The Kia Stinger was one of the most anticipated cars of 2017. Here was Kia giving real drivers what they wanted, while everyone else is going for hybrids and crossovers. Its gorgeous and unexpected and a value, well if you’re willing to drop nearly 50 large on the top trim GT2. But how does it stack up to the German competition that Kia thinks will be cross shopped against the Stinger?
Using Kia’s own site, lets compare the models they have listed there, which honestly, are pretty lofty models to compare to: The Porsche Panamera V6, Audi A5 Sportback,and the BMW 4 and 6 Series GC. Kia’s own site states that the Stinger, in twin turbo V6 trim, beats all of those to 60. But across all trims, how does it stack up in the only metrics that matter: power/performance and price?
Firstly, here are the Stingers engine specs since I have detailed the Stinger pricing before. The Stinger comes with 2 engine choices: a base 2.0 turbo I4 putting out 255 horses and 260 lb/ft of torque with a claimed 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds; and the 3.3 twin turbo v6 with 365 horses and 376 lb/ft of torque with a 4.7 0-60 time. Each engine comes with Kia’s 8 speed auto.
First up: Audi A5 SportBack: The A5 Sportback is Audi’s newest addition to the A5 family. What has always been a coupe and convertible only models has grown into what is essentially BMW level of confusion: a 4 door version of a 2 door version of a car that is a 2 door version of a 4 door car (an A5 is essentially a 2 door A4) with an added hatchback for the marketing term Sportback. Its starts at $42,600. The only engine option is a a 2.0 4 with 252 horses and gives the Sportback a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds. Power gets routed through a 7 speed S Tronic transmission.
Engine/trans advantage: Kia: With 2 engine options, both out power the Audi, with the Stinger’s 4 being up 3 horses. The Kia’s transmission also gets 1 gear more, 8 to the Audi’s 7. The only thing Audi has over the Kia in this department is the standard AWD, while AWD on the Stinger is a $2200 option on every trim level regardless of engine.
Pricing advantage: Kia: With few options, you can get a base A5 Sportback Premium with the S Line sport package for just under $44 grand. Keep in mind though that with this being an Audi, its pretty nicely equipped for the standard features, but to get anything good out of it pricing can go up fast. A base Stinger starts at $32,800 and is kind of spartan, especially in the exterior and interior color choices. Things get weirder when you compare the top trims of both. A fully loaded 2.0 A5 Prestige starts at $50,200, that’s with no options mind you. A loaded Stinger is just $100 bucks less. And being Kia, its loaded and there aren’t any other options besides accessories. The Audi is just getting started. Just choosing the S Line package, cooled seats and a driver assistance pack takes you to nearly 55 grand.
Vs the A5 Sportback, the Kia looks to be the better buy, though Audi gives you more options, but your going to pay.
Next up: BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe: The 4 Gran Coupe is the epitome of Bavarian confusion and is just like I described the A5 above but with it being BMW is even more confusing: its a 4 door version of a 2 door car which is itself a 2 door version of a 4 door car but with a name that implies 2 doors because of a sloping roofline. The 4 GC comes in 2 flavors: 430i starts at $43,300 and comes with BMW’s extra named TwinPower Turbo 2.0 I4. It puts out 248 horses and 258 lb/ft of torque and is good for a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. That power gets routed to the rear wheels through an 8 speed transmission. The 440i, starting at $49,700, uses BMW’s smooth turbo I6 putting out 320 horses and 330 lb/ft of torque to the rear wheels.
Engine/Trans advantage: Kia: Again, Kia bests the competition. The specs don’t lie. In both engines, the Kia out powers the BMW: 7 horses in the 430 and a whopping 45 in the 440. They are evenly matched in the trans department though with both having 8 speed autos.
Pricing Advantage: Kia: This is almost a no brainer for the Kia being a Kia. They are made to undercut the competition by thousands and it really shows when you compare the BMW pricing. Like I mentioned before, a bare bones, leatherette seated no optioned BMW 430i is $43,300. Just adding, for example, black leather with red stitching requires the addition of a $2300 premium package. You’re already at nearly 48 grand just by wanting real leather and no other options. The 440i is even pricer. Fully optioned with things like the M sport Package, Premium package, track handling package, Apple CarPlay etc, a 440i GC is $61,875,$11,280 more than a loaded Stinger GT2.
Vs the 4 Series, the Stinger looks to be a fantastic buy, especially when you compare a loaded 440i to a Stinger GT2. You’re paying almost 12 grand less for a car that’s more powerful and faster, and probably will drive just as good.
The Next 2 cars are oddballs to me. Oddballs in that Kia seems to be really reaching with the comparisons of these 2: the Porsche Panamera V6 and the BMW 640i Gran Coupe.
First up: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe: Another example of what I like to call Bavarian Confusion is the 6 Gran Coupe. Its the same level of confusion as the 4 Series GC except its a large 4 seater. BMW likes to tout that it has a roomier back seat and 2 actual doors for people that wanted a 6 but not the inconvenience of the convertible. The 6 Series can be had with 2 engine options: the 640i comes with a 3.0 TwinPower Turbo I6 with 315 horses and 330 lb/ft of torque. The 650i comes with a 4.4 liter TwinPower Turbo V8 putting out 445 horses and 480 lb/ft of torque. Both can be had with an 8 speed auto as the only trans option.
Engine Advantage: Kia,kinda: When I say kinda, I mean that it only bests the 6 Series in the 640i, which I find to be woefully under powered for how big the car is. The Stinger GT out powers the 640i by a whopping 50 horses. And that’s where it counts for Kia for marketing purposes. But the 6 Series out performs the base 2.0 powered Stinger in both the 640 and 650 trims (not to mention the V8 out powering the Stinger GT by 80 horses). Its got 60 horses on the Stinger 2.0 in 640i trim and a whopping 190 in 650 (Of course. Its a V8)
Price advantage: Kia: but this comes with caveats of course. First, in both 640 and 650 trim, the BMW is on another planet price wise to the point buyers of the 6 may not even know that the Stinger exists. A Kia is something they vaguely recall their nanny driving. But nonetheless for comparisons sake the Kia of course undercuts the 6 Series. Prices rise fast for it. A no optioned 640i is $81,400. The 650? Don’t get me started, but optioned up, both can easily get near or crest 6 figures.
Vs the 6 Series, there kind of isn’t really a real world comparison. Like I mentioned, 6 Series buyers aren’t going for a Stinger. that’s just the reality. And the Stinger’s only marketing point, being more powerful than the 640i, only holds up to a point. the point being that you don’t take a look at the base Stinger 2.0 or the V8 powered 650i.
Lastly: the Porsche Panamera V6: Kia comparing themselves to Porsche? Are they inhaling exhaust fumes from old Sephia’s? Probably, but they are touting the Stinger GT to be faster than the Panamera V6 on their site. Starting at an eye watering $85 grand, the Panamera V6 is powered by Porsche’s 330 horse turbo V6 putting power to the rear wheels through Porsche’s 8 speed PDK. Of course the Panamera is available with other engine options that blow the Stinger out of the water, but Kia was careful to only choose the V6 version.
Engine advantage: Kia*: Yes Kia for those of you surprised. The Stinger GT actually is more powerful and faster than the Panamera. It up 35 horses over the Porsche and is faster to 60, getting there in in 4.7 seconds compared to the Porsche’s 5.6. And here’s where that asterisk i put comes in. Of course this is all on the surface to get wtf looks from consumers by Kia. For one the Stinger is faster than the Panamera, but not just because its 35 horses down, but because its heavier by 172 lbs. Which can make all the difference. And once you get to the other Panamera models, the Stinger is both out powered and will be slower.
Pricing advantage: Kia: But like the 6 Series, probably even more so with the Panamera, who’s really going to cross shop the 2? You cant even change a color on the Porsche without raising the price nearly a grand. And with Porsche options, you can very easily get a base Panamera well into 6 figures with the myriad of options they have.
Vs the Panamera, the Stinger win only counts for those people that want bragging rights to say they are faster than those rich stay at home wives who drive base Panamera’s.
But there you have it folks. In some ways, the Stinger really is the better buy. But honestly no one is going to cross shop the 2, especially not with the 6 and Panamera. Its all just for bragging rights or those times Stinger drivers will encounter a BMW or Audi driver at the gas pump next to them.