In January, we unveiled our slate of the hottest vehicles we would like to get our hands on from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. As much as we try to fit in every gorgeous debut, often several outstanding concepts just don’t make the final cut. We’re happy to report this week’s Crazy Concept, the mind-blowing Kia GT4 Stinger, didn’t get cut for those reasons. We were just being damn selfish and wanted to give it due respect with a proper introduction.
Don’t take this the wrong way (or please do), but we have never really considered Kia to be a Playboy kind of car until the K900 luxury flagship took its bow. Sure, the Optima has some great lines and a sporty-persona - but unless we’re talking about the GTS entrants in Pirelli World Challenge, we’ve been hesitant due to the brand’s lackluster design. Consider the GT4 our well-needed wake up call.
The Stinger Concept is, at its heart, a sports car fan’s dream. Based on a 2+2 rear-wheel drive platform, the car finds its closest competitors in the league of the American muscle car trifecta and perhaps also with the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ platform. Few overseas manufacturers are typically willing to get into adrenaline-infused under-$50K arena in America – but none have looked so bloody terrific as the GT4 Stinger now have they.
Under that radically molded hood, shown below in a feisty Ignition Yellow, the Stinger contains a tuned version of Kia’s powerful 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with direct injection. At 315 horsepower, mated to a traditional six-speed stick shift, the Stinger is easily positioning itself in a market craving close-ratio manual control without all the gadgets. Considering the Pirelli Optimas use the same engine tuned up to 400 HP (most likely requiring advanced mods that probably wouldn’t fly for a road-legal vehicle), the Stinger’s unconfirmed torque is probably sufficient for one hell of a joyride.
The GT4’s overall design is simple, yet fierce. As described by Kia’s chief design officer Peter Schreyer, the body of the vehicle is almost shrink-wrapped to the frame, stating “it’s as if the body panels were formed around the chassis instead of merely welded to it.” We’re a big fan of the long, low hood that embrace the glowing-white Kia grill bordered by those gorgeous vertical LED headlamps. The front brake air intakes have been stylishly integrated into the front bumper next to the LEDs, but have done so in a way that looks more natural than forced into the design.
The floating roof concept works well here stemming from the C-pillars, leading to the glass hatch and storage compartment leading down the fastback’s roofline down to its rounded rump. On the rear, the blacked-out panel containing the LED taillights is understated, but work well when combined with the aggressive bumper and dual-exhaust directly below. There are numerous inspirations we would love to guess at with this vehicle - from the new Mustang, to Cadillac’s ElMiraj, to BMW’s M Coupe and several other groundbreaking designs. In cases such as this, it’s easier just to state that Kia’s team has done one hell of a job bringing the Stinger to life.
As with most concepts, production is often a fantasy. But considering Kia has a long history of putting their rockstar concepts into market – we strongly feel this car will make onto the roads in the next couple of years. Because of anything they’ve produced to date – this vehicle is a Playboy car waiting to happen. Back to you, Kia.
Stay tuned to www.kia.com/us for more information.