SO, here we are then; another Stinger review. Over the last year it seems like there’s been a plethora of articles, reviews and opinions printed, videoed, talked about and possibly even emblazoned across the sky about this car, the 2018 Kia Stinger.
This is not our first time with the Stinger either. Back when it launched we drove the 200S (the base model if you will), and the top of the line, the GT. And since there’s no denying that it’s a great car, we thought we’d give you the run down on the 330S and 330Si.
It seems an odd thing to say, but the 330S is possibly better known than the GT. It’s because it’s the same car adopted by the Queensland and West Australian police forces for use as a general duties and traffic command vehicle.
But it’s also a family car that not only looks great, but is functional and loaded with tech and performance. It looks awesome, is stylish while not being overdone, and has this feel about it that just tells you it can go quick.
The looks however only hint at how brilliant this car is to actually drive. The 3.3-litre twin turbo power plant in this car is brilliant, smooth, responsive and ready to go. The sound of the exhaust just hinted at the power that is lurking under the bonnet.
Paired with an exceptionally smooth 8-speed gearbox, this is brilliance bordering on sorcery. It could do with some throatiness though, and we recommend investigating the bi-modal exhaust option available via Kia dealers to give it a more ballsy note.
There are five drive modes to choose from as well, aimed at delivering the best possible driving experience, including Comfort; for city driving and cruising, Eco; for long highway trips and conserving fuel, and Custom.
Custom lets you set your own preferences, including steering response and engine mapping. There’s also Sport; for when you need to turn your car into Satan’s express train, and Smart; which automatically chooses the best driving settings.
Adding to the driving experience are 4-pot front and 2-pot rear Brembo brakes, and some nice standard rubber to make for an exceptionally responsive offering overall. Throw in the fact it’s rear wheel drive and you can see why both variants are fun to drive.
That tech we talked about earlier includes a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, reversing camera, dual zone climate control SatNav, and a range of driver information screens that you can choose at will.
Those screens, on the central console and the dash, can provide a vast array of information, but we recommend you be selective as some, like the turbo boost meter, can be distracting.
There’s also adaptive cruise control, active lane keep assist (as long as you remember to keep your hands on the steering wheel to avoid rude system messages), and a full gamut of other safety features, all ensuring the Stinger’s 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Thanks to the lift back design, there’s also plenty of boot space, some 406-litres with the seats up, and pretty much double that when you lay the rear seats flat. If we had to fault anything it would be a lack of blind spot monitoring in the two 330 models.
Both come with a mechanical limited slip diff and you can turn stability and traction control off, but why would you want to do that? Maybe to get the most out of the 272kW 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo engine and its 510Nm of torque? Perhaps.
In reality though, there aren’t that many differences between the 330S and the 330Si.
The Si comes with leather sports seats and a couple of updated active safety features, while it steps up from 18-inch to 19-inch rims, with lower profile tyres and wider rear tyres, giving it a sportier feel and improved road contact.
In the case of the Si, we had the opportunity to take it on a longer drive, from Sydney to Gunnedah and back for the Race Revolution runway sprint event (no we didn’t race it, just for the record).
Some five hours of driving later (that’s one way) and we arrived in the somewhat sleepy township feeling fresh, with no stiffness or the usual tiredness. We also managed a respectable 7.4-litres/100km from the 60-litre fuel tank.
On the open road, overtaking was a breeze and the pickup and performance at higher speeds was effortless, there no turbo lag and very little delay as the car searched for the right gear.
Both our Stingers looked outstanding on the road, with excellent paint finishes, stylish wheels and exceptional detail throughout. The 2018 Kia Stinger is available in Panthera Metal, Silky Silver, Ceramic Grey, Hichroma Red, Micro Blue and Deep Chroma Blue.
The 2018 Kia Stinger 330S starts at $49,990 plus on-roads, while the 330Si is priced from $55,990 plus on-roads. Like all Kia models, it they come with a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our test vehicles were provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Kia Stinger 330S and 330Si, contact your local Kia dealer. This article was co-written by Mark Dobson.