Kia turns up the heat with the Stinger GTS

Is the Kia Stinger a Korean BMW, a Genesis G70 wearing combat boots, or the reincarnation of Pontiac’s G8? The answer is probably “a little of all”—but with the new GTS variant, Kia is taking a page from Porsche’s book, as well.

Porsche fans know that the GTS trim generally includes quite a bit of performance and convenience equipment at a combined markup below the individual option cost. The Stinger GTS hits those marks; starting at $44,000, the limited-to-800-units model offers a sunroof, a Harman/Kardon sound system, and a wireless charger. A unique Federation orange color pairs with Alcantara and carbon-fiber interior trim, while a unique Stinger rear badge replaces the Kia logo in back.

The drivetrain is the same twin-turbo six found in the Stinger GT, while the base model offers RWD as standard equipment. Choosing AWD brings a mechanical change: the new system, called D-AWD, offers a mechanical limited-slip rear diff. There are three available power distribution modes: Comfort sends 60 percent of drive to the back, Sport sends 80 percent, and Drift can put 100 percent of the power through the rear wheels. It will also hold a chosen gear at redline.

Will anybody take their Stinger GTS drifting? Probably not until the second or third owner. In the meantime, prospective first owners can smile at the value proposition: the RWD model is projected to start at $44,000, with D-AWD moving the bar to $46,500. It’s a lot of car for the money; that much, at least, is pure Kia.

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