
Transmission: 8-speed Auto, with paddle shift
Drive: Rear wheel drive
Road Tax Band: Band F
Annual Road Tax: €1,200
Cargo space: 406 litres, expanding to 1,114 litres with rear seats folded
Warranty: 7-year bumper to bumper manufacturers warranty.
Some of the competition
BMW 4-Series grand coupe, Jaguar XE, Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz AMG C43, Porsche Panamera, Ford Mustang.
Dripping in beautiful red metallic paint, it’s key features and adornments finished in anodised metal, the Stinger’s four-door coupe profile is food for the eyes. Standing on 19” anodised alloys, with its red brakes callipers playing peekaboo, it can vogue it on any street. Up front the vented bonnet, lights, front air-dam, side vents in the lower wings, combine to hint at the prospect of potency, whilst a visit to the rear confirms the Stingers intent with four chrome oval pipes ready to add a touch of opera to each journey.
Keyless entry provides access to an interior that hits all the senses bar taste, with a mixture of brushed aluminium and soft red Nappa leather providing a welcome bordering on decadent – but oh so deserving. Multiple adjustment options via the electric seat and steering should suit all sizes, my large frame finding a comfy perch with ease, my settings stored should someone requiring less space take the helm – a feature selfishly retained during my four-day test drive.
Coming with every toy in Santa’s chest, including Head Up Display, (HUD), owners of the Stinger will want for nought, albeit said HUD almost disappears should you be wearing polarised lenses. It is nonetheless a great covert co-driver in its provision of key information on your rate of progress, sat-nav direction and current speed zone.
All you can need or indeed imagine is available on the Stinger, your smart phone, Apple or Android simply requiring a plug and play action. All else is touch and scroll, the prime requirements all activates once stored via the steering wheel controls – simple.
And then there’s the button that says Mode, not Mood, although it could easily be swapped. Here you can choose to alter the Stingers intent, demeanour, friendliness and attitude, at the merest twist of a button. For the most part of my relationship with the Stinger left it in Smart, Eco or in Comfort, with short dalliances into Sport and Sport+ reserved for a controlled zone unleashing of this cars true potency.
On the Road
The Stinger fitted into my requirements without so much as an eyebrow raised or a finger wagged. That’s not to say we didn’t have our moments of conflict, mostly centred on my desire to hold onto my license and its provocation and enticement into forbidden territory – this car leave kilometres of tarmac in its mirrors with an ease NASA would be proud off.
Make no mistake, this Korean grand tourer is a real performance car, capable of passing telegraph poles like teeth in a comb if unleashed. Where it shines is in being wonderfully docile and not highly strung - until it’s provoked and then every one of its pedigree gi-gi’s come out to play, demanding restraint and talent from its jockey.
The Stinger is supremely talented and carries, like all KIA’s, a 7-year warranty. Being a high performance grand tourer and carrying a price tag of close to 67k for my test car, it will appeal to few on our North Atlantic rock, the alternative 2-litre diesel winning a driveway place instead. As an indication of what KIA can provide, the Stinger is a winner and on design, fit, finish, and performance, it is testimony that KIA are a highly technical and quality car maker.
While the majority will opt for the diesel alternative, the sight of this 3.3 litre will be as rare as that of a politician’s apology. Those lucky enough to share its company will be easily identified by an equal, but more justifiable reluctance to seek absolution.
Tony Toner - Motoring Correspondent for BeepBeep.ie