THE LAW of diminishing returns is something a Kia Stinger GT owner soon becomes intimately acquainted with. I was minded of this fact on a recent drive of Mercedes-AMG’s ballistic C63 S in Germany. It’s a mightily impressive thing, but that 375kW sedan will set you back about $165K. Each kilowatt would therefore cost you $440. Compare that to this 272kW Stinger where one kilowatt is priced at pretty much half that: a bargain basement $221. The Civic Type-R, recent winner of sister title MOTOR’s Bang For Your Bucks, will set you back a sniff more at $223/kW. Even a Suzuki Swift Sport’s nags are pricier at $247 a pop.
Should you delve a little further down the Stinger V6 line up, the equation becomes even sweeter, the $48,990 330S delivering sterling value at $180 per kilowatt. This seems to represent the most attractive 200kW+ performance bargain available to Aussie buyers, but does piling it high and selling it cheap necessarily make it a good buy or should you fork out for the pricier GT?
The answer to this question, like so many others, is ‘it depends’. The narrower 225mm-wide rear tyres of the 330S means it can’t get its power to the bitumen quite like the 255mm-shod GT, blunting its pace off the line. The steel-sprung 330S also lacks the GT’s adaptive dampers, although opinion is divided on whether the adaptive units are blessing or blunder. For what it’s worth, I prefer the passive damper set-up.
The optimum solution could well be a model running the passive suspension tune with the wider rear tyres. Such a car does exist. The Stinger 330Si is priced at $55,990 but hardly anybody buys this apparent ‘Goldilocks’ model, largely because the GT ladles on a load of extra kit for a mere $4K premium. Aside from the adaptive dampers, it gets a 360-degree camera, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beam, headlights that turn as you do, a powered front passenger seat, adaptive bolsters and memory function for the driver’s seat, heating and cooling for both front chairs, dark chrome exterior bits, a powered sunroof, a head-up display, a 7.0-inch LCD supervision cluster, wireless phone charging, aluminium interior finishes, and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, among other things.
There are a few items in that list that, a few months in, I wouldn’t really want to be without. What’s more, the Stinger GT offers all that gear for 80 percent of the price of one optional AMG carbon-ceramic brake disc. It’s hard to argue with a deal like that. Diminishing returns be damned.