2019 Kia Stinger GTS Quick Take Review: A Limited Edition, Bright Orange Drift Machine

And yet it's still a practical choice

2019 Kia Stinger GTS
Special Edition Kia Stinger GTS AWD limited to 800 units

After doing a comprehensive review of the Genesis G70 earlier this year, we wanted to go back and reacquaint ourselves with its Asian cousin, the Kia Stinger. Here are five things about this special model, the Stinger GTS, that stood out for us after a quick drive.

You don’t know what you’re missing

Priced at a reasonable $38,350, the 2019 Stinger GT is a value proposition few will acknowledge – especially when compared against its luxury counterparts from Germany and Japan. Rear-wheel drive, fleet-footed speed, and one of the best handling sport sedans to break away from mediocre performance established by others not willing to take chances. The Stinger carries a paradigm that has earned high praise by industry professionals.

Eddie Rayyan, Head of Product Strategy at Kia, readily admits, “We had to develop a true gran turismo without compromise to earn the respect necessary to compete against the world’s best vehicles.” He goes on: “Stinger was the most challenging product we’ve created and is a defining moment for Kia.”

Fastback, liftback, or is it a hatchback?

Instead of a traditional trunk, Kia designers went for a sloped roofline and more functional hatchback cargo area. Sleek and powerful, the Stinger is a collaboration by world-renowned designers Peter Schreyer and Gregory Guillame, with a vigorous dose of input from Albert Biermann (Kia’s Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development). Inspired by the stylish and athletic gran turismo rides of the 1970s, the design team found the right balance and proportions to shape the Stinger’s silhouette.

The low height and long wheelbase achieve aerodynamic slipperiness, and the rear deck serves as a wing that reduces drag and emphasizes airflow. Add a broad stance, and the sleek fastback strikes the right balance between sophisticated luxury and high-powered performance—characteristics of a true sports sedan.

Power to the wheels

A 365 horsepower twin-turbo V6 delivers the goods in Speedy Gonzalez fashion. The power is governed by an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. Get the Stinger GTS with a newly developed dynamic all-wheel drive system (D-AWD), and thrust gets properly distributed for some amazing traction. Our unofficial 0-60 time was a quick 4.6 seconds—a tenth of a second faster than Kia’s official time. Send it on a twisty mountain road, and the Stinger carves up the turns like a freshly honed Ginsu knife.

It even has a drift mode, for when you really want to just cut loose.

Stylish and spacious

The Kia Stinger can carry a set of passengers without the claustrophobic feeling and still has plenty of cargo space, so nothing is left behind. Passenger room, at 96 cubic feet, is on par with a Porsche Panamera. However, the German hatchback’s 17 cubic feet of cargo space pales in comparison to the Stinger’s 23. The BMW 340i, Audi S5 Sportback and Lexus GS 350 also come up short when comparing dimensions. Thus, doing double duty as a daily driver and as a posh grand tourer is easy-peezy.

Infotainment system 

The Stinger comes standard with the UVO infotainment system, which has a modern-looking interface that is easy to use. The standard infotainment package includes a 7-inch touchscreen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Our limited edition Stinger GTS test car had the available 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, and 720-watt Harmon Kardon premium audio system. I like how the UVO infotainment system is easier to use than the confounded infotainment systems found in today’s luxury cars. The logical arrangement of the apps and redundant buttons within easy reach let drivers control functions with minimal distraction.

Photo credit: Norman Woo

2019 Kia Stinger GTS AWD Specs

Price as testedN/A
Engine3.3L twin turbo V6
Power (hp)365 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)376 @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
Transmission8-speed automatic
0 – 60 mph4.7 seconds
Top track speed167 mph
Drivetrain layoutfront engine / all-wheel-drive
Curb weight4,023 lbs
EPA-estimated fuel economy17 / 25/ 20 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Wheelbase114.4 inches
Length x width x height190.2 x 73.6 x 55.1 in.
Passenger capacity93.8 cu. ft.
Cargo capacity23.3 cu. ft.