Review: Kia Stinger GT Sport 'Neon Orange' edition
KIA STINGER GT SPORT
Base price: $69,990.
Powertrain and performance: 3.3-litre twin turbo-petrol V6, 272kW/510Nm, 8-speed automatic, RWD, Combined economy 8.9 litres per 100km, 239g/km (source: RightCar), 0-100kmh 4.9 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4830mm long, 1400mm high, 2905mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 404-1114 litres, 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 front and 255/35 rear tyres.
We like: Stinger suits loud colour, more interesting exhaust note.
We don't like: New soundtrack costs a lot, not a super-spacious large car.
Kia's extravagantly styled, twin-turbo V6 rear-drive Stinger not loud enough for you? Have we got the model for you: a limited-run "Neon Orange" edition.
So what's new?
Kia New Zealand has rolled out 10 special examples of the flagship Stinger GT Sport, which are easily identifiable by their lurid orange paintwork.
Aside from the loud colour, you get... nothing actually. It's just the colour.
But Kia is taking the opportunity to showcase what other options Stinger owners have for personalisation, so our test car also gets an electronically controlled "bi-modal" exhaust system ($3500 plus fitting), dark-tint windows and a black wrap on the roof.
All are available as accessories from Kia dealers.
Kia New Zealand insists on calling this colour Neon Orange, but in other markets it's called Federation Orange.
While we're on the subject of other markets, don't confuse this car with another special edition in the US that you might have seen or read about.
Kia's American division has cooked up a modified version of the Stinger AWD (ours are solely RWD, by the way) with a more rear-biased drive system that includes a drift mode: hence the name, D-AWD.
The US version comes with black carbon fibre detailing on the exterior and yes, it's finished in Federation Orange.
How does it all come together?
The special orange is a loud colour but then the Stinger is a visually loud car. It's long, low and with lots of fussy detail: very much a matter of taste, but what's undeniable is that it's for people who like to attract attention.
So, orange: why not? It works on a car like this. Show those yellow-Stinger people who's really bold.
The exhaust is a costly piece of kit, but properly integrated into the car. There's an electronic control unit that flicks the pipes into loud-mode depending on drive mode and/or throttle position.
From inside the car it's more deep and throaty then high and raspy, but certainly makes its presence felt.
It's arguably better from outside the car - more character and musicality. Which is unusual these days when many makes are going for a quiet outside and enhanced inside, but like we said - the Stinger is a car for people who like to attract attention.
The big Kia is still a whole lot of fun. Seriously fast (0-100kmh in 4.9sec with launch mode), very obviously RWD in terms of chassis dynamics and actually really good at doing proper oversteer thanks to a limited-slip differential.
It's still not super-practical for a car of its size: the boot is modest and while rear-seat legroom is generous, there's not a lot of footspace under the front seats and you do feel that roof closing in on you.
Kia NZ can't give us prices for the roof wrap or tints at this stage. Judging by the rough edges on the former (orange still visible at the base of the shark-fin antenna) maybe don't bother, although presumably it depends on which company the work is outsourced to in the dealer's area.
Any other cars I should consider?
The obvious one is the Holden Commodore - especially the top VXR version. Stinger fans often cite the Kia as a successor of sorts to the old Australian-made Holden - back when it was RWD. Fair enough.
European reviews also often align the top-end Stinger models with the Audi A5 Sportback or BMW 4-series Gran Coupe. Not as much badge snobbery in that part of the world, obviously.
You can't get a Gran Coupe anywhere near as powerful as the Stinger in NZ (the 430i has 185kW) and the equivalent 280kW S5 Sportback is over $120k. Fuel for thought.