• / #2018-Kia-Stinger-GT-S / #2018 / #Kia-Stinger-GT-S / #Kia / #Kia-Stinger

    The Stinger gatecrashes BMW’s party, and shows that it can soak up the miles, too

    I guess it was a teeny bit provocative turning up to the drive of the still-prototype BMW M850i Coupe in the Stinger, what with Hyundai-Kia having lured a couple of significant Germans to work on the increasingly impressive Korean brands. They are Peter Schreyer, the former top Audi designer, and Albert Biermann, once chief engineer of BMW’s M Division. But, hey, it’s my long-termer, and when you’re going to assess dynamics it’s useful to arrive in a car that you rate, and for me the Stinger has great steering and brake feel.

    If I’d not been hurrying back I’d have taken the Kia onto some of the very best north Wales roads, but I had to make do with those to and from the hotel in Ruthin where the BMW event was hosted. Happily, this included the famous Horseshoe Pass (featured in the dummy ‘issue 000’) and I was pleased to find my take on the Stinger’s on-centre steering feel and initial brake response stood the test.

    These roads challenge a chassis and I confess that even in its firmer Sport mode, the sense of mass in the Stinger is inescapable. It’s a 1780kg saloon, and it was on roads more suited to fast hatches and sports cars weighing 500kg less. The many thousands of development miles at the Nürburgring have delivered much, but there are a few questions asked by Welsh asphalt that it can’t answer. Maybe, as with BMW, it will become a stop on Kia’s new car development programme.

    Another big trip this month was to Cadwell Park, which luxuriates in the nickname of the mini-Nürburgring. The weather looked good and the club racing had something for everyone – Caterhams for me, 2CVs for my big brother, and karts for my eldest two boys. After that it was off to see my mum in Cleethorpes.

    Across country from Northants to the coast, via Cadwell, the roads are ideal for the Stinger, flowing but challenging, and it soaked it up. It’s terrifically comfortable all the time, and that twin-turbo V6 has the response you need to dispatch the dolly danglers that would otherwise spoil some of the best stretches. On a long, gentle run (i.e. clogged motorways), I’ve seen over 33mpg, which is impressive. More generally, I’m seeing about 26mpg, and as low as high teens stropping along favourite local runs, but the trend is upwards, suggesting the V6 is running in nicely. And still the admiring glances come.

    Downsides? A few, mostly details. I haven’t yet found out how to stop the seats reversing and the steering wheel raising when I stop the engine and open the door. It’s unnecessary, and upon getting back in I have to wait for them to whirr back into position. Also, on first start-up or shut-down, the Stinger plays a tune that sounds like a Windows operating system firing up. Of more consequence, the lever of the eight-speed auto seems to be becoming less responsive when rowing between drive and reverse when manoeuvring, occasionally stranding me in neutral. Overall, though, I’m still very much enjoying life with the Stinger.

    Date acquired April 2018
    Total mileage 2751 Mileage this month 1527
    Costs this month £0
    mpg this month 28.5

    ‘It’s comfortable all the time, and has the response you need to dispatch the dolly danglers’