EUROPEAN good looks and twin-turbo power is motivating the Kia Stinger GT to muscle-in on territory once dominated by the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
Arriving in Australia by September this year, the fastback rear-wheel drive 2018 Kia Stinger GT will start from about $40,000 and become the brand's pin-up offering it as goes from strength-to-strength Down Under.
Powered by either a turbocharged four-cylinder or a twin-turbo V6, the latter 272kW burly engine packs more punch than a current model Commodore SV6 (210kW) or a Ford Falcon XR6 (270kW).
The Stinger is 116mm smaller in length than a standard Commodore (124mm compared to a Falcon), 24mm narrower in width (1mm larger than a Falcon), sits 71mm lower (53mm lower than a Falcon) but the wheel base is just 9mm shorter.
Yet apart from the grille, you'd struggle to pick this as a Kia. It looks like something from the European big guns...with comparisons to Porsche, Aston Martin, Audi and BMW. The interior, in particular, looks like something we've seen most recently from Mercedes-Benz.
Having entrenched itself as a top-10 selling marque, the Stinger delivers aspects previously missing from the Kia stable - aspiration and performance.
Taking the wraps off the "grand tourer" ahead of the Detroit motor show today, Kia says its souped-up sedan will haul from standstill to 100kmh in just over five seconds. Expect the smaller four-potter to achieve in the same feat in less than eight.
Tuning and development was undertaken at the legendary Nurburgring circuit, also known as "Green Hell", but the Stinger has been primarily developed for the American market.
Kia's Australian tuning arm will get its hands on the GT to make adjustments to the Korean-factory-made models which will be shipped here.
For the first time on a Kia, the driver will be able to modify the suspension and driving characteristics of the car. Like systems which have become commonplace on premium models, the Dynamic Stability Damping Control will enable a choice between Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart modes which are also matched to shift patterns with the automatic transmission.
There are steering wheel paddles for manual-style control, and V6 models will come with a mechanical limited slip differential.
Entry level offerings will come with 18-inch tyres, but the V6s will gain 19s along with vented Brembo disc brakes featuring quad-piston front calipers and dual-piston at the rear.
Exact specification is yet to be finalised, but expect a wireless smartphone charging pad, full Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker sound system with seven-inch touch-screen, cruise control, with the up-spec versions to have leather trim and heated seats.
The V6 models will come with a nine-speaker system, although Kia Australia is weighing up whether it will make a 15-speaker 720 watt Harman/Kardon system available.
An impressive array of safety equipment will also be available, including:
Driver Attention Alert: Monitors various driver inputs and when detecting drowsiness will sound a warning chime and display a graphic in the instrument binnacle that it's time to take a break.
Forward Collision Assistance with integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking: Including pedestrian detection, it can identify a potential collision with another vehicle or person and help bring the car to a halt.
Advanced Smart Cruise Control: Maintains a set distance between the Stinger and the vehicle in front and can bring the car to a full stop in traffic.
Lane Keep Assist: Alerts the driver with an audible warning along with providing steering input to help maintain the vehicle's position within the lane.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Scans the area behind the vehicle when reversing from a parking space and alerts the driver with an audible warning if traffic is detected.
Head-Up Display: Height-adjustable, it projects the vehicle speed, navigation information, blind spot warnings, along with audio and cruise control settings onto the windscreen (just below the driver's eyeline).
Watch for more coverage from the Detroit motor show this week.
Model: 2018 Kia Stinger GT.
Details: Five-seat four-door front-engine rear-wheel drive.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder generating maximum power of 190kW @ 6200rpm and peak torque of 353Nm @ 1400-4000rpm; 3.3-litre twin turbocharged V6 generating maximum power of 272kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 510Nm @ 1300-4500 rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Performance 0-100kmh: Turbocharged V6 in 5.1 seconds, top speed 269kmh. No data available on the four-cylinder turbo.
Bottom line: Yet to be revealed, expect it to start from about $40,000 up to $50,000.
Dimensions: Length 4831mm, width 1869mm, height 1400mm, wheelbase 2906mm.