The Kia Stinger GT Carbon Edition is, as you might have guessed, a special version of the Korean company’s giant-killing sport sedan.
The Stinger is, as you already know, an awesome car. It is also criminally under-bought despite its critical acclaim and general buzz. You can safely ignore those who say it is overrated – it isn’t.
Because sales aren’t going as well as they should, Kia regularly pops out special editions like the Carbon Edition, but it’s important that you know that the specialness is limited to cosmetic bits. There is no point in touching the base car. It’s that good.
How much is a Kia Stinger GT and what do I get?
2020 Stinger GT: $60,990 + ORC (July 2020)
Stinger GT Carbon Edition: $64,990 (May 2019)
Although I tested the Carbon, let’s just talk about the standard Stinger GT. You get 19-inch alloys, active cruise control, dual-zone climate control, front, side and reversing cameras, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, auto parking, sat nav, auto LED active headlights, head-up display, auto wipers, launch control, Nappa leather seats, power everything, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, wireless charging pad and a space-saver spare.
The 15-speaker stereo system (with two sick subs, bro) is run off Kia’s quite alright touchscreen and software shared with Hyundai and has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a built-in sat nav.
Safety – 5 Stars (ANCAP, May 2018)
The Stinger is stacked with safety stuff, with seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, forward collision warning, forward AEB (high and low speed), lane keep assist, blind-spot detection and reverse cross traffic alert.
You also get three top-tether and two ISOFIX points.
Warranty and Servicing
Kia loads up with a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with a seven year capped-price servicing program. Or more accurately, a seven service capped-price program.
I say that because, sadly, the distance between services is only 10,000km but with a 12 month time period if you’re not much of a driver.
Total cost of the seven services is $4068 with an average of $581 per service. That’s not cheap, but try a German car with this kind of performance…
Keep servicing with Kia and the initial 12 months roadside assist is extended by a year.
Look and feel
This is a fine-looking machine. Just the right balance of short front overhang, long tail, big wheels and subtle detailing. The bonnet vents are finished in carbon on the Carbon Edition but always look good no matter what. There’s a lot of Audi A7 in it, but with distinct Kia parts to ensure folks know what they’re looking it. The lovely fastback/four-door coupe look is a firm favourite of mine and the Stinger is lovely.
This is one of Kia’s best interiors by far. The chunky front seats put you in front of a simple, straightforward and clear dashboard, with an Alcantara-trimmed wheel in the Carbon Edition.
There’s plenty of legroom in the back and you could squeeze a third person in, but if you’re tall, headroom isn’t abundant in the Stinger. But perfectly liveable.
The cabin isn’t avant-garde but has lots of classic influences from sports cars over the years and just works really well, with plenty of storage in the cabin and in the 406 litre boot.
A proper mechanical limited-slip differential looks after the fun end of the transmission, promising plenty of fun.
The front brakes, using four-piston Brembo calipers measure 340mm 250mm while the twin-piston rears grab 340mm discs.
Suspensions by MacPherson strut front and a five-link rear end. The GT has big aluminium bracing bars either side of the engine as well as thicker anti-roll bars.
Rubber comes from Michelin, with 225/40 fronts and 255/30 at the rear.
And a lot of Nurburgring laps underneath development cars.
Hyundai-Kia’s 3.3-litre twin-turbo Lambda II engine delivers 272kW and 510Nm. That second figure is pretty impressive although the first isn’t bad either.
Power goes to the rear wheels only via Kia’s own eight-speed automatic. What a beast.
The Stinger GT is like an old friend to me. Not just because I’ve driven it before but because it feels like another car I used to own. And that car, oddly enough, was a BMW 330d M Sport.
This is absolutely a massive compliment – that was a brilliant car, with similar torque and performance figures and, of course, rear-wheel drive.
But it goes much further than that. The Stinger feels absolutely bolted into the tarmac, with stacks of grip on offer. The steering is weighty and talkative enough for you to know what’s going on underneath the front wheels.
Turning in to a fast bend or tight corner, the car responds from the front end, letting you work out what you want to do with the rear, which has a limited-slip diff for shenanigans if you want them. With the nannies on, you punch out of corners with a fun wiggle as the tyres try to transfer the twist to the road.
Without the nannies, any angle you please is available but, obviously, at your own risk, so keep that for the track, kids.
The different modes deliver a properly distinct experience, too. In Sport, it’s still an excellent, comfortable rider that should keep everyone happy. But in Comfort, you’ve still got a good throttle and transmission response.
Well, on the transmission, there’s a bit of an issue. Sometimes it wants to go its own way. That’s easy fixed with a paddle pull, but sometimes it’s reluctant to go where you might expect and needs a prod. But it’s minor and never bothered me unduly.
The Stinger GT really is amazing. In a world full of SUVs, a sporty sedan with great looks and an unbeatable price is a welcome addition to our roads. It’s a massive amount of fun and with factory-approved mods for the exhaust, can be even more engaging.
And at the same time, it does family car things with plenty of flair and is entirely unintimidating. Everyone I know who has one adores it. I’m pretty sure you will too.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.