Automotive

Kia shows a sportier look with GT4 Stinger concept

Kia shows a sportier look with...
The GT4 Stinger has track wheels
The GT4 Stinger has track wheels
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There are no plans to put the GT4 Stinger into production
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There are no plans to put the GT4 Stinger into production
The GT4 Stinger made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show
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The GT4 Stinger made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show
Rear view of the GT4 Stinger
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Rear view of the GT4 Stinger
The GT4 Stinger is a sporty hatchback
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The GT4 Stinger is a sporty hatchback
Rear view of the GT4 Stinger
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Rear view of the GT4 Stinger
Grille of the GT4 Stinger
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Grille of the GT4 Stinger
The GT4 Stinger has vertical LED headlamps
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The GT4 Stinger has vertical LED headlamps
The GT4 Stinger has pronounced wings
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The GT4 Stinger has pronounced wings
The GT4 Stinger has track wheels
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The GT4 Stinger has track wheels
The GT4 Stinger has a simple design vocabulary
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The GT4 Stinger has a simple design vocabulary
The GT4 Stinger at the Detroit Auto Show
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The GT4 Stinger at the Detroit Auto Show
The GT4 Stinger is a call back to the affordable sports cars of the past
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The GT4 Stinger is a call back to the affordable sports cars of the past
The GT4 Stinger has 315 bhp
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The GT4 Stinger has 315 bhp
The GT4 Stinger has aluminum wheels
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The GT4 Stinger has aluminum wheels
The GT4 Stinger seats four
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The GT4 Stinger seats four
The GT4 Stinger has a molded body shell
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The GT4 Stinger has a molded body shell
The GT4 Stinger has Pirelli tires
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The GT4 Stinger has Pirelli tires
The GT4 Stinger vertical headlamps
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The GT4 Stinger vertical headlamps
The GT4 Stinger vertical headlamps
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The GT4 Stinger vertical headlamps
The GT4 Stinger interior
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The GT4 Stinger interior
The GT4 Stinger dashboard is minimalist
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The GT4 Stinger dashboard is minimalist
The GT4 Stinger interior
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The GT4 Stinger interior
The two-door GT4 Stinger
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The two-door GT4 Stinger
GT4 Stinger headlamps
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GT4 Stinger headlamps
The GT4 Stinger has pronounced wings
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The GT4 Stinger has pronounced wings
The GT4 Stinger emphasizes a simple design
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The GT4 Stinger emphasizes a simple design
The GT4 Stinger has a four-cylinder engine
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The GT4 Stinger has a four-cylinder engine
The GT4 Stinger is based on Kia's racing experience
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The GT4 Stinger is based on Kia's racing experience
The GT4 Stinger was designed in Irvine, California
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The GT4 Stinger was designed in Irvine, California
Rear detail of the GT4 Stinger
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Rear detail of the GT4 Stinger
The GT4 Stinger has rubber mat floors
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The GT4 Stinger has rubber mat floors
The GT4 Stinger with side design detail
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The GT4 Stinger with side design detail
The profile of the GT4 Stinger is simple
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The profile of the GT4 Stinger is simple
The GT4 Stinger
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The GT4 Stinger
The GT4 Stinger logo badge
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The GT4 Stinger logo badge
The GT4 Stinger design team
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The GT4 Stinger design team
The GT4 Stinger interior
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The GT4 Stinger interior
The GT4 Stinger interior
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The GT4 Stinger interior
The GT4 Stinger storage area
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The GT4 Stinger storage area

To be honest, when somebody says “sports car,” the word “Kia” doesn’t leap to mind. However, the South Korean car maker wants to rectify that and after dropping a trail of hints, Kia’s GT4 Stinger concept got its world première on Monday at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Kia sees this stripped down track car as “hearkening back to the glory days of pure-bred, affordable sports cars.”

The idea behind the rear-drive 2+2 GT4 Stinger concept was to build around the experience that Kia gained in races such as the Pirelli World Challenge. This produced a minimalist design strategy that put an emphasis on light weight, functionality and performance at the expense of creature comforts.

The first thing you notice about the GT4 Stinger concept is how its “Ignition Yellow” body is molded onto the bespoke chassis. “We gave the car a shrink-wrapped appearance,” says Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center America (KDCA). “It’s as if the body panels were formed around the chassis instead of merely welded to it.”

The GT4 Stinger interior
The GT4 Stinger interior

With a wheelbase of 103.1 in (261.8 cm) and a width of 74.4 in (188.9 cm), the GT4 Stinger concept weighs in at merely 2,874 lb (1303 kg), which helps with the power to weight ratio. It also enjoys a weight distribution of 52 percent in the front and 48 percent in the back.

As to style, the vocabulary was the product of Kia Motors Corporation president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer. The GT4 Stinger concept has a surprisingly simple, almost boxy profile broken by the arching wings to accommodate the track tires, while the rear of the passenger cabin with its full, raking fall away has echoes of ‘70s sports cars.

The low-set grille to enhance engine cooling is definitely a Kia and the air inlets set into the front bumper seem designed to prove you can keep the brakes cool without fitting something off a jet engine. Kia hasn't even made a big deal of the carbon composite splitter to increase downforce, so the dominating features bookending the grille are the vertical LED headlamps.

Rear view of the GT4 Stinger
Rear view of the GT4 Stinger

With slotted, transparent A-pillars, the passenger cabin has a greenhouse effect with 270 degrees of visibility. “It’s as if the GT4 Stinger is wearing wraparound sunglasses,” says Kearns.

Under the bonnet is a tuned version of Kia’s 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine that cranks 315 bhp (235 kW) and is hooked into a close-ratio, six-speed manual gearbox. There’s an independent double wishbone suspension, bespoke 20-in aluminum center-lock wheels with carbon fiber inserts carrying 275/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires, and the brakes are Brembo Gran Turismo with two-piece, 15-in cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers.

Rear view of the GT4 Stinger
Rear view of the GT4 Stinger

The inside of the GT4 Stinger shows that when Kia says minimalist, it’s not kidding. It’s positively stark by today’s standards with rubber mat floors, a very basic dashboard, and not even a stereo. There are racing seats and two in the back, but if you happen to have legs you might want to sit in front. There’s also a storage compartment in the boot with a lid that at first glance makes you think that this is a rear engine car.

“It’s a totally selfish design, says Kearns. “The design team at KCDA is full of gearheads and enthusiasts, and the GT4 Stinger is the perfect car for that kind of crowd.”

Kia says that there are no plans to put the GT4 Stinger into production, but that the company has a record of creating production cars that contain elements of its concepts.

Source: KIA

16 comments
BigGoofyGuy
This is one car they should definitely put into production. It looks - IMO - really nice. I think it would be very popular if it is made.
Lewis M. Dickens III
If David was at the show last night he saw the Designers selections for Best of show Production and Concept. Ford Mustang and Volvo's CX (effectively a shooting break). The Designers do not necessarily go along with the Autowriters. I'd bank with the Designers. This Kia was one of the finalists. Bill
Dieter Heinrich
not even a stereo. I like it. Looks like copy of 1994 Mazda MX3.
bergamot69
I like it- I like it a lot. Kia are perhaps where Datsun (Nissan) and Toyota were in the '70s, when they launched the very successful 240Z and Celica respectively. Neither were known for sporty cars, more for economy cars, and those 'halo' models helped establish them as mainstream manufacturers. Previously, small sportscars were left to us British, with our ageing and not wonderfully reliable (although highly characterful) MGBs, Midgets and TR series (sadly Triumph were about to show how not to do a small sportscar- with the woefully badly built TR7, that only came good with the TR8 convertible- not even sold in it's home market!). I really hope they launch this car almost as-is (but c'mon guys, this ain't a Caterham, so a radio, air con and electric windows shouldn't be out of the question) -and on both sides of the pond.
tampa florida
ok, how much??$$$$
Jon A.
Would those headlights be street-legal? I thought they had to be a certain minimum height off the road.
Ed
Now! If they can keep this thing under $45k, they will have an undisputed winner!
Nick 1801
If they can get the handling right, this could be a real winner--but not at $45k. You can buy a Toyota T86 for a third less than that.
Stephen N Russell
KIa, mass produce this, awesome, Id drive this as rental alone.
noteugene
Great looking car. Not manufacturing it is a mistake. But what do you expect? They put plenty of cars on the road that they shouldn't. Note that I didn't say that they should produce the car as is. Definately need a stero. And I love the exterior except for the dual colors in rear. Never cared for the bumblebee look. Go with solid colors.