Kia GT4 Stinger Concept, FR-S Fighter?

Posted by: Matt Iasenzaniro onJanuary 13th, 2014

On January 9th, Kia teased us with a shadowy rendering and sparse, albeit specific, details of the concept they were bringing to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Dubbed the GT4 Stinger, Kia claims this sport compact concept will feature a tuned version of their 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder sending 315 horsepower through a 6-speed manual to the rear wheels, which are fitted with 275/35R20 Pirellis. It sounds lovely. But then we’re reminded that it’s a concept when they list center-lock wheels, which we all know won’t see the light of day on a production model, surrounding Brembo brakes.

I wrote the above paragraph before the actual reveal, and had another paragraph in this space lauding Kia for their near-complete range of attractive vehicles. I didn’t just postulate that the GT4 Stinger would be a sleek and sexy concept, I stated it as fact. I called it a “stunning piece of work” and “strong competition” for the FRS and BRZ. It’s what I expected, so I figured I’d save myself some time and just write it up beforehand.

Well, I was wrong. I was wrong from every angle. Our other photographer disagrees with me on the front, but I think the GT4 is an example of how not to design a sports concept. Toyota got it right with the FT-1. Any car that you can reasonably compare to the Batmobile is a winner in my books. The Stinger looks like something I’ve seen before but I can’t quite put my finger on it. That’s gonna bug me. All I know right now is that I don’t like it.

You know what else I didn’t like? The entire presentation sounded like a teenager on a forum. Telling us that the only way to make a sports car is with rear wheel drive, manual transmission and no electronics. That anything else was compromising the connection between the driver and the car. I suppose that also sounds like a lot of old men on Porsche forums. Either way, it sounded juvenile.

They made it very clear that sports cars are outside of their comfort zone, and that’s fine. I applaud Kia for taking a chance, and I truly hope that they continue to design and refine the GT4 into a production sports car. I don’t think anybody expects them to get it right the first time, I certainly don’t, but they can’t release a great sports car if they don’t try. Despite having largely negative things to say about the specifics, I came out of the presentation excited for the future of the GT4, and rooting for Kia to keep doing what they’re doing.

Just, you know, do it a little differently.

Check out the gallery and let me know what the GT4 Stinger reminds you of so I can sleep at night.

When he’s not busy writing about cars or travelling the auto show circuit, he’s reviewing apps and video games related to the automotive world. In his spare time, Matt is a motorcycle enthusiast, trying not to kill himself riding along with the crazy local drivers. He is also a weekly contributor in the Motor Mondays segment on News Talk 770.

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