Star of the Stinger range is the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 model, badged Stinger GT S. It’s the one most evo readers will be interested in, offering the strongest performance and the most stirring soundtrack of the trio, and it’s the most potent road car Kia has ever produced.
Attached to an eight-speed automatic transmission – standard across the Stinger range – it develops 365bhp at 6000rpm and 376lb ft of torque from 1300rpm all the way to 4500rpm and sends its power (in the UK at least) to the rear wheels alone.
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Next up is a turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol with T-GDi badging. With 252bhp (at 6200rpm) it’s clearly not as muscular as the V6, a fact also apparent in the 260lb ft torque figure from 1400rpm. On paper the 2-litre doesn’t seem too far shy of the V6 model in terms of outright performance, but in reality it lacks the bigger-engined car’s easy mid-range thrust and its four-cylinder note is disappointingly bland.
Mid-range thrust has always been a diesel strong-point and with a quoted 325lb ft of torque from 1750rpm the 2.2-litre Stinger CRDi diesel has the measure of the 2-litre petrol in this department, if not quite to the same level as the V6 with its 50 per cent greater swept capacity.
Maximum power is less than either at 197bhp (at a typically low 3800rpm) which goes some way to explaining the slower 0-62mph time, but the main thing to discourage using the diesel’s entire potential is the usual bugbear of an uninspiring engine note. Instead, the 2.2 sounds, and performs best using the Kia’s paddleshifters to keep the engine spinning away in its mid-range sweet spot.