PH likes a Kia Stinger GTS. So much so, in fact, that it beat a BMW 4 Series in our twin test. By combining punchy performance with no little dynamic finesse, it wholly overdelivered on the Kia sporting saloon promise. Being rare, interesting and different only further helped its cause.
Now Kia has seen fit to update the Stinger GTS, revealing this new special edition at the New York show. By and large it's the same as before, packing the same 370hp twin-turbo V6 and fundamental architecture, jazzed up with 'Federation' orange paint, carbon fibre for the grille, side vents and mirrors plus a new 'Stinger' logo replacing the Kia one on its rump. There are new swathes of Alcantara inside, too.
Of far more interest, though, is the new dynamic all-wheel drive (D-AWD); Kia says the technology is a result of Albert Biermann striving for a more capable Stinger, and that it "inspires more spirited driving." While there is already an all-wheel drive Stinger in the US, this new GTS edition aims to sit between that and the rear-drive car in terms of dynamics; to that end even the Comfort drive mode only sends 40 per cent of power forward, with Sport reducing that further to just 20 per cent. And, yes, there's Drift Mode, which is 100 per cent rear drive and holds gears without upshifting.
To achieve all this, D-AWD gets a mechanical limited-slip diff that isn't there in the regular all-wheel drive car and a rework of the assist systems (Slip Control, Counter Steer Detection and stability control), as well as a tweak of the gearbox shift pattern. So in theory there's the best of both worlds, as you'd get in more expensive sports saloons like the M5 and E63, boasting all-wheel drive security and rear-drive lairiness. Or, in Kia's words, an "all-wheel drive system peppered with rear-wheel drive DNA." Nice.
Interestingly, Kia will launch the 800-unit Stinger GTS limited edition in both RWD and D-AWD variants, with prices in the US expected to start at around $44,000. There's no word yet on how that 800 number will be split between the two models, or whether the D-AWD update will make it beyond this version, although it would seem bizarre to invest in the technology only to restrict it to relatively few cars. One to keep an eye on. In the meantime, those who prefer their sports saloons unsullied by all-wheel drive traction will be pleased to find half a dozen GTS Stingers in the PH classifieds, this ex-demo being of particular interest - with just 100 miles on the clock, it's already £5,000 off...