Kia stinger V6 GT

Does Kia's most powerful production car live up to the hype?

SINCE WE LAST drove a V6 Stinger nigh on a year ago, Kia’s fastback sports sedan has become the tool of choice for Queensland and West Australian police services pursuit duties after the demise of the hi-po Commodore and Falcon models. The constabulary in some other states and territories are evaluating them too.

The 2019 GT tested here is the bells and whistles model in the three-tier V6 range. And it’s stacked with most all the bells and whistles you could want and at a price that makes it good value. Oh, and then there’s a seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty as well.

Additional features over and above the mid-field Si ($55,990) we sampled last time include a 360-degree view camera system, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, steering-responsive self-levelling LED headlights with high-beam assist, electrochromic (auto-dimming) exterior mirrors, colour heads-up display, seven-inch colour instrument display, GT-interface gauges, power sunroof, Nappa leather sports seats, eight-way power passenger front seat, four-way power lumbar, bolster-adjuster and cushion extension for driver’s seat, driver’s seat comfort access system and memories, dynamic stability damping control, flat-bottom leather GT steering wheel, alloy pedals and door scuff plates, ‘smart’ power boot lid, wireless phone-charging, heated/cooled front seats, and 15-speaker Harmon-Kardon premium sound system.

2018-Kia-Stinger-GT interior

New to GT for model year 2019 with a $500 price rise is a stainless-steel cargo area sill plate, interior mood-lighting, bezel-less eight-inch infotainment screen, and Michelin Pilot Sport tyres instead of the previous Continental Sport Contact rubber.

Stinger’s head-turning looks are complemented by impressive performance and road manners to please keen drivers. The 272kW twin-turbo V6 is a cracker delivering strong performance and always feeling keen to get on with the job thanks to 510Nm of torque spread broadly through the rev range. The eight-speed auto driving to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential is smooth and prompt with shifts. However, it would be better if the box didn’t default back to auto mode after manual shifts via the paddles, even if only in sport mode.

Steering, handling, ride, and braking from the standard Brembo brakes are all as charismatic as the engine performance.

Rear visibility is a bit restricted due to rear body and window design, though the multi-view camera and park sensors help. The cargo area has a large flat floor but is fairly shallow, while rear occupant space isn’t quite as generous as a Commodore.

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $60,490 (excludes on-road costs)
  • ENGINE: 3.3-litre, direct-injection twin-turbo petrol V6.
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: 5 stars (all Stinger models)
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 239

FOR:

  • Well priced, plenty of equipment, warranty, performance, road manners.

AGAINST:

  • Space-saver spare, space limitations, rear visibility.

2018-Kia-Stinger-GT rear