Test Drives

Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 GT Review 2018



The Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 delivers tremendous performance-per-dollar – it’s the real deal, and shows Kia has certainly arrived in the sporty segment 

Photos: Derryn Wong

SINGAPORE

Few cars have made as much of a splash as the Kia Stinger.

As described in our review of the base 2.0-litre turbo model, it’s Kia’s first entry into a sporty, performance car, offering rear-wheel drive fun in a four-door GT shape, with ‘more performance than a German car, and more style than a Japanese car’ for the same money.

This is the more expensive 3.3-litre V6 model, with 365hp on tap, it’s properly powerful and quick.

At 4,830mm, the Stinger is long (189mm longer than the BMW 4 Series), it’s also low and wide, and styled like a four-door coupe / gran turismo, so its key competitors will be cars like the Volkswagen Arteon, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback.

It helps that the car has a muscular, sporty appearance that’s a total turnaround from typical Kia styling, besides the signature tiger-nose grill, it has large brake cooling air intakes flanking the wide bumper, bright red Brembo calipers, fake air vents on the bonnet and sides of the car, flared wheel arches, an integrated rear diffuser and quad-pipes.

The car draws lots of attention, especially on the move, and the only negative is that is might actually be too loud for some people – but that’s perhaps the entire point.

And while looks are still a very subjective thing, you’d have to be very hard to please to dislike the convincing interior with its huge range of equipment. Though our first good impression came from our nose: The GT’s Nappa clad cabin smells good, and premium, quite unlike the overly plastic smells of early Korean cars.

We found however that the central console 8.0-inch touchscreen wasn’t as easy to navigate than say Volkswagen’s, though it does have every modern feature like Bluetooth phone connectivity and Apple Carplay, and even rarer ones such as wireless charging and a HUD.

Given the generous wheelbase, four adults would fit comfortably, five possible with a little squeezing. The Stinger GT is also a hit with kids – my brood of three
were happy seated behind, requesting on several occasions either to open the sunroof or to give it full gas – their love for speed comes from their mum, honest!

It’s perhaps not the best car for a full family vacation though – the 406-litre boot isn’t particularly large (compare the VW Arteon’s 563-litres).

There are five driving modes, accessible via a console mounted switch – Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport and Sport+. Smart toggles between Eco and Comfort, both of which feature the usual delayed throttle response and taming of the power delivery too.  

Those modes make for a relaxed cruise, doing 100km/h at only 1,500rpm, and when driven in Smart, Eco or Comfort modes, the buttery-smooth V6 purrs along, just like a Mercedes, actually.

But you want to know how it goes fast, and the answer is: Very well.

Sport was our favourite drive mode, with a linear throttle response, while Sport+ is the most aggro setting, which also has limited electronic intervention.

In Sport mode, the 370 ponies give you a good kick from behind, quad pipes emitting a well-tuned V6 turbo-muted-bellow, with quick successive gear changes at redline rocketing you towards the horizon.

Engage Sport +, steer and apply throttle with some exuberance, and around comes that tail predictably, the more lenient ESP letting the mechanical limited-slip differential (not found on the 2.0) earn its keep.

While Singapore gives little latitude for exploring a car’s potential in this way, we think the Kia should do very well on track. Another mechanical upgrade on the 3.3 are the brakes, which are uprated Brembo units with ventilated discs, delivering good feel and stopping power.

In a straight line, the GT is hilariously fast, effortlessly overtaking traffic and leaving astounded faces behind. You can almost see the thought bubble: “Did I just get overtaken really quickly…by a Kia?!”

As reported in CarBuyer earlier, the Stinger was honed, like all modern Kias, at
the Nurburgring Nordschleife. To an enthusiast like me, that speaks volumes. But it has a benefit to everyone else too, since in this case the car proves that it has the chops to handle almost every conceivable road condition.

READ MORE: What happened when we drove a Kia Stinger at the Nürburgring

kia stinger gt price singapore review


We put the car through  our litmus test of local roundabouts, sweepers, reducing radius corners, chicanes and speed bumps, and it performed almost flawlessly.

In fact, the car’s handling is so sweet and the harshness so well controlled that we forgot it runs 20-inch wheels shod with wide, thin-walled tyres, so supple, pliant and perfectly damped it is over speed strips and humps.

Electronically-adjustable suspension is standard on the 3.3 (again a bonus over the 2.0), and it shows in the wide-ranging talent of the car. There’s no appreciable body roll when pushing through the turns or transitioning from left to right turns. The GT handles with aplomb even though at 1.9-tonnes it weighs as much, or more, than an average German luxury sedan.

And to speak of German luxury, the Stinger is more than capable enough of challenging them on their own turf, with more power, performance and features at the same $200k price point.

Kia has knocked it out of the park with the Stinger GT. It looks good, smells good, goes like a $350K Continental car, is happy to wag its tail, and it still comes with Kia’s 10-year engine warranty and 5-year unlimited mileage warranty.

In short, it’s stunning value for money, with the biggest possible ‘but’ being – it’s a Kia. Thing is, the Stinger is good, and radical enough, to make people rethink what that means. We believe the Stinger could do to Kia what the Evo did for Mitsubishi, or what the WRX did for Subaru.


Kia Stinger 3.3 GT

Engine

3,342cc, 24V, V6, twin-turbocharged

Power

365hp at 6000rpm

Torque

510Nm at 1300-4500rpm

Gearbox

8-speed automatic

0-100km/h

270km/h

Top Speed

4.9 seconds

Efficiency

9.9L/100km

VES Band

C2

Agent

Cycle & Carrige Kia

Price

$206,800 with COE

Availability

Now

about the author

avatar
Deyna Chia
Deyna 'DC' Chia is a long-time contributor to CarBuyer. A founding member of the driving enthusiasts' club, The Traction Circle, he's also the resident speed freak on two-wheels, being an accomplished motorcyclist and trackday rider. Despite the rumour that 'DC' stands for 'does crack', he does not actually consume crack.