The Kia Stinger is one of the best cars I've driven all year - here's how it matches up against its competition from BMW
- The Kia Stinger combines style, value, and performance in an appealing, sporty four-door package.
- We've driven the car three times in 2018 and have come away very impressed.
- BMW might make be the ultimate driving machine, but the Kia Stinger matches up pretty well against the best Bimmer has to offer.
Kia has scored a notable victory with the Kia Stinger, a high-performance sedan from a brand better known for affordable four-doors and SUVs.
The Stinger was the toast of the auto-show circuit in 2017. I first sampled the all-wheel-drive GT2 version of the car in California in early 2018. This $52,000 machine, with a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 making a tasty 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of yummy torque, completely captivated me as I drove around the Bay Area.
Later, I enjoyed the same car in the New York/New Jersey area and was equally impressed. So was my colleague, Ben Zhang, who took his first crack at the Stinger.
We haven't yet tested the base four-cylinder trim, priced at $32,000. But I just finished enjoying the rear-wheel-drive GT2, which clocked in at about $50,000. Full review coming later, but suffice it say that as much as I was ga-ga over the AWD Stinger, first-impressions aren't everything; the more classically configured RWD GT2 is THE ONE. I just wanted to drive it, and drive it, and then drive it some more, and then have dreams about driving it.
I'm not usually this thorough taken by a car, but the Stinger combines style, value, performance, and versatility is such a brilliant way that all bets are off. Particularly when you consider that you can get the marvelous V6 in basic GT package for an astounding $38,350.
Consequently, I've been doing all manner of running comparisons in my head. For my money, while the Stinger is overtly taking on the entire luxury performance-sedan segment - Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW - the aim is squarely at BMW. Bimmers provide the reference driving dynamics that the Stinger is seeking to emulate.
As it happens, I've driven a bunch of Bimmers. Here's how the Stinger stacks up against as many as I can think of.
First, let me just refresh your impressions of the Stinger, in GT2 AWD trim.
How about the BMW M3?
And what of the M4 convertible?
And what say you of the M2?
How about the tweener M-car — the M240i convertible?
Moving away from the M-cars, how does the Stinger stack up against the 5-Series?
And finally, how does the all-gas Stinger do when matched against the plug-in hybrid 3-Series?
So what's the verdict?
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