The son of seven-time world champion Michael is edging closer to an F1 drive
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£33,340 when new
Ah, the Stingers people might actually buy… A firm but fair summary. If you’re a boot-badge spotter you’ll seldom notice among the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupes on the road, few are 440i, most are 420i and 420d. It’ll be the same sort of mix with the Stinger. What’s the difference between the fours and the V6? The 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, which Kia launched first and which we greatly like, makes 370bhp, though to be honest it doesn’t feel like it because the whole car’s a bit weighty. The petrol turbo 2.0-litre is 255bhp, and the diesel turbo 2.2-litre is 200bhp. The 0-62 staircase goes like this: 5.1sec, 6.0 sec and 7.7sec. All are RWD and have an eight-speed auto. Numbers shmumbers. How do they actually feel?
Petrol 2.0 first. It might be a poor relation to the V6, but it’s far from destitute. In fact the engine has quite a zingy, revvy character, and still feels decently lively. The autobox doesn’t help a lot. In eco and comfort modes it does its best to muzzle the life out of the engine. Under lightish throttle it changes up well below 2,000rpm, eliciting a dieselly rumble through the bulkhead. But you needn’t put up with that. Use more throttle, or switch to sport mode, or keep active with the paddles. Then you can bend it to your will. At least until it shifts up of its own volition: this isn’t a true manual mode. It also defaults to auto after a few seconds when you don’t shift. Boo. Into its stride, the engine doesn’t lag much, and stays reasonably smooth as the revs climb towards the red. Still fun to steer? Yup. The basics carried over from the V6 are all in place – a superb, low driving position, progressive steering and a well-balanced RWD approach to bends. It does feel a little lighter and more agile than the big-engined one. The ride is taut, even with the damping in the comfort position, but not too sharp-edged. And the diesel? It’s a decent installation of a fairly undistinguished engine. You’ll more likely leave shift choice up to the transmission’s brain. So there’s less involvement than the petrol. There’s a fair bit less outright performance too, though if you stick at middle revs the diesel feels as strong as the petrol, and the transmission’s auto shift strategy does the diesel that favour. But there’s never fun from this powerplant, whereas the four-cylinder petrol can make you smile at times, and the V6 often. So the diesel will be the seller as a company car because it looks slinky and swerves CO2 tax? Actually, no. The CO2 is 154g/km. By contrast an Audi A5 with 190bhp and an auto is just 112g/km. That gap is bound to be a deal-breaker for most people on company-car schemes. The petrol has similar CO2 trouble. It’s 190g/km, while a BMW 430i Gran Coupe auto is 136g/km even on big wheels. And even though these represent dyno figures, we know that the V6 Stinger is a massive quaffer real-world, so it’s reasonable to think the 2.0 will hover around late-20s mpg in regular use. And the rest? Yup, they still have the Stinger’s surprisingly roomy cabin, the generosity of equipment, all controlled by lots of traditional switches rather than a baffling set of screen menus. So who are they for? Private buyers who are sensitive to the sticker price, and fancy the Stinger’s extroversion. They’ll have fun in the 2.0 petrol. The diesel is a smart-looking caravan tug. Pictured: 2.2-litre diesel
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