Detroit Auto Show: Kia GT4 Stinger

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Kia-Stinger-front-300What is it?

The Stinger — not Stingray, although Kia would love the comparison to the Corvette — is the Korean automaker’s concept of a no-frills, rear-wheel-drive sports car like the Subaru BRZ.

There is no radio or interior door handles, either, all in the Porsche-like interest of saving weight in the weirdest ways possible. A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, modified from the one used in the production Optima sedan, puts out 315 hp.

Why should you care?

Sports car enthusiasts on budgets will appreciate another entry in this market. Although it’s no Mustang, Kia’s parent company Hyundai has found takers for its rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe, and the Stinger could find plenty more. Kia is going upmarket in luxury sedans with the Cadenza and K900, so a sports car shouldn’t be a surprise. The looks, especially those stacked LED headlamps, are quite agreeable, and the designers nailed all the classic proportions of a two-seat sports car. Save for the see-through A-pillars, it’s not very exciting, but then again, the BRZ functions in the same manner. It just works.


What’s not to like?

If the Kia Forte Koup is any indicator, a few things. The first-generation Forte was simply a bad car — creaky, poor driving dynamics, whiny engine, et cetera to infinity. The latest Forte improves upon a lot, but all isn’t near-perfect like a Ford Focus or a Honda Civic. The Koreans don’t know how to fine-tune their suspensions and steering on any of their cars, and given these are the most important elements of a sports car, the Stinger can’t afford to be adequate. Let’s just say Kia needs to take its time here before rushing the Stinger to production.

How much?

It’s not happening yet. Kia insists it will. We hope it will, too, so long as Kia gives this car the attention and development budget it deserves.


Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Connecticut, he writes for BestRide, Car and Driver, The Boston Globe and other publications.

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