IT'S the Kia stealing the show across the globe.
After a triumphant reveal at January's Detroit Auto Show, Kia's Stinger GT wowed the European crowds at this month's Geneva Motor Show as interest builds in this sporting model ahead of its September launch.
It's fair to say the car - available with a turbo four-cylinder or twin-turbo V6 - has wowed and even shocked many in the automotive industry, with positive impressions almost universal.
It was my first experience of the Stinger in the metal, and I could now finally believe the hype. This is the car that could herald a new dawn for the Korean brand: Kia's already on a sales march (2016 figures saw a leap of 26.5% in Australia), but this is brave new territory.
The grand tourer is available with a twin-turbo V6 good for 272kW and 510Nm and a 0-100kmh time of 5.1-seconds. With power delivered through the rear wheels, four doors and appealing lines, it arrives just as our rear-wheel drive Commodores and Falcons exit stage left. Good timing Kia.
Australians aren't buying big, powerful, rear-drive sedans in the huge numbers we were 10 or 20 year ago, but Kia's convinced there's still a market there. A lucrative one at that.
"Unfortunately Commodore and Falcon are disappearing, but we don't think the market is disappearing," said Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith. "Therefore if we can fill that pool that's left empty, we believe that Stinger can be relatively successful. Now that depends on positioning, pricing...we've got to be really careful how we price it."
Mr Meredith said no pricing had been decided upon at this stage, but we'd estimate a figure of about $40,000 for the four-cylinder and in the $50,000 vicinity for the hot V6.
"(Stinger) is an opening for people who don't want to pay $80-90k for a (rear-wheel drive) European car," Meredith said.
Highlighting the Stinger's sporting credentials, the fastest-ever Kia has been track developed at the Nurburgring and has been given local Australian fine tuning to make its handling and drive suited to our market.
Mr Meredith emphasised how Stinger would bring plenty of attention to Kia. "It puts the brand in another sphere. It shows what Kia can do with product," he said.
Witnessing the Stinger's gorgeous GT lines first hand, plus its cabin's Euro-style fit and finish, I for one am fascinated ahead of its arrival. It could be very special indeed.
Model: 2018 Kia Stinger.
Details: Five-seat four-door rear-wheel-drive large sedan.
Engines: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 190kW and 353Nm; 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 with 272kW and 510Nm.
Transmission: Eight-speed auto.
Performance 0-100kmh: Approx. 8-seconds (four-cylinder), 5.1-seconds (V6).
Bottom line: Estimated $40,000 (Stinger); $50,000 (Stinger GT V6).
On sale: September 2017.
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