European debut for Kia’s rear-drive GT4 Stinger concept

Kia Motors today revealed the brand’s most aggressive concept car ever, the GT4 Stinger, at its European debut during the Geneva Motor Show.

The eye-catching GT4 Stinger concept – a rear-wheel drive, 2+2 sportscar – takes Kia’s design language in a bold new direction and echoes the glory days of purebred, affordable sportscars.

“Driving enjoyment was the number one priority in designing the GT4 Stinger,” said Tom Kearns, Chief Designer, Kia Design Center America (KDCA). “It’s a 2+2 sportscar that can turn heads as a daily driver, while also being right at home on the track. It’s about purity, simplicity and timelessness. The GT4 Stinger is a throwback to days when driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn’t muted by electronic gimmickry.”

The GT4 Stinger was designed and engineered to focus on weight reduction, functionality and driver enjoyment, disregarding the luxury accessories of a traditional grand tourer to deliver instead a truly engaging drive.

Beneath the GT4 Stinger’s low bonnet is a tuned version of Kia’s proven 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injected (T-GDI) four-cylinder engine, putting out an impressive 315 ps.

Power is applied to the road via a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission driving the 20-inch rear wheels, which are wrapped in 275/35 R20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tyres. The front wheels get slightly smaller 235/35 R20 Pirelli P-Zeros to ensure a high level of cornering grip.

The special aluminium wheels feature carbon fibre inserts for strength and weight reduction, and house 380 mm Brembo Gran Turismo two-piece, cross-drilled disc brakes with four-piston calipers. The GT4 Stinger also features a quick-ratio steering rack for direct driver feedback and uncompromised control.

Underneath the GT4 Stinger’s ‘Ignition Yellow’ body is a custom chassis with independent double wishbone suspension all round. With a shorter wheelbase (2,619 mm) and wider body (1,890 mm) than a Kia cee’d and the same overall length (4,310 mm), as well as a low 1,250 mm roofline, the GT4 Stinger is the most dramatic-looking concept ever produced by Kia.

It tips the scales at just 1,301 kg, and weight distribution is spread nearly perfectly at 52 percent up front and 48 percent at the rear. A power-to-weight ratio of 242 ps per ton ensures the GT4 Stinger will go from 0-100 kph (62 mph) in around five seconds.

Fans of Kia’s design language, set by Kia Motors Corporation president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer, will immediately recognise key styling elements of the GT4 Stinger. The latest iteration of Kia’s signature ‘Tiger-nose’ grille rests low to the ground for maximum engine cooling and cold-air induction. The grille surround glows white and features a multi-layered, satin-black border, a theme found throughout the car.

Flanking the grille on both sides are vertical LED headlamps and front-brake cooling vents, which are incorporated into the bumper to provide a clean, smooth appearance. A low carbon fibre front splitter provides added downforce at high speeds.

The GT4 Stinger’s smooth, long bonnet features two chrome accents to add visual interest, and swells at the sides to accommodate the muscular front wheel arches. The result is a pronounced edge at the vehicle’s shoulders that eventually becomes the belt line.

Transparent A-pillars and a wrap-around windscreen provide an unrivalled view from the driver’s seat – layered slots cut into the pillars reduce weight and improve outward visibility. Similar to the all-new Kia Soul, the roof of the GT4 Stinger appears to ‘float’ from the C-pillars. The side of the car features satin black accent pieces with integrated cooling ducts to enhance air flow to the rear brakes.

At the rear of the car, the body widens to cover the larger tyres, while the glass hatchback opens to reveal a built-in storage compartment and rear bracing strut to improve torsional rigidity and cornering stability. The LED taillights are housed inside a blacked-out panel just above the dual exhausts in the rear bumper.

The interior is purposeful in design and practical in nature, with wide, light weight aluminium doors making it easy to get into the leather race-inspired bucket seats. There is no carpet in the cabin either, only a rubber floor mat beneath the billet-aluminium pedals.

The simple, uncluttered dashboard features a thick flat-bottomed steering wheel and a red LED-illuminated instrument panel with large tachometer and gear indicator. Following the motorsport theme and taking inspiration from sports and competition cars of the past, the interior door handles have been replaced by red-stitched pull straps, while the GT4 Stinger does without the luxury of a stereo.

While there are currently no plans to bring the concept to production, Kia has a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to the concept that preceded them, and the GT4 Stinger provides a possible and highly provocative glimpse into Kia’s future.