Kia Stinger

Kia Stinger review

Performance & drive

Manufacturer price from:£32,475
What Car? Target Price£29,995
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

We’ve driven the Stinger on track as well as on the road, and it’s very capable in both environments. That could have something to do with a certain Albert Biermann (ex-boss of BMW’s M division) being part of its development team.

For a start, the steering is precise and accurate, feeling nicely weighted at sensible road speeds, too – more so than in some versions of the some versions of the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé, although those rivals do feel more forgiving as you push them closer to the limit of grip.

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The four-cylinder 2.0 petrol and 2.2 diesel engines come with passive suspension, but the top-spec 3.3 petrol V6 has adaptive dampers. Both the passive set-up and adaptive suspension – even set in its softest Comfort mode – limit body roll well, so you never feel the car heaving from side to side overtly through corners.

It’s a car that feels nicely balanced, too, but being rear-wheel drive, you can always provoke the back end to slide playfully with a deliberate jab of the accelerator. It’s much more fun than a front or four-wheel drive Audi A5 Sportback or Volkswagen Arteon, although those rivals do feel more forgiving at the limit of adhesion.

Ride quality is more of a mixed bag. At speed, both the passive and adaptive set-ups work well, but the Stinger jars a little more over heavily scarred town roads than some of the softer executive saloons out there – and the Arteon, for that matter. That said, it’s still more comfortable more of the time than an A5 Sportback fitted with standard sports suspension.

The 2.0 petrol is more responsive when you rev it hard, although it sounds bland and boring for such a sporty car. Still, it’s better than the 2.2 diesel, which sends vibrations through the controls at around 1500rpm and becomes crass and boomy as you progress further up its rev range. Indeed, while the diesel offers a pleasant surge of acceleration at around 3500rpm, you won’t want to do it often because of the noise. That's unacceptable in a premium car, so the diesel Stinger is outclassed here by the ultra-slick A5 diesels. Things do settle down on the motorway, mind you, but not by much.

Noisy diesel engine aside, the Stinger makes for a decent long-distance cruiser. At speed, only particularly coarse surfaces whip up much road noise, while wind noise is kept to a minimum. 

You need to look at the top to find the sweet spot in the range: the superb 3.3 petrol V6. It’s the most exciting engine by a mile, sounding as purposeful as it is smooth and delivering outrageous performance. Claimed 0-60mph takes 4.7sec (our tests resulted in a 4.8sec time) and it’ll crack 168mph, if circumstances allow. With its four-wheel drive, an Audi S5 Sportback is quicker off the line but no faster once you’re rolling.

All versions come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s slick and responsive if you shift manually using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, but a tad hesitant in auto mode. The brakes, meanwhile, are effective at shedding speed, with enough pedal progression to avoid any jerkiness in stop-start traffic.

 

Kia Stinger
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