Kia’s new top-shelf performance car emerges
Kia zigged when every other car maker zagged. In the era of the demise of the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore large cars, Kia launched the big Stinger sedan. The combination of V6 twin-turbo power, all the gear you'd ever need and an affordable price tag won over some Aussie V8 fans. And now it has a new range-topping special edition. Here is everything you need to know about the Kia Stinger Carbon Edition.
This is the most expensive Kia you can buy.
Like the Nissan GT-R's incongruous presence alongside X-Trail and Qashqai crossovers in Nissan showrooms, the Stinger is unlike any other Kia. It's the brand's sole performance car, the only model driving the rear wheels, and a stand-alone alternative to premium brands.
Sold as a rival to the likes of Audi and BMW overseas, the Stinger is not a discount proposition. Powerful V6 models start at $53,690 drive-away, but the range-topping Carbon Edition shown here adds almost $15,000 to the bill.
It costs more than BMW's 3-Series sedan, though European alternatives won't match its features or punch for this price. Servicing isn't cheap (some annual visits cost about $800), but Kia's seven-year warranty brings peace of mind.
You get a lot of car for your cash
As the top model in Kia's range, the Stinger GT is loaded with a full suite of safety gear including active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance and a 360-degree parking camera with front and rear sensors. You get a modest touchscreen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, heated and cooled leather seats, a head-up display, 15-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo and more.
The Carbon Edition adds motorsport-inspired touches such as an Alcantara-clad steering wheel similar to what you'll find on a range-topping Porsche, plus genuine carbon fibre trim for the grille, mirrors, side and bonnet vents, and rear diffuser. That's not bad for a premium of about $4000, taking the Carbon Edition to a regular retail price of $64,990 plus on road costs, or $68,190 drive-away with current offers.
It's also the fastest Kia
Claiming the "fastest Kia" title is like being the tallest of Snow White's seven dwarves.
But the Stinger GT is genuinely quick, able to reach 100km/h in less than five seconds thanks to a twin-turbo V6 producing impressive 272kW and 510Nm figures.
You also get big red Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential - the sort of kit Ford once offered on the V8-powered Falcon GT. Fans of Aussie performance sedans will like its tail-happy attitude, though it doesn't quite match the poise of the best homegrown efforts.
Then again, few cars can match its pace for the money.
But it isn't the fastest-selling
Introduced back in 2017, the Stinger's main mission was lift the brand's overall appeal - just like Hyundai's i30N or Honda's Civic Type R.
It hasn't been a resounding sales success, and environmental pressures might make it hard to justify a follow-up act with a similarly powerful V6 engine.
Recruited for duty with Queensland and Northern Territory highway patrol, the Stinger also has a cult following among thinking enthusiasts, if not the wider community.
Special editions usually mean changes are coming
Stinger customers who want to spend a little less can go for a new "Night Sky" version which combines dark exterior hues with light grey leather and a sports exhaust for $1000 less than the Carbon Edition. The presence of these models suggests the current Stinger is in run-out mode, with a facelifted version bringing updated looks and smarter electronics rumoured to be just around the corner.
Kia Stinger GT Carbon Edition
Price: From $68,190 drive-away
Engine: 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, 272kW/510Nm
Warranty/Service: 7 years, unlimited km / $4068 for 7 years
Safety: 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist and more
Cargo: 406 litres
Originally published as Kia's new top-shelf performance car