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2018 Kia Stinger Review – Long-Term (UK) – Update 2

Paul Horrell continues his long-term test of the Kia Stinger with a drive from Blighty to France to drive the Bugatti Chiron.

What are we testing? The 2018 Kia Stinger GTS (European spec)

Who’s running it? Paul Horrell

Why are we testing it? To find out how a Korean performance saloon goes down in the home of European performance saloons.

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What does it needs to do? Here in London England, the roads are clogged with premium German metal, with a smattering of Jags and Alfa Giuliettas too. Can a Kia hold its head up – both in driver appeal on quick European roads, and in the public vote? Oh and how much of a pain in the wallet is a 3.3-litre V6 car weighing 1855kg, in the land of the AUS$2.70 litre of unleaded.

2018 Kia Stinger GTS Specifications (UK)

Price $59,990+ORC Warranty seven years, unlimited kilometres Safety Five Star ANCAP Engine 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol Power 272kW at 6000rpm Torque 510Nm at 1300-4500rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive rear-wheel Dimensions 4830mm (L) 1870mm (W exc mirrors) 1400mm (H) 2905mm (WB) Weight 1855kg Turning Circle 11.2m Spare Temporary Spare Boot Space 406-1114L Fuel Tank 60L Thirst 10.2L/100km

Gregory Guillaume is the Kia designer mostly credited with the Stinger. He’s European and loves the old European GTs such as the Maserati Mistrale or Lamborghini Espada. That’s how he talks of the Stinger. A car for covering epic trans-continental trips, rather than going round in circles on racetracks.

I tried it, and he’s right.

Paul Horrell continues his long-term test of the Kia Stinger with a drive from Blighty to France to drive the Bugatti Chiron.

My place in London to Strasbourg, on the opposite side of France, is 730km on the road, plus a one-and-a-half hour ferry crossing. I was there soon after lunch. OK, I’d started early in the morning.

Coming home the next afternoon, I took a longer way round. I had spent the morning going up some seriously interesting mountain roads in the Bugatti Chiron. I figured it’d be interesting trying the Kia in the same place.

Paul Horrell continues his long-term test of the Kia Stinger with a drive from Blighty to France to drive the Bugatti Chiron.

It was good. But not great. Because it’s not a hardcore sports car. So I found myself wishing for snappier responses from the engine – quicker answers, not simply more power because there’s plenty of that when the boost kicks in. The body movements felt a bit heavy around hairpins and on really undulating sections.

But that’s being picky. As its designer says, it’s not a sports car. It was still major amounts of fun. If not, y’know, quite as much fun as an 1100kW supercar.

And then the roads opened out, and I was glad of the V6 Stinger’s overtaking punch to get past trucks. Finally after a bout of those big single-carriageways, I was back on the autoroutes.

The Stinger sat like a peach on them. French drivers cruise at 135km/h, plus or minus. It’s just so relaxed in this car. I used the radar cruise control to stop myself from doing more.

Paul Horrell continues his long-term test of the Kia Stinger with a drive from Blighty to France to drive the Bugatti Chiron.

The lane-assist system can the car neatly between the dots, but I like to keep my skills in practice. That said, if I’m fiddling with the infotainment, I do turn it on. There you are. Using driver assistance only as a bulwark against driver distraction. Zero-sum game.

Just as the French highway gets to the English Channel, there’s a very flat empty stretch. Generally if the French cops are going to pull you for speeding they do it at the toll booths. This section is after the last toll booth. I might have exceeded 130km/h. Not for long. But not by a small margin.


Paul Horrell

Paul Horrell

Paul's working life has been paced out in cars. He began road-testing when the VW Golf was in its second generation. It's now in its eighth. He covers much more than the tyre-smoking part of the road-test landscape. He roots around in the financial machinations of the car corporations and the apparent voodoo of the technologies. Then he clarifies those complications so his general readers – too busy to lodge their heads up the industry's nether regions – get the fast track on what matters and what doesn't. A freelance writer living in London, he usually gets around the city by bicycle, which adds to his (sometimes justified) reputation as a bit green and a bit of a lefty. He's a member of Europe's Car of the Year jury.