BEFORE you ask, the Stinger is still being driven around in Eco mode in a bid to silence the optional sports exhaust. I thought I’d give it a chance and try another mode but it’s only really bearable when drowned out by the stereo. One upside to schlepping about in the Kia’s most relaxed mode is that the last tank of fuel was consumed at the unexpectedly frugal rate of 9.3L/100km.
The downside of bypassing the exhaust’s bi-modal mode is that the Stinger’s now more silent than the Red October and something is not quite right at the stern. There’s a persistent noise that I haven’t quite got to the bottom of, but it sounds as if the tailgate latch isn’t quite engaging properly, setting up a constant rattle on anything other than baby’s-bottom-smooth roads.
Of which there are precisely none in my vicinity.
Other than that, the news is all good. Although we tend to think of the Stinger as something at the sportier end of the class, it makes a beautifully relaxed GT car if you keep the suspension in its comfort mode and just make the most of the active cruise control and the Gold Class-proportioned front seats with their heating and cooling functions.
On the daily commute, the biggest challenge is usually staying awake. This languorous side to the Kia’s personality only makes the full 272kW, when deployed, even more startling.
In the wet, you need to be ready for the tail to have a bit of a slither, even with the stability control resolutely retained. The electronics are casual, only really intervening if it thinks you’re intent on swapping ends. Punch it away from the lights on a damp road and it’ll buck and yaw quite entertainingly, but it’s something that’ll raise eyebrows if you’re not ready for it.
Once you’re used to it you can either pre-empt it with a feather of the throttle or just wade in and ride it out.
The tyres look to be retaining a decent semblance of tread on them, despite the lax stability control. While performing some cornering duties for our snapper, it was noted that the fronts almost looked as if they were rolling off the rims. The pressures were all correct, and this merely lends weight to my suspicion that these Continental ContiSport Contact 5 tyres might be just a tad doughy for the power and weight of the Stinger.
For the Stinger’s Aussie launch on the Wakefield Park circuit, the Contis mysteriously disappeared and were replaced by Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rubber. That speaks volumes.