Enlarge / The 2018 Kia Stinger GT. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)
Every year there will be one or two new cars that generate a whole lot of buzz.

Cars that generate hype.

Cars that people who post on Internet forums salivate over.
I’m not talking hand-built exotica with 600 horsepower and six-digit price tags; that kind of unobtanium might make for good desktop wallpaper or bedroom posters but few of us will ever be lucky enough to meet that kind of four-wheeled superstar. No, the kind of machine I’m talking about needs to be within reach of your average working stiff, but still far enough from the default to quicken the pulse.

A car like the new Kia Stinger.
We first saw the Kia Stinger at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Since then it has been a regular on the auto show circuit, as well as popping up at various other events—and a whole load of Kia dealerships—but we’ve had to wait until now to get behind the wheel.
In the meantime, it’s built up quite a degree of hype.
It’s Kia’s foray into the performance domain, the Korean OEM having concentrated until now on things like build quality and value for money.

Those attributes will certainly win sales, but Kia wanted something with a little more passion, a halo car to get people excited.

As you’ll find out shortly, it was worth the wait.
Sportbacks are in now
The Stinger first began back in 2011 as the GT Concept, a four-door gran turismo inspired by vintage metal like the Maserati Ghibli, the sort of four-wheeled conveyance that could carry four adults and their luggage across a continent.
It’s a four-door sportback (my favorite!) design, styled by Gregory Guillaume at Kia’s German design studio.

As the man himself described it, “a true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace.” It’s something of a golden age for the performance sportback, what with Audi’s S5 and Buick’s Regal GS also available for similar money.
I’m not quite sure why this design convergence has happened, but I hope it continues.
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