2014 Kia Forte Research Click to hide
Sometimes selfish intentions can truly be the best. Kia's GT4 Stinger concept car could be the best example of that in a long time. There is no intention to build it—not that there ever was—but Kia isn't hemming and hawing about this one. It ain't happening.
Instead, Kia built the GT4 Stinger in its California design studio for precisely two reasons: To celebrate its recent success with racing in the Pirelli World Challenge Series and because YOLO. That's right, Kia's doing it because it can, which we find to be more of a wakeup call from the good ol' U.S. of A. to the oftentimes overly conservative Korean management to get its butt in gear and let Kia have the sports car it deserves as the supposedly fun, sporty brand in the Korean conglomerate of Hyundai Motors. Time to put up or shut up.
Who It's For
It's for Kia's U.S. staff to get Korea to greenlight the sports car it deserves. But more than that, it's an image-booster for Kia, which is still oftentimes seen as an underdog of an automotive brand.
Kia's top U.S. designer, Tom Kearns, says of the GT4 Stinger, "If anyone were to ask if Kia has the credibility to build a car like the GT4 Stinger, I would simply point out that Kia races–and wins–against some of the world’s most legendary performance brands."
If Kia were to ever build the 2,874-pound GT4 Stinger, it would likely compete with the Scion FR-S, Mazda Miata, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and Ford Mustang, among others.
What more could a car enthusiast want than 315 horsepower being fed from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Oh yeah, maybe…
- 235/35-series front and 275/35-series rear tires sitting on 20-inch wheels.
- A 103.1-inch wheelbase and 169.7-inch overall length, putting it smaller than the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and just larger than the Scion FR-S.
- LED headlights and tail lights.
- Red pull straps to close the doors a la the Porsche 911 GT3.
- No stereo, because your stereo is a turbocharged engine.
What We Think
Is the Kia GT4 Stinger concept purely a piece of fan fiction from within Kia Motors? Of course it is. But surprisingly, Kia made this concept look fairly production-feasible.
Talk to anyone in the public eye of Kia Motors America, and he or she will rant and rave about performance cars. Some of them are even amateur racers themselves. They yearn for a car like this, and they deserve it with their tenacity to get Kia Korea to support dumping money into a racing program.
The problem, however, is this: In Korea, Hyundai and Kia's corporate offices are right next to another. While nearly identical, Hyundai's office is slightly taller. This is intentional, and it's a metaphor for how the companies operate in real life. Hyundai handicaps Kia. If the Kia GT4 Stinger were ever to reach production, would Hyundai go all Tonya Harding on Kia to keep the pecking order intact?
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