The 2019 Kia Stinger is a fantastic car at a fantastic price. Aiming to take on lofty rivals like the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and Audi S5 Sportback, the Stinger offers both performance and luxury without the premium that comes with a typical luxury car badge. While nobody was asking Kia to build a sport sedan, it can certainly be said that nobody's complaining at this point either.

Best Value

If you're going to get a Stinger, it's best to get a GT model with the 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine and other performance features like Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport tires, and a mechanical rear differential for rear-wheel-drive models. With that in mind, the base-level Stinger GT trim is an excellent value with a starting price of $40,295. While all-wheel drive is a useful feature for those in northern climates, we'll stick with the standard rear-wheel drive to accentuate the great chassis.

For this price, you get performance that's on par with the BMW 440i Sportback or Audi S5 Sportback, but at a discount that approaches $15,000. Furthermore, the Stinger GT offers standard leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 12-way adjustable seats, LED headlights, and a 100,000-mile warranty. Like many Kia models, the Stinger has limited options and packages across its range, with none offered at this trim level.

  • Model:2019 Kia Stinger GT
  • Engine:3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6
  • Output:365 hp / 376 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy:19 City / 25 Hwy
  • Options:None
  • Base Price:$40,295 (including the $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$40,295

Performance

Kia Stinger

The Kia Stinger has the performance chops to meet its goal of taking on the luxury sport sedan market, at least in some trims. The base engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder with 255 horsepower, which may not provide the thrill of power, but will be far thriftier and allow Stinger buyers to access some of the more luxurious features while sipping gas at a much slower rate. Stinger GT models get a more powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that can sling the sedan to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. The eight-speed automatic gearbox will shift quickly in sport mode, but it isn't as fast as a dual clutch and it gets confused sometimes when using the paddle shifters. All-wheel drive is available as an option on all models, but the standard configuration is rear-wheel drive.

The Stinger's other weapon is its chassis, which was developed by a former chief engineer from BMW's M performance division. The Stinger handles very nicely in quick-changing corners that require weight to be transferred from one side of the suspension to the other, as the car is well balanced. It's a lot of fun on the back roads, and Stinger owners will want to make more countryside excursions. However, it's not quite up to track day duties, no matter what Kia says.

While the Stinger GT does get excellent rubber in the form of Michelin Pilot Sport tires, they aren't wide enough to really make use of that extra grip. Additionally, the suspension is still prone to body roll that can be disconcerting if taking to the race track. With that in mind, the Kia Stinger GT is really more of a grand tourer (as the name implies), than a sports car.

Style

The Stinger follows the same form as the Audi A7: a hatchback that's stylishly disguised as a sedan. The rear trunk of the Stinger is actually a liftback that allows for bulkier items than one would think. However, instead of a wagon-like rear end, Kia has given the Stinger a graceful curve that's undeniably pleasing to the eye. Kia did include some overcooked design elements, but the car is very well designed from an aesthetic standpoint overall.

Inside, Kia clearly did their research on the environment that luxury sport sedan buyers want to sit in. All Stingers come with leather seats, while more upscale Nappa leather is available, and the materials used in the cockpit have a premium feel and look. While the tacked-on look of the infotainment screen rising out of the dash is something we still don't love, the climate control dials and vents are very well laid out with a minimalistic aesthetic often seen from German cars. Stinger GT models are available with a red leather interior that looks very sporty, while the four-cylinder models get grey leather upholstery in addition to the standard black.

The Best and Worst Things

Kia Stinger

The Stinger's biggest trick is the skill that Kia has been perfecting for years at this point. It lands solid punches at luxury cars from both a performance and a feature standpoint, while keeping prices over $10,000 less than its intended marks. The Stinger is a tremendous value for money, and it requires very little sacrifice over a BMW or Audi, unless you consider the badges themselves to be worth the price of admission.

The Stinger could however use some thicker tires to help it corner even better, and while we're at it, some more power wouldn't hurt either. While 365 horses isn't exactly peanuts, we think this chassis could easily take 450 horsepower without batting an eye. Additionally, Kia could probably blend the external gill vents into the shape of the car a little better, but they aren't the only ones culpable of these styling miscues these days.

Right For? Wrong For?

The Stinger is perfect for those who want luxury sport sedan performance and features, but don't want to deal with the financial burdens of luxury sport sedan ownership. Not only is the Stinger far cheaper than all of its rivals, it also comes with a much more generous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty that should last the original owner at least twice as long as those of the German cars. No longer will you have to worry about the potential maintenance nightmares that seemingly come with luxury car ownership the day that the warranty expires.

The Stinger isn't a car for those who care about the panache of a badge. If you dread the idea of telling people that you bought a Kia over a BMW or an Audi, just spend the extra money on the badge that makes you happy. We understand; it's hard to wrap your head around a luxury Kia.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 Kia Stinger is a great value and a great car. An Audi A5 Sportback may be better in some areas, but it probably isn't $15,000 better. Overall, the Stinger shows that Kia is capable of building high-reaching machines that can achieve the goals set out for it, and it makes the future that much more bright. The Stinger will only get better from here on out, and it's already pretty lofty.