“Rock You Like A Hurricane” is the song that got me into rock ‘n’ roll, the first song I learned on the cheap Squire Stratocaster copy I begged my mom to buy me, and the reason every Motor Trend test car has SiriusXM’s Hair Nation stored in its radio presets. 1984’s Love At First Sting album cemented the Scorpions’ place in pop culture history, led by the band’s second-highest-charting single ever, from which it borrowed its name. I was thinking about all of this just before setting out on the Nurburgring Nordscheife in the 2018 Kia Stinger GT, less than four hours’ drive from the Scorpions hometown in Hanover, wondering if this wildly out of character Kia would inspire any feelings similar to the first time I heard that song.
In all my years in this job, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to drive the ‘Ring. In all the coverage we’ve given the new Stinger, this is the first time I’ve sat behind the wheel, period. None of this was communicated to the driver of the car we were instructed to follow, a Belgian pro racer hired by Kia to help with durability testing on the ‘Ring, nor was he apparently informed the first lap was to be a warm-up. Within five seconds of entering the track, he had the throttle pinned, and it was up to me to keep up with him. I’m not entirely convinced he was aware he was leading journalists at all and not just doing hot laps. We never spoke, before, during, or after. Our cars were equipped with radios. They stayed silent.
This story illustrates beautifully how easy it is to drive the Stinger GT quickly. I got behind the wheel of a car I’d never driven on a track I’d never been to (the freaking Nrburgring, no less) and kept up with the hired gun not because I’m the world’s best driver but because the Stinger GT is just that confident and composed on a racetrack.
Being Kia’s first-ever rear-drive sedan, it’s first-ever sport sedan, and the quickest car the company has ever sold, placing the Stinger and Stinger GT in the automotive world can be difficult. With the turbocharged four-cylinder Stinger expected to start around $30,000 and the twin-turbo V-6 Stinger GT hoping to come in just under $40,000 and top out around $50,000, it’s playing right in the heart of the market with competitors of all types.
However Kia decides to pitch it and wherever the market chooses to place it, the Stinger GT is already a success. Kia has proved it can step outside of its comfort zone and build unfamiliar cars as well as its stalwarts. Moreover, Kia has proved it can build a sports car good enough to take on the world, on its first try, no less. Regardless of its place in history, the Stinger GT is simply a great sport sedan, and that’s something we can always get behind.