“Kia” and “Exciting” don’t usually go together, but the new Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo is a massive signal of intent from the Korean brand. It’s their first ever four-door sports car. And for a brand that once produced budget cars, it’s not a bad attempt.
In fact, it’s a lot more than that. The Stinger looks fly with its muscular, aggressive looks, while its range-topping GT-S model is a powerhouse that develops 365bhp. All models can more than hold their own with established rivals, and there’s plenty to be excited about here for buyers who want something different.
Founded in 1944, Kia has an interesting history. Read our brief history of Kia.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo review.
Overview of the Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo
On the Road
Kia have always been known as a brand that produces sensible, affordable cars. While the Stinger is fairly affordable, it goes a long way to shaking off the brand’s sensible tag. This is a racy car that’s hugely accomplished on the road.
All models benefit from a rear-wheel-drive layout, as well as limited slip differential. This is a handy feature that arms the car with more grip in bends. As a result, the Stinger is remarkably agile for such a big car.
All models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission, too. If you want to make manual changes, paddles behind the steering wheel allow you to do so.
The GT-S model meanwhile, comes with adaptive dampers as part of its standard kit. Keep to Comfort mode and ride quality is decent. Switch to Sport or Sport+ model and it feels noticeably firmer but it never becomes too uncomfortable.
That said, this Diesel variant doesn’t come with adaptive dampers.
Speaking of its engines, there’s just the one diesel on offer. It’s a 2.2-litre unit that develops 197bhp, and which has a 0-62 time of 7.3 seconds. That’s not as blistering as the petrol-powered GT-S variant but it’s performative and economical. It also works well on the motorway and copes with the car on a full load.
The car handles sharply and its steering is well-weighted. As such, you’ve always got plenty of confidence to take corners with pace, with the limited slip differential enabling you to drive with greater precision.
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Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo Interior, Design and Build
The Stinger’s interior is modern and smart – but it’s not as exciting as its exterior.
This is a real shame in some ways, but it’s hard to argue with what’s on display here. The cabin is smartly finished and it’s neat and tidy. It’s not super stylish but it’s comfortable and a great place to spend your time on the road. For a lot of buyers, that will be all that matters.
Moreover, it’s easy to use, with a logical infotainment system in place and buttons that are well located.
The leather-clad seats aren’t quite as comfortable as they look (but they look great), while insulation is decent. Wind and road noise are well suppressed, but the diesel can get a tad noisy at speed.
Is the Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo practical? It’s a large, spacious car, and those upfront have plenty of room to get comfortable. Entry-level models come with 8-way adjustable memory front seats, while the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach.
Legroom is decent in the rear, although the coupe roofline means that rear headroom is a bit more limited.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 406-litres. That sounds reasonable in isolation but rivals can offer significantly bigger boots. The model misses out on folding 60:40 seats and a powered tailgate.
Equipment and Safety of the Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo
The GT-Line sits at the bottom of the range and it comes with 18” alloys, limited slip differential, a head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, Bluetooth, an 8” touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat-nav, a 9” speaker sound system, and heated leather seats. It’s superbly kitted out for an entry-level model.
The GT-Line S nets you LED headlights, heated outer rear seats, a powered tailgate, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 15 speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
Rounding things off is a GT-S model that comes with stronger brakes, Nappa leather upholstery, 19” alloys and adaptive dampers.
In terms of how safe the car is, Euro NCAP awarded it all five stars for its crash test performance.
Standard safety kit is good, with the entry-level model coming with speed-limit warnings, driver fatigue warning, lane keeping assistance and emergency braking. Rear cross-traffic alerts and blind spot monitoring are available with higher spec models.
Costs of the Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo
Prices for the new car start out from £31,995 and rise to £40,495. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the sole diesel engine is able to return as much as 50.4mpg economy on a good day. That seems decent in isolation, but as we’ll see below its rivals are a lot more economical.
Emissions, meanwhile, are pegged at 147g/km of CO2.
The Kia isn’t cheap to insure either. The lowest insurance group it sits in is 36 out of 50.
Pros and Cons of the Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo
It’s always reassuring when a sports car has a 5-star safety rating, and its standard safety kit is very good too.
Well kitted out
The amount of standard equipment available for the entry-level model is nothing short of superb.
The Stinger well and truly lives up to its racy name and there’s plenty of performance on offer.
Expensive to run
Rivals are significantly cheaper to run and the Stinger is by far the most expensive Kia to keep on the road.
Few will see this coming as the car’s exterior raises expectations.
Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs Volkswagen Arteon
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo review.
Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
The new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is another stylish and highly desirable car from the German brand.
There’s plenty of power on offer here, no matter which engine you go for, and although it’s a fairly heavy car it handles well. Four-wheel-drive is available, and while it isn’t the most entertaining BMW ever, it works brilliantly as a cruiser.
BMW have made an effort to improve handling by adding suspension components, but there’s not much to separate it from the Kia on this front.
In terms of its engines, a 2.0-litre turbo diesel sits at the bottom of the range. It develops 148bhp if you go for the 418d model it feels quick enough.
A 420d model is powered by a bigger variant of the same engine, while a 3.0-litre turbo diesel that develops 309bhp powers the 435d model. This is a sporty saloon that feels super fast, but we reckon most buyers will prefer the comfort and refinement of the smaller models.
Running costs? The 420d model manages returns of 58.9mpg economy on a good day and emits just 125g/km of CO2. That’s not half bad, while the range-topping 435d model is good for returns of 45.6mpg at best. Emissions are pegged at 163g/km of CO2.
Inside, BMW have once again put together a high-quality interior that’s comfortable and refined. The ride is smooth, the dashboard is logically arranged and the quality of the materials used is top notch.
It’s not all that exciting but it’s sophisticated, and that might give it the edge over the Kia.
Is the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe practical? It’s bigger than the standard 4 Series Coupe on which it’s based, and access to the rear seats is easy. Headroom is good thanks to an increase in the roof height, while we can’t see anyone complaining about the amount of legroom on offer.
The rear middle seat is best suited for kids, however, which means the BMW is more of a four-seater than a five. The boot meanwhile, is bigger than the Stinger and measures 480-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,300-litres.
Kia – £31,995 – £40,495
BMW – £33,985 – £48,655
Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo vs Volkswagen Arteon
The new Volkswagen Arteon is a large, commanding saloon that impresses on lots of fronts.
It doesn’t look like it would be very agile on twisting roads, and the truth is that it isn’t. It’s sharp to a degree, but it works better as a comfortable, refined and assured cruiser. Its steering is a tad too numb for our liking, but if you add the optional adaptive dampers you’ll also benefit from a Sport mode.
Drivers will probably prefer the Comfort mode most of the time, however. It’s the best for ride quality and it suits this car’s character well.
In terms of its engines, a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel that develops 148bhp is a good fit for the car. It has a 0-62 time of 9.4 seconds and has lots of pulling power in its tank.
The same engine is also available with 187bhp. This variant has a 0-62 time of just 7.8 seconds if you specify four-wheel-drive but it isn’t the fastest diesel in the range. If you want the fastest, you’ll need to go for the 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged power plant that produces 237bhp of whack. 0-62 is taken care of in 6.5 seconds and four-wheel-drive is standard.
Running costs? The 148bhp is unsurprisingly the most frugal, and it can return as much as 65.7mpg on a good day while emitting just 112g/km of CO2. For such a big car, these are extremely good numbers.
The 237bhp diesel meanwhile, manages returns of 47.9mpg at best and emits 152g/km of CO2.
Inside, it’s hard to find fault with the Arteon. It looks traditional, which means it’s not massively exciting, but it also looks and feels so premium that it’s easy to fall in love with it. Comfort is on another level and insulation is also excellent.
The overall design is reminiscent of the Passat, while the dashboard is tasteful and neatly arranged. All models come with a 9.2” infotainment system, which comes with sat nav and colour mapping.
Is the Volkswagen Arteon practical? It’s a lot bigger than its predecessor and a lengthy wheelbase means that it accommodates families very well. It doesn’t matter where you sit – front or back – there’s lots of room on offer, and this includes head, leg and shoulder room.
The boot meanwhile, blows the Stinger out of the water and measures 563-litres. That makes it one of the biggest in this class, and as a bonus, it comes with a hatchback tailgate. It doesn’t, however, come with folding seats.
Volkswagen – £32,535 – £40,305
Verdict of our 2018 Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo Review
A Kia sports car that can more than hold its own with a BMW! Who’d have thought it? The very idea might leave you flabbergasted, but the car itself will leave you impressed and thoroughly satisfied. The new Kia Stinger Diesel Gran Turismo is great to look at, great to drive and absolutely ideal if you want to step away from established rivals.
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