Freedom of Choice: Kia's Stinger GTS Is Whatever Its Owner Wants It to Be

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
freedom of choice kias stinger gts is whatever its owner wants it to be

It’s strange how, after an automaker goes to the trouble of building a car aimed at the perpetually cranky enthusiast crowd, you can sometimes forget the vehicle exists. That’s the case with the Kia Stinger. Introduced in 2017, the liftback sedan — offered in turbo four-cylinder and V6 guise, rear- or all-wheel drive — still eludes some minds when thinking of modern sport sedans.

Well, Kia doesn’t want you to forget. To sucker-punch consumers back into coherence, the Korean brand brought a new, limited edition variant of the Stinger to the New York Auto Show, and the changes are more than paint deep.

Dipped in a retina-searing orange lacquer and peppered with carbon fiber trim pieces, the Stinger GTS implores you to look underneath. There, you’ll find an upgraded version of the model’s all-wheel drive system.

Developed by former BMW M boss and current Hyundai R&D head Albert Biermann, Kia’s new D-AWD system strives to create a happy medium between rear-drive and AWD motoring. With this Stinger, you can have both. The system incorporates a mechanical limited slip rear differential for better rear-end grip, plus a trio of drive modes to suit the driver’s mood.

Going from mild to wild, the modes are: Comfort, which sends 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels; Sport, in which the rear tires handle 80 percent of the thrust; and Drift, which puts all the power to the back end. It also holds gears without upshifting. Select journalists were given a chance to test out the D-AWD system on a skidpad last September.

While the new AWD system is the standout feature of the GTS, Kia decided to make the limited-run trim a little more obvious. Besides the “Federation” orange paint, buyers will discover a Stinger emblem in place of the Kia badge adorning the trunklid, a GTS rear emblem, and the aforementioned carbon fiber outlining the grille, side vents, and replacing plastic in the side mirror caps. Inside, Alcantara covers the steering wheel and console, while suede-like Chamude stands in place of the traditional headliner.

A sunroof and 720-watt Harman/Kardon premium audio system rounds out the list of standard upgrades. Beneath the hood, the GTS is all GT. There, you’ll find the previous top-rung Stinger’s twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6, good for 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The GTS is offered in either rear-drive or D-AWD.

Kia says the Stinger GTS starts “around $44,000” for the RWD version, or $5,650 more than a base GT. The price then rises to “around $46,500” for the D-AWD model. Only 800 of these special Stingers will be made, offered to U.S. buyers this spring.

[Images: Kia Motors, Matt Posky/TTAC]

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  • 1st_one 1st_one on Apr 18, 2019

    My lease is ending on my Challenger soon and this car is on my radar as a potential replacement.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 18, 2019

    The problem with the Stinger is that the G70 not only exists, but doesnt look like someone drove it through a Pep Boys accessory aisle in the late 90's and has a manual option.

  • 28-Cars-Later $55,218 for a new GR Corolla:"But if OTD prices get beyond 50k there are better options"That's what people were arguing in that thread.
  • Lou_BC "The Oldsmobile Diesel engine is a series of  V6 and  V8  diesel engines produced by  General Motors from 1978 to 1985. The 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 was introduced in 1978, followed by a 261 cu in (4.3 L) V8 only for the 1979 model year. In 1982, a 263 cu in (4.3 L) V6 became available for both front and  rear-wheel drive vehicles. Sales peaked in 1981 at approximately 310,000 units, which represented 60% of the total U.S. passenger vehicle diesel market. However, this success was short-lived as the V8 diesel engine suffered severe reliability issues, and the engines were discontinued after the 1985 model year."I'd say one would be best off finding a gasser to plunk in there or take a loss and re-sell it.
  • ToolGuy GM Buying Guide:• Body on frame• V8 engine• Gasoline engine• Longitudinally-mounted engine• Normally-aspirated engine• Rear wheel drive (or 4WD)That's 6 items. Aim for 4 out of 6 or higher. (My two GM vehicles score a 6 and a 3.) This vehicle is a 1.
  • 28-Cars-Later Based on what people were posting, its going to debut with enough ADM to buy a CPO Porsche so why bother (Unless HMC can bring the hammer down somehow)?
  • MaintenanceCosts A Civic Type R with a better interior and less Fast and Furious styling? That's a pretty appealing product.