WHEN you share your name with a military missile you are either going to be completely nucking futs or an absolute disappointment. We’re happy to declare though, that the 2020 Kia Stinger GT Carbon is just a tad ballistic, in a driving a rocket kind of way.
But this is no ordinary Stinger either. As the name suggests, this one has carbon fibre bits. In essence, Kia has taken everything that was bronzed chrome on the 2020 GT, and swapped it for carbon fibre, including front and rear skirting, and the side mirrors.
The other noticeable difference is inside the cockpit. The standard GT comes with a leather wrapped steering wheel, where as the Carbon edition scores an Alcantara one, with further accents around the cabin.
It gives a racier feel when compared to a ‘normal’ GT. Staying in the cabin for a bit, we can tell you that the front seats are both heated and ventilated, with three comfort settings available for each.
They’re also comfortable and supportive, and in sport mode you get the added bonus of automatically adjusting bolsters, to ensure you stay put. It’s handy if you want to go quick through some corners.
With an 8-inch touchscreen, featuring smartphone connectivity and a Harman/Kardon premium sound system, there’s a lot to like in terms of technology. The satellite navigation works well too.
And that exceptional sound system, well there’s a multitude of speakers, including two under seat sub-woofers and an external amplifier. Room in the back is good too, but might cause issues for anyone taller than 6-foot in the old measure.
The black leather upholstery is quality, and there were no rattles or creaks to be heard in our test vehicle. It’s got a very European grand tourer feel about it actually, both in terms of look, and the quality of the finish.
A twin turbo 3.3-litre V6 that produces 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque propels this missile, and it will complete the 0-100km/h dash in just 4.9 seconds. I know let’s take a minute to reflect. That’s awesome for any car, let alone a Kia.
Match this power plant to an eight speed automatic gearbox that has the option of flappy paddles, launch control and a mechanical slip differential and you begin to understand how much fun the Stinger GT Carbon edition truly is to drive.
This is what makes the Stinger GT Carbon, well, in fact the Kia Stinger GT special. It’s rear wheel drive, and it has the ability to make you want to drive it and not worry about fuel economy (10.2-litres/100km) or any other distraction. It’s a proper driver’s car.
Let’s just say, if you want to accelerate hard you better hang on, because the Stinger is going to take you on a ride.
The rear suspension is stiff, particularly in sport mode (one of five available modes), but you can mitigate this a little by switching to Custom and changing it to Comfort. The other two drive modes are Eco and Smart, with the latter doing the selection for you.
In the case of the Carbon, Kia’s wicked sounding bi-modal exhaust is a $3,200 dealer fitted optional extra (more on that in a moment). It’s worth every cent, and the additional charm the optional exhaust delivers elevates the wholistic driving experience.
The 2020 Kia Stinger GT Carbon edition rides on 19-inch alloy wheels shod with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber. There’s some sexy red Brembo brakes (with 4-piston calipers and 350mm ventilated front discs and 2-piston calipers and 340mm rear discs).
Our test vehicle looked stunning in Micro Blue, but there are five colour choices in total, including Hichroma Red, Neon Orange, Aurora Black and Snow White Pearl. It’s backed by Kia’s 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Once upon a time you might have pointed to the Holden Commodore VXR as a rival for the Stinger, but it’s now squarely aimed at the likes of the 2019 BMW 330i M Sport and Audi A4. No matter the rivals, it’s well worth considering.
Now about that bi-modal exhaust. While we were penning this review, Kia Australia announced the exclusive Stinger GT Night Sky edition, featuring a new light grey Nappa leather interior. It’s fitted with that exhaust as standard.
It comes in three colours; Micro Blue, Deep Chroma Blue and Aurora Black Pearl, and is priced at $63,500 plus on-roads. For the record, the 2020 Kia Stinger GT Carbon edition is $68,559 drive away ($64,800 plus ORC), and adds loads of carbon fibre goodness.
Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Kia Stinger GT Carbon edition, contact your local Kia dealer.