2020 Kia Stinger GT Night Sky Edition

EARLY this year Kia added a special Night Sky Edition of its Stinger GT sports liftback to the range, bringing the number of variants available to Australian buyers to six.

 

Based on the 3.3-litre bi-turbo V6 GT, it joins the 2-litre 200S, 2-litre GT-Line, 3.3-litre V6 330S, 3.3-litre V6 GT, and 3.3-litre V6 Carbon Edition but, as the name suggests, the Night Sky Edition is only available in nocturnal hues: Micro Blue, Deep Chroma Blue, and Aurora Black Pearl.

 

That does not mean it can only come out to play at midnight as, unlike our friend the owl, who does its best work when all is quiet, the Stinger Night Sky has something up its sleeves that would well and truly wake the unsuspecting.

 

Apart from the addition of light grey Nappa leather interior trim, Kia has added a bimodal exhaust system to add more bark to the 272kW 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine.

 

And bark it does, but in an aural way so as not to upset the neighbours.

 

There is not a lot of change over the GT, and that little bit of one-upmanship will set you back an additional $710.

 

Kia refers to the Stinger as a sports sedan, but we prefer the old-fashioned liftback moniker as the boot lid is more horizontal than vertical - and it is longer.

 

Kia is pitching the Stinger at those large car buyers now looking for an alternative to the now-departed Commodore and Falcon and the only competition it has in the Large Passenger segment is the Peugeot 508 Fastback and Sportswagon, and the Skoda Superb sedan and wagon.

 

Neither of those European brands have anything in their armoury that can hold a candle to the Stinger GT in terms of performance.

 

Peek in the next passenger car segment – Prestige and Luxury Passenger – and there are models there that would struggle against it also.

 

Not only is the Stinger a handsome vehicle, it is a refined, long-distance tourer with more than enough space for a family and their luggage 

 

Price

 

The Stinger GT Night Sky Edition wears a sticker price of $63,700 before on-road costs ($67,190 driveaway), but you can get yourself seated in a Stinger 2.0 200 S from $47,390, plus on-roads.

 

The range-topping 3.3 V6 GT Carbon Edition is priced at $64,990, plus on-roads.

 

Engine/transmission choices

 

The GT Night Sky Edition is only available with the 3.3-litre, double overhead camshaft, 24-valve, twin-turbo petrol V6 engine which boasts 272kW of power, which is developed at 6000rpm, and a massive 510Nm of torque which is available from just 1300rpm to 4500rpm.

 

The engine can run on regular 91RON fuel but does better on 95RON, and Kia claims 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

 

After a week’s driving, we returned a respectable 8.6L/100km.

 

Married to the V6 is an eight-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters, of course) which drives the rear wheels.

 

Launch control and a mechanical limited slip differential are standard.

 

Body styling

 

There is no confusing the Stinger with any other sports sedan - err, liftback, no matter its country of origin.

 

It looks interesting - purposeful even - with an expansive bonnet, long wheelbase, sloping roofline, Brembo red brake calipers showing behind five-spoke alloy wheels with 19-inch rubber, and it wears Kia’s corporate ‘tiger nose’ grille better than any other Kia model.

 

The rear of the car is phenomenal. Love it.

 

This is the third Stinger we have road tested since it was launched here two years ago, the first being a bright yellow GT.

 

It attracted much attention and 24 months later the Stinger is still a head-turner, no matter the body colour.

 

Interior styling

 

There is a lot of familiarity with the long-term Cerato GT hatch we had been tootalling about in the past six weeks.

 

The latest Cerato is more a mini-me Stinger so there were no surprises when I dropped into the comfortable driver’s seat, set the electrically-adjustable, and heated, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and fired the twin-turbo V6 into life.

 

The aero-inspired interior, fuss-free dash and instrument panel adds more than a touch of class, with the whole roomy package a nice, attractive place to reside.

 

There is lots of soft-touch materials and aluminium trim, and ample room for four – five at a pinch.

 

Like the front seat passengers, rear seat passengers also sit low owing to the swoopy roofline, but they do get decent leg and toe room and a decent view of the countryside through shallow windows.

 

Looking through the rear screen via the self-dipping interior rear view mirror is like peering through the slit in a pillbox.

 

The boot’s 406 litres of cargo space expands to a handy 1114 litres by dropping the rear seat backs.

 

Standard equipment

 

The only thing missing from an otherwise most comprehensive standard equipment list was a self-opening – or kick function – boot lid.

 

The GT wants for nothing else and to enforce its sports credentials there are paddle shifters, alloy foot pedals, embossed GT emblem in each of the headrests of the front seat backs, four exhaust outlets, LED head, daytime running, tail, fog and interior lights, interior mood lighting, dual-zone aircon, electrically adjustable, heated and cooled front seats (memory function for the driver’s), retractable exterior rear view mirrors, an around-view camera, a rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, and front and rear parking sensors.  

 

Safety features

 

Like its standard kit, the Stinger GT comes with a full suite of passive and active safety aids, such as lane keep assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, dusk-sensing auto headlights, radar cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, seven airbags, rear seat air vents and power outlets (12 volt and USB), and rear seat outboard ISOFIX mounts.

 

Instruments, tech

 

The clear dials in the instrument binnacle are separated by a 7-inch colour TFT-LCD screen which shows everything from fuel consumption to torque and boost, G-Force, and lap timer.

 

There is a digital speedo which, along with some other functions, is replicated on a head-up display.

 

Central to the dash is an eight-inch, tablet-like touchscreen with sat-nav, Active Sound Design, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth etc, and access to a 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. 

 

The GT also comes with wireless phone charging, 12-volt and USB outlets for front seat passengers, remote locking, and push button start.

 

Comfort/convenience

 

The heated and cooled front seats are big and comfy, with the 8-way power driver’s seat having memory and easy access function, as well as lumbar support, while the front seat passenger also gets 8-way power adjustment and lumbar support.

 

The rear centre fold-down armrest has cupholders, plus there are bottle holders in each door, four other cupholders, a centre console storage bin with lid, an overhead sunglasses holder, and small trays and oddments bins.

 

What is it like to drive?

 

The Stinger GT is poised and enticing to drive, whether in crowded city streets or quickly swallowing hundreds of kilometres of blacktop between major rural centres.

 

It is a grand tourer in every sense, with the mature feeling, comfort, handling, and performance of those European sports saloons that cost tens of thousands of dollars more for a similar driving experience.

 

It can skip from zero to 100km/h in 4.9secs, it has rear wheel drive, and it boasts a genuinely entertaining chassis, so it is far from being out of its depth.

 

It also comes with a drive mode system which allows the driver to dial up one of five settings – Eco, Smart, Comfort, Sport, Custom – that control the car’s steering, ride and engine response depending on where, and how, you are driving the car.

 

There is not a great deal of difference between them, but Sport does spark things up by stiffening the suspension, firming the steering, lighting up the powertrain, and wrapping the driver’s seat side bolsters tighter against the body.

 

For the most part we left the drive mode in its default Comfort setting, except when we pointed the car at our usual 153-kilometre Ovens District Goldfields loop where Sport was the chosen option.

 

The GT was surprisingly agile over our hilly, windy course, steering accurately, braking superbly, and handling the tight bits with authority.

 

The suspension does an excellent job of soaking up most bumps and thumps well before they can be transmitted to those in the cabin, as well as keeping the car hunkered to the road.

 

The twin turbo V6 delivers its power and torque rapidly and smoothly, and the eight gear ratios are a good match.

 

There is no true manual mode for the gearbox which gets itself in a knot if you are using the paddle shifters in real windy stuff.

 

They are fun to use but there is enough poke from the engine and great braking power to just point and go and leaving the gearbox to do its own thing.

 

Why would I need it?

 

There are still buyers who want a large family sports sedan, but there are few cars that have this much street cred for the money.

 

As a comfortable, responsive, well-equipped, attractive, and refined grand tourer, the Stinger GT, whether limited edition or not, does not fall too short of the mark when comparing it to its European counterparts.

 

 

The fact that it is compared to its peers at all shows just how seriously it is being taken.

 

There is nothing to dislike about this car.

 

As with all Kia cars, the Stinger GT Night Sky Edition comes with a 7-year new car warranty with 7-year capped price servicing and 7-year roadside assist.

Capped pricing servicing over the seven years cost $4068.

FAST FACTS

Review vehicle courtesy: Kia Australia

 

Price: Kia Stinger 3.3 GT Night Sky Edition, $67,190 driveaway

 

Engine: 3.3-litre V6 DOHC T-GDI bi-turbo petrol

 

Power: 272kW at 6000rpm

 

Torque: 510Nm at 1300-4500rpm

 

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel-drive

 

Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km

 

Fuel tank capacity: 60 litres 91RON petrol

 

Towing capacity: 1500kg braked 

 

Warranty: 7 years/unlimited kilometres

 

 

NORTH-EAST VICTORIA/SOUTHERN RIVERINA KIA DEALERSHIPS

 

 

Albury -Wodonga - McRae Kia, 182 Melbourne Road, Wodonga, Phone: (02) 6051 5555

 

Shepparton - Thompson Kia, 340 Midland Highway, Phone: (03) 5822 2666

 

Wagga - Riverina Kia, 42-52 Dobney Avenue, Phone: (02) 6932 6688

 

Wangaratta - Ovens Kia, 62 Parfitt Road, Phone: (03) 5722 9898

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