Kia have just unveiled the ‘Stinger’ their new car to take on the BMW 3 series. The stats all point to a serious competitor: 5.1 seconds to 60 and 167 mph top speed in GT spec.
It looks like Kia has really pulled out the stops, offering the Stinger with bags of power, rear wheel drive, a super strong chassis, MacPherson struts up front, and a five-link independent rear suspension, plus loads of equipment inside. Being a Kia the car also comes with loads of technology such as adaptive ride, lane detection, drowsiness detection and the usual interior tech like a large touch screen infotainment system. This car is designed to redefine what Kia are, and draw your attention away from the Germans to a car that offers the same thrills inside a 7 year warranty.
Even the name is quite good- ‘stinger’. It could easily be an American muscle car with that name.
But there’s an elephant in the room. It’s a Kia. If you are looking at a BMW 3 series you may be tempted by a Jaguar XE, but you are unlikely to be looking at a Kia. Kia are looking to shake off the boring reliable image and show they can do premium high performance too.
The biggest problem is it’s not an American muscle car, it’s not a German executive saloon, it’s a Kia. Because of this we can’t just accept Kia as either of these things, it has to earn those comparisons. Unfortunately most things to do with this car seem like someone read a book about cool cars and then put everything they liked together. The front and back look overly styled, too many lines seem to be going on. There are about 20 grills. The interior looks a bit 1990s. A Jaguar, Mercedes or BMW is an art form in refined and restrained class and power. The Kia just isn’t. On paper this would be a competitor but i think that’s about where it ends.
As such I can’t see this being a realistic competitor to the German brands, but let’s wait and see how it drives, you never know, if it blows the competition away on the road we could be talking about Kia in a whole different way.