KIA’S local engineering team is already hard at work tailoring the eagerly awaited Stinger high-po sedan’s suspension and steering for Australia’s unique roads, but the development work might, for the first time, include bespoke exhaust note tuning as well.
Like all Kia models, the most powerful and potent vehicle to date from the South Korean car maker will get a specific chassis tune for cars sold locally. But while a majority of its performance credentials are right for Aussie drivers, its bark might not resonate as well, says Kia.
Kia Motors Australia media and corporate communications manager Kevin Hepworth explained that the engineering team was confident the Singer’s performance would appeal to Australian tastes, but there were ongoing “discussions” regarding a possible exhaust tune specific for Australian cars.
“They’re actually quite happy with Stinger out of the box,” he said. “There were no major concerns.
“Is there a question mark? Probably the sound and that’s something you can tune.”
Kia’s local development team is led by technical consultant Graeme Gambold, and Hepworth said the vehicle dynamics expert has a free reign to fettle any part of the Stinger he sees fit.
“Gambold has permission to work on whatever he likes on this car."
Under the direction of Hyundai Motor head of vehicle testing and high-performance development Albert Biermann, engineers and some of Kia’s local team evaluated other high-performance vehicles including BMW’s M4 and the C63 from Mercedes-AMG.
The result is a vehicle that exhibits predictable on-the-limit performance similar to BMW’s 2000 E46 M3, according to Hepworth.
“This car has a better compliance ride to it and that’s where Biermann actually benchmarked it,” he said.
“You almost have to tell it to shut up because it’s talking to you that much.”
The Stinger has been drawing significant interest from Australians since the model’s global reveal at the Detroit motor show in January this year, and Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith confirmed that the orders were already rolling in ahead of the car’s launch in September.
“We’ll either have two or three variants of the 2.0-litre and the 3.3 and we will be spot-on with our pricing and very competitive,” he said.
“The dealer network is holding more than 30 orders and we have a landing page on our website that gets on average 30 [customers] a day asking for more information. Every order is for the 3.3.”
Meredith predicted that the majority of sales would be in favour of the 3.3-litre to the tune of 75 percent and that initial sales would increase to about 400 per month.
“We think in the initial stages between 200 and 300. That will be driven by inventory. In 2018 we would like to build it up to about 400 a month.”
When the model was unveiled in its native South Korea, the Stinger rolled out wearing new sub-brand badging to the surprise of the Australian Kia team, but Meredith confirmed that no such strategy would be applied to the model down under.
“Why would you take something that’s going to enhance your brand like nothing before and change the badge? There is no way known that we would even contemplate it”.