Exclusive 2018 Kia Stinger GT First Test

2018 Kia Stinger GT

The concept of “grand touring” has been around for centuries, and the moniker has been applied to cars since the 1940s, but it’s a term we tend to associate with exotic sports cars. The formula, though, is pretty simple: stylish, comfortable on a long drive, and plenty of power. But there’s no rule that says it has to cost a fortune, and the Kia Stinger GT is absolutely taking advantage of this exception

We’ve driven prototypes at an overseas R & D complex, on a frozen Swedish lake, and on the Nrburgring Nordschleife. Now, finally, we’ve driven a production-spec 2018 Kia Stinger GT on real roads and to our own Auto Club Speedway test track. How does it fare against the German luxury sedans against which it will undoubtedly be compared?

That’s not to say it won’t drift. Turn the computer off, give it a Scandinavian flick and too much throttle, and it’ll do a nice power oversteer or two. It’s just not a hoon by nature.

“It seems that the stability control is always learning and adapting,” Randy said. “Even with it turned off, it became more and more invasive as the day wore on, and the wheelspin and sliding woke up the nannies that watch over us hooligans. After a few nice drifts, the car began to resolutely resist power oversteer—a darned shame and frustrating.”

“The brakes are impressively strong, with a consistent and firm pedal feel that inspires confidence,” he said. “The braking does not upset the chassis, and the pad compound can take the heat.”

There will be heat, and not just from the brakes. The Stinger GT is taking on a wildly competitive segment ruled by a small in-crowd. Whether it’s staring down the German triumvirate or the American holdouts, the sport sedan from the value brand has a lot to prove.

“For a first effort at a genuine sport sedan, the Stinger is quite an accomplishment,” Randy said. “It clearly is set up for a comfortable ride as a priority over race car dynamics, but in the real world, this makes sense. Even more so among buyers of a big, powerful GT car.”

Like no Korean car before it, the Stinger GT speaks the language of the enthusiast. Will they listen?

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