Meet the Kia Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan: A Car Designed for How You Drive

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan
Stinger Featured photo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Get Your Grace Kelly On; You’ll Love This!

You know it’s in your DNA, even if it’s not in your inheritance: a sensibility for refined living in which beautiful summer weekends are prepared for with fine linen, double cream brie and chilled rosé. You can spot a phony from a mile away and know in your bones when design has integrity and is well done.

You live that life and seek it in everything thing you do.

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

Who this car is for

  • Singles, couples or small families
  • Buyers who want a luxury car
  • Drivers who value a performance drive experience
  • Buyers who are excited by new technology and design
  • Drivers who love a luxury experience but occasionally want a more thrilling drive experience
  • Buyers who want true luxury at under $50,000
Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

The 2018 Kia Stinger. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Peter Schreyer Gets You. Isn’t it Nice When A Man Understands Your Needs?

I love this man. I’ll just start with that.

But here’s the back story and insight to Kia’s DNA. Peter Schreyer was the head designer for Audi designing some of the most iconic cars on the road, designs that inspire so many others. Look at the profile of just about any elegant car and you’ll see Peter’s vision in action.

Wanting to bring that design integrity to its models, Kia’s parent Hyundai hired Peter to lead design at the two companies. Over the last decade Peter has brought his skill, world class vision and demand for quality to Kia’s products.

Look at any Kia—any one of them. Stand back and look at the profile, the details in the side panels, lights and front grille. Look at the simple, elegant interiors. Feel the seats that cradle you and the nudge of technology that keeps you safe. That’s the vision at work.

See our tour of the Stinger live on Periscope

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

The simple, elegant interior features a touch screen that displays the rear view camera. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Good Enough is Not Good Enough. Great Is the Goal

To us, Peter’s work is great. We love the elegant lines, the introduction of new technology and attention to detail. But for Peter, it wasn’t good enough. He had to have more—like any great designer, great isn’t good enough. Don’t you love that?

He wanted to produce a world class performance car, but not just a car that would perform well on the track. He wanted it to also be the ideal touring car for those of us who live like that. One that would thrill the driver without bruising the brie or wrinkling the linen.

Peter wanted to turn heads and hearts. And so the Stinger was born.

See how Stinger Stacks up against the Alfa Romeo Giulia 

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

Who doesn’t love beautiful hips? The Stinger’s pronounced hips add a bit of sexy swagger. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Dream Team of Car Design? Form Needs Function, After All

Peter could have created the Stinger on his own. But why do this when you can have the architect of some of the best-driving sedans on the planet? He hired away BMW’s top performance architect, Albert Bierman, who went to work engineering the Stinger. The two, with their teams of designers, engineers and product testers produced a car that delights drivers and passengers.

I know. I just spent a few days in this car and I can’t wait to spend more time with it.

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

Premium features include a head up display. Photo: Scotty Reiss

On First Blush, You’re Wowed. Then You Tap the Accelerator

And then, you’re thrilled.

As I write this I must offer apologies to my drive partner, Priscilla Lam. She’s new to test drives so she didn’t know what to expect. But honestly, neither did I. We pulled out of the hotel parking lot, cruised up the street and turned onto the highway on ramp. I let the traffic get get a bit ahead of us and then floored it.

I could hear Priscilla catching her breath and falling in love. And I could feel her grinning. As beautiful and pampering as a car’s looks and details might be, it’s not love unless it takes your breath away when you hit the accelerator.

How does the BMW 530i compare?  See what we thought of  this luxury sedan.

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

A view of the front cabin in the Stinger. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Thinking “But It’s a Kia?” Get Over Yourself

And don’t get hung up on badges. Great design is a statement of its own. It doesn’t need a a badge to validate it. This is something that Peter and his team clearly get and something that luxury brands know well: the integrity of a brand’s badge is not in its prestige, but in its pedigree, which over time builds on quality, design, integrity and excellence. That is the mission of the Stinger, to deepen Kia’s pedigree.

So what is under the skin of the Stinger that adds to this pedigree?

  • Drive experience that stands up to some of the best in the field, including BMW, Porsche, Lexus
  • 365 twin turbo with paddle shifters in the GT V6 model; 260 HP twin turbo in the 4 cylinder model
  • Head up display, a must-have at the cross-section of luxury and performance
  • Comfortable passenger seating front AND back; this is a great road trip car
  • Ample rear hatch cargo space, ideal for lots of shopping or luggage
  • Top safety technology including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, high beam assist, rain sensing wipers, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic/pedestrian warning
  • Apple Car Play/Android Auto
  • All wheel drive is available
  • 5 drive modes including smart, sport, comfort, eco, custom and
  • Starting price: $31,900; fully loaded: $49,200

What I loved

In our short test drive there were a few things I really loved. First of course, was the attention to detail. The leather wrapped everything, the neatly designed cabin, Apple Car Play. Yes, I know designers can’t take credit for that, but I give them credit for including it and not trying to reinvent something that I already love.

The seats were comfortable for a long ride, but also hugged me enough for the short but challenging auto cross course where we tested the Stinger’s mettle. The Stinger was solid-footed, fast and hugged every curve.

You can see how it held the curves on this course and how it also responded when professional driver Kyle Mohan put it to the drifting test.

Welcome to the Luxury Box, Stinger

Stinger Luxury Performance Sedan

The Stinger’s ‘hips’ and a classic California landscape in our rear view. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This is a worthy luxury car and I think it’ll do well, especially with buyers who are not afraid to step out of their luxury comfort zone and try something new. I for one, can’t wait to spend more time with this car and really see the life that Peter Schreyer and his team think I should be living.

Stinger isn’t Kia’s first luxury sedan; we also really loved the Cadenza.

What we listened to in the Kia Stinger

Beautiful, toned and fun, this luxury car inspired us to start our drive with rich toned tunes, and crank up the sound with adrenaline-inducing riffs when we hit curvy stretches of highway.

Stinger Luxury Performance SedanDisclosure: I was Kia’s guest for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided, however all opinions are my own.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss