Hot or Not: 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 Aims for the European Elite, But Does It Hit the Mark? [Video]

Just how fast and fun is the $52,300 2018 Kia Stinger GT2?

When most people think about performance sedans, their minds immediately go to straight to the Europeans. Whether it’s Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Porsche, these are the sports sedans that set the benchmark for the rest of the world. Sure, the Japanese brands have taken swings at the German elite, such as Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus…but Kia? For many people, that’s coming out of left field. It’s something that, up until this point, you just didn’t expect, yet here it is. The all-wheel drive 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 is here.

Packing 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque from a 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, this Kia has some real performance chops, at least on paper. All that power is fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission. As a driver, you have a choice of five drive modes, as well. There’s “Smart”, which monitors your driving style and switches between Eco, Comfort and Sport Modes. Then there’s Eco, Comfort – the default setting – and Sport, for sharper throttle response, steering, and shift points. Finally, there’s Custom, which allows you to fine tune the driving parameters to your own liking. That’s all encouraging for what is, no doubt, a good-looking sportback. But just how well does the Stinger dance the sport sedan dance? To find out, we test the Kia on ice and on the track, in the hands of our pro racing driver, Paul Gerrard.

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD
The 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 aims squarely at the heart of the European-dominated sports sedan market. [Photo: Kia]

How does it perform on the track?

With all the options ticked, the 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 weighs in just over 4,000 pounds. Bearing that in mind, it doesn’t set a scorching lap time around the track, in the vein of some lighter cars Paul has tested. He also took issue with the Stinger’s front brake bias, which exacerbates understeer while you’re under hard braking. In fact, the car hesitates to turn when and where you want it to until you release the brakes.

Despite that, the 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 laid down a 1:05.67 lap time, just behind the Jaguar F-Type R and ahead of the Mercedes-AMG E43 and the Volkswagen Golf R. That’s a respectable lap time, and from the looks of our Stinger testing outside Crested Butte, Colorado, the car’s mightily fun to slide around on the snow as well. Then again, what 350+ horsepower, all-wheel drive sports sedan wouldn’t be? At $52,300 for an all-wheel drive GT2 model, the Stinger packs value to put it in contention against its European competition.

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