A WHOLE lot of punters are wondering about the Kia Stinger GT Ė and eyeing it with suspicion. Itís like weíve all grown up eating steak or pork Ė thatís my analogy for Falcon and Commodore Ė and now, with both to soon become completely unavailable, and little desire to go vegetarian, someone is advertising buffalo or antelope or some other weird meat. It has the essential amino acids we all need, but by god, what the hell is it going to taste like?
Will it go alright on the Weber on a Sunday arvo? Can we get used to it?
These were the kind of bizarre thoughts running through my deliriously jet-lagged brain as I stood beside an empty Nurburging Nordschleife this month with keys to a Kia Stinger GT. If this car hasnít caught your attention yet, youíre an unobservant bugger Ė 272kW, 510Nm, a twin-turbo V6, Commodore-size and spaciousness, rear-drive and a mechanical limited-slip differential. All in a package costing around $55,000 Ė with big Brembos and 19-inch wheels. Zero to 100km/h? 4.9 seconds with launch control, helped by big 255-section rear tyres. Bam and thank you.
Yet thatís the on-paper bit. And didnít your mother ever tell you that cars can sound great on paper, but be completely the opposite in reality? And with that in mind, Kia gave me a cup of coffee and one lap of a racetrack to try to satisfy a whole nationís curiosity in its new rear-drive hero. But luckily, if youíve got one lap anywhere, it may as well be of a 20.8km long track...
So, is it the real deal? You can read my review on p.78 but Iím going to take a punt and say yes. The interior is more German than Korean, thereís a certain sophistication about the handling, itís got lots of grunt and feels like it will happily power oversteer. In the near future, MOTOR will absolutely be getting phone calls from Kia asking what happened to the rear tyres.
Except, thereís one big catch.
XR6 Turbo owners need not apply, but those with an SS or XR8? Take a Stinger GT for a drive and youíll quickly know just how much a V8 soundtrack matters to you. But if it doesnít, you have permission to get excited. There is still an odd Kia Ďickynessí about it, but get over that, and even embrace the underdog, upstart Stinger, and youíve opened your mind.
Buffalo can taste good Ė with a little kim chi.