Kia Stinger: Smooth and athletic

Smooth and athletic

Observer writer

Friday, September 14, 2018

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The 2018 Kia Stinger GT is an automotive statement, wiping out any previous preconceptions of what one believed the brand was and setting its future direction.

The Kia Stinger is best described as sex on wheels. Draped in Sunset Yellow paint, Auto's tested model drew nothing but attention wherever it went. Other motorists ogled, trying to figure out what type of car it was. Once stationary it attracted camera phones by the droves. And it wasn't hard to understand why, as the Stinger's design language makes it a very attractive vehicle with its long bonnet and sloping rear roof that blur the line between coupé and four-door sedan, which it is. Smooth and athletic are other adjectives that can be easily applied to the Stinger.

This continues inside. Opening the Kia is itself an event as the key fob uses an unusual detonator-like method. It feels like a secret agent setting off a bomb in an action movie every time. The sporty leather driver's seat and power adjustable steering column all move to allow ease of ingress. When the door closes passengers are electronically shuffled back into the previously assigned memory position. The level of adjustment is significant — eight ways plus heating controls — allowing all body types to get comfortable. There is plenty of space front and rear, but the interior still feels cosy and driver-focused.

Whatever the final seating position one will not be disappointed as they will find themselves surrounded by premium materials, from soft-touch leather to sporty metal accents and a light sprinkling of carbon fibre. Technology is plentiful.

All major functions, for example wipers and headlights, can be automated. Switchgear operates with reassuring elegance. The 8-inch infotainment touchscreen dominates the space, doubling as 360-degree parking monitor as well.

There are shortcut buttons for the common actions, but the majority of interaction is via touch. Fortunately, it's fast with plenty of connectivity, USB, bluetooth, while devices equipped with wireless charging can sit on a pad in the centre console.

Again, this extends to the rear passengers with their matching high- quality, luxury-contoured seats, rear a/c vents and power sources, 12v and USB. For everybody to enjoy, the panoramic sunroof increases cabin ambiance along with the premium audio system.

Fire up the two-litre twin-turbo engine and things continue to be as refined as the interior and exterior. The exhaust note does receive some internal augmentation, but that can be turned off completely to leave the vehicle totally quiet.

There are four driving modes, however most drivers will spend the majority of their time in either COMFORT or SPORT, and they should, as these represent the dual nature of the Kia Stinger. It's not a raw sports car. It is fast, very fast. Speed builds at a smooth pace due to the eight-speed automatic transmission's near invisible shifts.

At times it may take a glance at the head-up display or the speedometer to confirm actual velocity. The chassis can be pushed confidently on twisty roads without triggering the multitude of electronic safety nannies.

On the other hand, the Stinger can just be enjoyed as a luxury sedan. Filled with passengers and cargo it can cover long distances or deal with the daily slog of stop-and-go Corporate Area traffic in total comfort.

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