*Well, not here, but only in South Africa. And only 30 are being built. Boo
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The high-performance Kia Stinger is the creation of Albert Biermann - the company’s head of vehicle test and performance development. Below he shares his thoughts for the Stinger as it finally meets the world.
The Stinger is an exciting departure for KIA - when was the idea for the car originally conceived?
This question was the foundation for a years-long journey that began when the GT concept was first unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Although every Kia design study has a purpose, the GT concept was something considered by many outside the company as little more than a dream for a brand known for producing mass-market transportation rooted in value. But the GT ignited embers of passion that sparked a fire within the organization and over the next five years that fire would grow beyond fantasy and morph into reality.
How would you describe the philosophy behind the car?
We want enthusiastic drivers to be able to enjoy the thrill of driving their Stinger in all conditions without compromising on safety and comfort even on long and challenging drives - in short: the legendary GT driving experience. We are confident that the Stinger will deliver on our promise of the true GT experience, in appearance and also driving.
Are there any cars from the past that were the inspiration behind the KIA Stinger?
Our chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, and our chief designer in Europe, Gregory Guillaume, were inspired by the iconic 1970s “gran turismo”, or GT, cars that whisked passengers from Paris to the south of France in effortless style and at high speed.
How would you describe the motoring niche that the KIA Stinger operates in?
The Stinger is not just another luxury sedan with a very powerful engine. Basically, it is a rear-drive, five-passenger fastback sports sedan but almost on a high-performance level and with a very smart packaging concept. The mission of our Kia Stinger is to become an everyday dream car, combining power, practicality and extremely appealing styling for long-distance GT driving. Confidently, we want to make this car the most exciting and thrilling Kia machine ever. Yes, the Kia Stinger is a whole different animal. I believe the Kia Stinger has the potential to be a one-of-a-kind and game-changing new frontier in the markets.
The car was launched and tested at the famous Nurburgring in Germany - what were the reasons behind that? The Nordschleife has 73 corners and a 300-metre elevation change in the course of one lap. Engineers are able to test cars under hard acceleration and braking, heavy cornering, and at high speeds. It emulates the full working life of a vehicle in just 10,000 km - this high-intensity testing makes the Nürburgring the ideal place to validate a car’s quality and reliability. For the Stinger, it also provides us with a unique environment to test ride and handling, engine and overall performance on the most challenging race track in the world.