Every now and again, a car manufacturer will make a leap, thrusting itself into the limelight having unveiled its latest creation. Whilst these instances can be few and far between, Kia’s bold move to catch the attention of the prestige saloon market is one that shouldn’t go unnoticed. The Kia Stinger feels like it’s the beginning of something monumental for the Korean manufacturer.
The Stinger marks a bold move for Kia, who have previously flopped with their executive saloons. The K900 and Cadenza were both boasted an uninspiring design and cheap build quality. But where they were bland and drab, the Stinger is the opposite, elevating the manufacturer’s budget image into a whole new stratosphere with its design alone.
Make no mistake, the Stinger is seriously eye catching. While it takes the sporting Gran Turismo looks of the Audi A7 and some stylish design tweaks from the Porsche Panamera, these aesthetics are no more than subtle hints designed to target the market this car is aimed at. In other words, this isn’t an imitation. It’s a car manufacturer specifically targeting the eye of a prestige market with something they’d never expect - A desirable car from a budget manufacturer.
What’s most surprising is that they do it perfectly. While you can see some resemblances to some more popular prestige saloons, the Stinger stands unique in its own right.
Really, the fate of this car lies in its performance. With its Gran Turismo shape, drivers will expect it to drive as it looks. As a result, Kia have developed a 370bhp engine with an adaptively damped chassis to tray and compete with the Audi S4 and the BMW 440.
So what’s different?
To enhance the driving feel, the Kia Stinger is actually lower than most other executive saloon. Consumers looking at the prestige manufacturers will have their own ideas on whether this cars looks can keep up with the perennial contenders, but with its low, long wheel base and wide proportions, it undeniably sporty.
The cabin is far more luxurious than we have ever seen from Kia, again highlighting the Korean car company’s willingness to compete at the executive end of the car market. But whilst the interior has been enhanced significantly from previous Kia models, there is still some evidence of poor fitting materials. However, the Stinger’s infotainment system is excellent.
Where it excels is practicality. Its rare that you find such a great looking saloon with a roomy interior and generous boot space. There is plenty of room in the footwells, as well as excellent headroom for those drivers in excess of 6ft.
I would not be surprised if in a few month’s time we are seeing more and more of the Stinger on our roads and our preconceived views on the North Korean car manufacturer have changed entirely.