Since Kia was launched in the UK, it has been known for its low cost family cars that aren’t particularly thrilling, but are reliable and versatile nonetheless.
The release of a brand new model, therefore, is not usually anything to write home about. However, Kia has changed its tactics and altered the playing field with its latest concept.
No, it isn’t a small, comfortable hatchback with a low price ticket, nor a solid, stable yet bland SUV.
It’s a sportscar. A full-on, no-holds-barred, lean, mean speed machine.
Shocked? So were the visitors to the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Perhaps the presence of the Kia stand was the initial surprise for the petrolheads at the Motor City show, as it was surrounded by brands such as Bentley, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
However, instead of taking what they might have expected to be a cursory glance at the Kia offering, it seemed that the car on show instead drew quite the crowd.
What the revellers found was a high-powered sportscar, with data suggesting that the 2+2 seating configuration model is able to deliver 315 turbocharged horsepower. Attached to a six-speed manual gearbox, the car is truly a dream for anyone with a taste for power.
The car was created by the engineers over at Kia’s Californian design studio, before it made the cross-state trip to Michigan.
Kia has aimed to deliver a model which has clear ties to the purebred, affordable sports cars of old, with the Stinger concept being the most aggressive and powerful car the brand has ever made.
Far from the recognisable Kia design we are used to, the car comes with a low centre of gravity, gorgeous racing lines, sumptuous curves and a mean front grille.
Tom Kearns, chief designer at Kia Design Center America (NDCA), said the priority of the new design was to deliver “driving enjoyment”.
“It’s a 2+2 sports car that can turn heads as a daily driver while also being right at home on the track. It’s about purity, simplicity and timelessness. The GT4 Stinger is a throwback to days when driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn’t muted by electronic gimmickry.”
While it all looks pretty impressive, the question is whether it can truly compete with other cars in its segment.
Mr Kearn’s answered: “I would simply point out that Kia races – and wins – against some of the world’s most legendary performance brands.”
It’s as simple as that it seems.
Under the bonnet is a monstrous 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injected (T-GDI) four cylinder engine, which produces the impressive horsepower figure mentioned earlier.
Added Pirelli P-Zero performance tyres under the front wings ensure the car is tight in the corners, making racing all the better.
Presented in a yellow body colour, the car is just a little bit tasty. I’m sure you’d never think we’d ever say that about a Kia!
Mr Kearns said the car is a “totally selfish design”, created to please the people at KCDA who are passionate about power, performance and pace.