Ed’s note

Can the Kia Stinger GT really fill a Falconor Commodore-sized hole in our hearts?

Dylan Campbell

A WHOLE lot of punters are wondering about the Kia Stinger GT – and eyeing it with suspicion. It’s like we’ve all grown up eating steak or pork – that’s my analogy for Falcon and Commodore – 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 hasn’t caught your attention yet, you’re an unobservant bugger – 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 – 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 that’s the on-paper bit. And didn’t 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 nation’s curiosity in its new rear-drive hero. But luckily, if you’ve 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 I’m going to take a punt and say yes. The interior is more German than Korean, there’s a certain sophistication about the handling, it’s 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, there’s one big catch.

XR6 Turbo owners need not apply, but those with an SS or XR8? Take a Stinger GT for a drive and you’ll quickly know just how much a V8 soundtrack matters to you. But if it doesn’t, you have permission to get excited. There is still an odd Kia ‘ickyness’ about it, but get over that, and even embrace the underdog, upstart Stinger, and you’ve opened your mind.

Buffalo can taste good – with a little kim chi.