For the first time, Kia will offer switchable driving modes, with five settings on offer. These modes adjust not only the firmness of the suspension but also the responses of the variable-ratio electric steering, which has the motor mounted directly on the steering rack for what Kia claims are improved responses and feedback and reduced vibrations.
The four-cylinder Stinger has 18in alloy wheels and 225/45 R18 ‘performance’ tyres, with 19in alloys and 225/40 R19 ‘ultra-high-performance’ rubber for the GT model. Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers at the front and two-piston calipers at the rear provide the stopping power for the GT model.
Pricing for the V6 Stinger GT has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to be in line with that of a top-spec Sorento, which costs £49,050.
Describing Kia’s latest creation at its launch earlier this month, Biermann said: “I think for the Kia brand, the Stinger is a special event because no one expects such a car — not just the way it looks, but also the way it drives. It’s a whole different animal.”
Speaking to Autocar in Detroit, Biermann described the car as an excellent all-round gran turismo car rather than an out-and-out track car. "It's a really sporty car but still a good all-rounder. It has a high handling level but is still comfortable and has a spacious interior." Stability was also a key part of the GT's appeal, he added, and the confidence it inspired when you pushed it. Biermann said that he hoped the Stinger GT would have an impact on the handling of the rest of the Kia range. "We're on the way to do that; we already have some good-handling cars and are on the way to doing more."
Biermann said the GT had been one of the key reasons he switched to Kia from BMW. "There's this car and a few others. I thought: 'Wow, what an interesting challenge.' I wanted to get them dancing, complete and fun to drive. It was still a concept when I joined, but I guided it. Such a car you never leave alone, you babysit it."
The model was designed at Kia’s European design studio, where it was overseen by Gregory Guillaume. He said: “We were convinced from day one that we would take this concept car [the 2011 GT] from motor show plinth to the road, knowing that we have the freedom within Kia to stretch the brand in many directions. There was no doubt we were going to build it, so it became our halo performance car.”
An interview with design boss Peter Schreyer
What can this do for the Kia brand?
"It's a milestone, a strong statement. I think it's a brand shaper. This is a special moment. We're a challenger brand but we have a strong design philosophy. The brand and design already have consistency. This car makes the brand more sporty, more fresh, younger. It shows in that we can compete at a high level with some of the premium brands."
Can it really challenge premium brands?
"The premium brands have a loyal following, but in the US market this is not such a problem. We have a great chance US, which is key for the car."
Did you try and stick closely to the GT concept?
"We had a concept car that got so much positive feedback from media, dealers and customers that we went into looking at it for production and the business case. It got more and more serious. I still remember when we first knew about making it; it was good news for all of us and we had time to really refine the design. Put it next to the concept and you can see it's really close, and in some ways it's even better."