Kia isn't the first name you'd think of for a sports sedan. It might actually be the last name. The company is well known for its crossovers and economy cars, for long warranties and low prices. But it's not known for taking on cars from BMW or Mercedes. It's not known for luxury. It's not known as a company for car enthusiasts.
The Stinger aims to change that.
As part of a major investment over the past few years, Kia (and parent company Hyundai) has played Supermarket Sweep with top executives from all the premium German automakers. One of the biggest names that they wooed away would have to be Albert Biermann, a man with a dull-sounding name who is able to create some truly outstanding cars.
Before Kia, Biermann was head of BMW M. Yes, that BMW M. And he was there for 32 years, working on some of its most renowned and celebrated cars. It's that touch that makes the Kia Stinger such a delight.
The thing about the Stinger is that it doesn't really have one standout attribute. The steering is good, but not great. Same with the brakes and how it handles. The engine, the company's ubiquitous 3.3 liter turbo V6 with 365 horsepower, is nothing to write home about.
On paper, it's just a sedan that looks like a BMW, an Audi, and a parrot fish got together one night. But all those ingredients work in harmony to create one of the most fun cars in its class. It's good enough that it doesn't need to be looked at as a value proposition, which is good because the Stinger GT can cost more than $50,000.
It's refreshing to see a company enter the segment with a car that actually has the chops to compete against a BMW 3-series and doesn't need to rely on an overwrought ad campaign in a vain attempt to prove that they too can build a competent car.
Kia's has proven that if you invest in the right people and areas, an automaker can still make something special. That's what this is.