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First Drive: 2018 Kia Stinger GT

Jeff Glucker November 22, 2017 Featured, First Impressions, Kia Reviews, Reviews 22 Comments

Here’s a car we’ve been looking forward to driving for some time now. The roll out of the 2018 Kia Stinger GT has been happening for awhile and we’ve waited quite a bit to see if the car lives up to the hype it’s generating. First off, you should know it lives up to its own hype because it’s an entertaining, stylish, grand-touring sedan with a hatchback booty and 376 horsepower under the hood.

Is it good *enough* though to get folks with the necessary cash to head into Kia dealerships to pick one up? That’s a far tougher question to answer. This is a good car, with an appropriate price tag but it’s a price tag that keeps it out of reach for the younger enthusiast crowd that might long to own such a machine.

On paper, the Kia Stinger GT is a true competitor to the likes of the BMW 440 and 640 Gran Coupe, the Audi S5 Sportback, and the base (BASE, people… Not the V8s) Porsche Panamera. It’s quick, comfortable, and good looking and it can be had for a good deal less than that mighty competitive set.

My fear with the Stinger GT, however, is that it will be a car beloved by enthusiasts and journalists… and purchased by few. I really hope I’m wrong though, and I truly believe that if it sells well it could be the car that gets people finally worrying about what the badging on the nose and tail.

  • Fred

    That is probably the most positive review of the Stinger that I’ve read (or saw) of the 3 I’ve seen so far. Not that the others haven’t liked it as well. Just have to ask tho, is there anything you didn’t like about?

    • Jeff Glucker

      Yes, the suspension was softer than I hoped when pushing the car through the canyons.
      The price tag still feels high even though it all makes sense on paper.
      Oh, and because of the Launch Control system, you can’t brake torque the car – that’s not quite a strong complaint, but I like to do dumb shit on occasion.

      Other than that, it’s a seriously sweet machine…

  • I look at that lede image and all I can see is the rim SO CLOSE to the pavement.

    “Do not try to flex the sidewall. That’s impossible. Instead, only realize the truth… THERE IS NO SIDEWALL.”

    • outback_ute

      Hey, it’s only an issue if there is a pot hole at the time…

    • dead_elvis, inc.

      Completely OT, but I just saw this & it made me wonder about your Bultakenstein (sp?) project.

      Also OT, but I really miss Last Call.

      • Ah, yes, what a lovely Streaker.

        As for Bultakenstein, I have not done much at all on it for the last few years, so I’ve given myself an ultimatum: either I get it together and running by 10-25-2017 (the 6th anniversary of starting on it), or I strip it and sell the parts.

        • Tylerd5079

          Does that mean you’ve stripped it? Is Bultakenstein really over?

          • Sorry, I meant to type 2018. I’m giving myself 11 months to finish it.

            • Tylerd5079

              That’s much better news!

              I wish you luck, and look forward to hearing any and all developments.

        • dead_elvis, inc.

          My long-stalled ’76 XS500 rebuild has reached that point, and I need to get it listed on CL & I’m not sure where else, yet. An impending move to a place without a garage has made that a reality.

  • GTXcellent

    I can’t listen at work – just play with (poorly done) closed captions. I know I missed a lot, but here’s my take:
    1. That ox-blood red interior is AWESOME. ‘Bout time we start to get some colors on the inside.
    2. Seems like a pretty sweet ride, but I still can’t see it selling. It’s already a shrinking market – and buyers here will either go with a badge that carries cache (MB, BMW, AUDI, etc) or if they’re strictly performance minded, they’ll spend $10k less and buy a Charger Scat Pack with 100 more hp. (please prove me wrong Kia – the world needs more sports sedans and less CUVs)
    3. Personally would still rather have the SS that offers everything the Stinger has, plus manual transmission, mag ride suspension, and a loud-ass V8

    • outback_ute

      Same here, haven’t yet watched the video but have seen local tests here. The price is very interesting – more expensive than what it costs here ($AUD60k for the V6 GT). The trim levels don’t seem to coincide entirely, it seems there is an entry level grade that we don’t get here and we can get a 2.0T GT-Line for example for $4k less than the V6.

      The V6 GT is $2800 more than the SS-V Redline, the most expensive Commodore variant – of which I gather there are only a few left for sale! Given production ended just over a month ago, this is unusual…

      • 1977ChevyTruck

        Interestingly, in Canada, its quite a bit cheaper than both the US and Australia, if I’m looking at the trim levels and exchange rates right.

        United States:
        GT (V6, RWD) = $USD38,350, $CAD48,729, $AUD50,373
        GT (V6, AWD) = $USD40,550, $CAD51,525, $AUD53,262

        Canada:
        GT (V6, AWD) = $USD34,799, $CAD44,195, $AUD45,693
        (According to Wikipedia, “Only 200 copies of the Stinger will be available in Canada for model-year 2018, all of them GT versions with AWD Standard.”)

        Australia:
        330S (V6, RWD) = $USD37,311, $CAD47,383, $AUD48,990
        (According to Redbook, “Kia rules out adding all-wheel drive and diesel versions of new hero model in Australia”)

        (Listed are the cheapest versions with the V6. All listed prices are the base listed price from the KIA website from that country. No fees are added. Exchange rate used is from Google at time of posting (USD=1.00, AUD=1.31, CAD=1.27)

        • outback_ute

          Turns out I was comparing to the GT2 version (US) as the line trim. Not sure if they are equivalent feature for feature but they seemed pretty similar

          • 1977ChevyTruck

            The Australian GT is probably pretty similar to the American GT2, since they’re both line-toppers. I just picked the base V6 because it was the cheapest model I could kind of compare across all three countries.

            I’ve never really compared regional differences in spec and pricing before. It’s actually really intriguing…

            • outback_ute

              Yes, it makes sense they don’t sell the AWD version in Australia – although with it they might steal some of the Subaru-skimobile market or provide an upgrade option to Evo/STi owners.

  • Ol’ Shel’

    No apexes were harmed in the making of this review.

  • I’m really pleased that its a little on the soft side, because it prevents it being a little on the firm side.

    I’ve not driven one yet, but I have it in my mind that this will be the closest thing to being a Rover SD1 Vitesse or Granada Scorpio 24v for the 21st century, fast, comfortable and and just about agile enough.

    • Monkey10is

      Now if only it was “a Lotus Carlton for the 21st century”…

  • AlexG55

    I wonder if we will start seeing police forces buying it as a pursuit car. Several forces in the UK use the Hyundai i30 for patrol already.

  • RHParish

    Comparing roughly apples-to-apples (though not including AWD for the Stinger because why would you with RWD?), it’s very competitive with the new Regal GS. Except it comes with even more features for the price, 50 more horsepower, and it’s not based on the Malibu. So assuming anyone buys one, they’d be nuts not to go for the Stinger GT.

  • mrh1965

    That motor sounds great. Sorento GT, anyone?