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Kia Stinger GT S
3.3-litre V6 turbo
Claimed MPG:
26.6mpg, 225g/km CO2
0-62 in 4.9s, 168mph
£40,535/£41,180 as tested

I’d been driving the Bugatti Chiron (clang) half the morning. A leisurely lunch with Andy Wallace (doubleclang) and then I departed Molsheim, on the far side of France, at 3pm. I still wanted to avoid an all-autoroute trip. So I sent the Kia off up the same hilly roads where I’d taken the Bugatti. There’s a sentence you never thought you’d read.

But I still enjoyed myself. It’s not a hardcore sportster, but it’s got a swift gait and a real connection with its driver.

They say the Stinger is a grand tourer, so that sort of work should be in its repertoire. So should the A-roads leading to the autoroute. And then a slog back to Calais.

The big V6 just lopes along on motorways, seemingly dozing when complying with France’s customary 130kph-plus-6 on the speedo. But each time a blocking lorry returns to the inside lane, a stretch of my foot will bring the 370 horses springing to vivid life.

Cranking up the stereo drowns the audible signals of speed, so I use the radar cruise control’s discipline. But I don’t want my steering skills to atrophy, so mostly the lane-keeping steering assistance stays off. It’s not buried in some menu but has its own actual on-off button. It’s become my habit always to activate it when I’m looking at traffic on the nav or searching for music or otherwise fiddling with 2018’s driver distractions. Mind you, if there’s 4G signal, the Stinger lets me do much of that by CarPlay’s Siri.

After the last tollgate, the A26 always goes quiet. It was dark by now, the LED headlights are strong, and I admit to the possibility I might have briefly chewed off a bigger proportion of the Stinger’s speed potential. It felt entirely happy.

Dover to London was in the small hours and I figured I’d take all the help I could get. With all the driver aids activated, I put the past 18 hours on mental repeat, etching them into my memory for good.

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