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Kia unveils GT4 Stinger at 2014 Detroit Motor Show

 When you hear the brand ‘Kia’, what do you think of? Top Gear’s Reasonably Priced Car and seven-year warranties, perhaps? If so, you might be surprised to hear that Kia has unveiled a rear-wheel-drive 315hp coupe that the brand says “pushes the boundaries of performance” and “places man and machine in harmony on the road or track”. The GT4 Stinger is a concept that’s been teased for a while now, but has finally made its public debut at the Detroit Motor Show. Click on the image above to read more about the Kia GT4 Stinger at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show

 The Kia GT4 Stinger is powered by a tuned version of the manufacturer’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine – it has been turbocharged to 315hp. Think that’s a lot of power from a small engine? Well, as Kia America’s chief designer Tom Kearns points out, “our Optima racecars use the same engine and can produce more than 400hp. So why not infuse our concept with the kind of power that will make people take notice?” The 2.0-litre engine is combined with a six-speed manual ‘box – no DSG shenanigans here
 The best angle to look at the Kia GT4 Stinger, in our eyes at least, is from the rear. From here it looks a bit like the 2006 reincarnation of the Lotus Europa… most un-Kia. The front features the tiger nose grille that has appeared on every Kia since chief designer Peter Schreyer introduced the new signature look in 2007. Transparent A-pillars provide a 270-degree view from the driver’s seat, while vertical LED headlights give the GT4 Stinger a unique look.
 Jump into the driver’s seat and don’t expect luxury inside the Kia GT4 Stinger. It’s all about no-compromise performance. There aren’t even any carpets, just a thick rubber mat underneath the aluminium pedals. It doesn’t have a radio either – as Kearn puts it, “the audio system starts under the hood and the speakers are the exhaust pipes.” To close the door you’ll use the red-stitched pull straps, while the moulded leather bucket seats hold you in place and a thick D-shaped steering wheel connects the driver to the road.
 The Kia GT4 Stinger is a 2+2, meaning two passengers should be able to squeeze into the back. Kia says that despite shunning “the luxury trappings of a traditional Grand Touring car”, the GT4 Stinger is practical enough to use as a daily driver, while still being able to hold its own on track. Kearns commented: “The GT4 Stinger is a throwback to days when driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn’t muted by electronic gimmickry.”
 With all this weight-saving you’d expect the GT4 Stinger to be leaner than an Olympic athlete, and you’d be right – it tips the scales at 1,304kg, with weight distribution split 52/48 front to back. By comparison, the Toyota GT86 weighs slightly less at 1,275kg, but the GT4 Stinger’s 315hp outdoes the GT86’s 197hp considerably..
  The Kia GT4 Stinger has a wheelbase of 2,619mm and an overall length of 4,310mm, making it shorter than a Kia Cee’d. At 1,250mm tall it’s lower than a Toyota GT86, while its width of 1,890mm gives it a menacing look. It sits on a custom chassis using an independent double-wishbone suspension. The 20-inch alloys add to the hunkered-down look.
 We’ve only seen the Kia GT4 Stinger at its unveiling at Detroit, so haven’t been able to get behind the wheel. We expect it’d be a rewarding experience for the keen driver, and Kia promises its quick-ratio steering provides direct feedback and uncompromised control.
 Kia says there are no plans to bring the GT4 Stinger to production. Kearn says: “It’s totally a selfish design. The design team at KDCA [Kia Design Center America] is full of petrolheads and enthusiasts, and the GT4 Stinger is the perfect car for that kind of crowd.” For that, Kia must be applauded. However, the company has strongly hinted that we might see production cars with a strong resemblance to the GT4 Stinger. Go on, Kia, show the Hyundai Veloster Turbo who’s boss
 In a time of lowering emissions, fiddling about with hybrids and plug-in cars and making cars bigger and more refined than ever, a genuine sports car that concentrates on low weight and driver engagement is welcome. What’s even better is that it comes from a company as unexpected as Kia – a brand that’s now big enough to support a low-numbers enthusiasts’ car. It’d be a massive shame if we don’t see something sporty from Kia in production form soon. And the use of the turbocharged 2.0-litre is proof that entertainment doesn’t have to come from large, thirsty engines. See – for all its sportiness, there is still a nod to emissions after all


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