South Korean automaker Kia rolled into the 2014 North American Auto Show in Detroit with a new GT4 Stinger Concept car, both shocking and awing the media and public. The 2+2, rear-wheel-drive sports car features plenty of aggressive design elements, plus the performance muscle to back those looks up. The creation is a product of Kia’s California design team, which is also famous for the 2012 sporty Trackst’er concept car. The GT4 Stinger Concept was so compelling it generated considerable buzz, with some organizations like AutoBlog.com declaring it the best vehicle of the show.
The new concept car comes on the heels of Kia’s recent success in the Pirelli World Challenge racing series, where the automaker used a pair of turbocharged GTS-class Optimas. Kia applied the motorsports lessons it learned in aggressive turbocharging and weight reduction to the GT4 Stinger, creating a vehicle that is just as comfortable on the road or track.
“Driving enjoyment was the number one priority in designing the GT4 Stinger. It’s an authentic 2+2 sports car that can turn heads as a daily driver while also being right at home on the track. It’s about purity, simplicity and timelessness. The GT4 Stinger is a throwback to days when driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn’t muted by electronic gimmickry,” said Tom Kearns, the chief designer for Kia Design Center America.
Like the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, Kia’s GT Stinger Concept eschews the excessive comforts typically found in Grand Touring vehicles, opting instead for a Spartan interior that focuses on one thing: allowing the driver to engage in a pure motoring experience.
Powering the new concept car is a tuned version of Kia’s 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine. Peak output is a claimed 315 horsepower, which adds quite a bit of credibility to the automaker’s performance aspirations. The same engine is used in the Optima racecars, only further tuned produce upwards of 400 horsepower. Mated to the engine is a close-ration six-speed manual transmission. Putting all of that power to the road are 275/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires on the rear wheels, and 235/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero tires on the front wheels. The tires are wrapped around a set of custom 20-inch aluminum wheels with center locks and carbon fiber inserts, helping reduce unsprung weight and improving handling. Stopping power comes from Brembo Gran Turismo two-piece 15-inch cross-drilled rotors coupled with four-piston brake calipers.
Much to the dismay of automotive enthusiasts, Kia has stated that it currently has no plans to bring the GT4 Stinger Concept to production. Still, Kia has a past track record of taking such concept vehicles and using them as strong inspiration for production models, meaning it is highly likely that a compact, 2+2, rear-wheel-drive sports car is coming from the automaker sometime in the near future.