After five years of concepts, teasers and furious behind-the-scenes development, it’s finally here – a rear-wheel-drive, performance saloon. By Kia. Yep, colour us a bright shade of surprised as well. Called the Stinger – and not to be confused with the two-door Stinger concept – Kia’s performance saloon is coming to British roads. American too, we’re told.
With a turbocharged 2.0-litre four in the base model and a twin-turbo V6 in the top spec Stinger GT, the Stinger will be available with either rear or all-wheel-drive in the United States, but it’s unknown if that choice will be extended to the other side of the Atlantic.
Let’s be honest, though – the one we’re really interested in is the rear-drive, twin-turbo V6, with Brembo four-piston callipers up front, multilink suspension in the rear and a 720-watt Harman/Kardon stereo in the middle.
According to Kia, it’s the “highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history”, which is a pretty enticing concept, as is its 3.3-litre, twin-turbo V6, with 365bhp and 376lb ft of torque. More enticing is a zero to 62mph figure of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 167mph. All from a four-door Kia.
The ‘sensible’ version, if that sort of thing appeals to you, will likely make very close to 255bhp and 260lb ft (Kia hasn’t screwed down the exact figure), so it won’t be a slouch. Both versions will channel the power through an eight-speed automatic, with no mention of a manual. Boo. Then again, if Alfa can get away with an auto-only spec sheet in the UK (and Australia, and America) with the Giulia QV, perhaps it’s not a huge gamble.
The all-wheel-drive system is, thankfully, rear-biased, with torque vectoring to keep things entertaining in the bends, and the rear-drive versions come with proper, mechanical limited-slip differentials.
Size-wise, the Stinger is longer and wider than roughly everything else in the small executive saloon class. It also has a longer wheelbase than the Audi A4, Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS, so it could even be cross-shopped with the likes of E-Classes. Maybe.