Made by Gearheads, for Gearheads
Before naysayers get on Kia‘s case about building something like the GT4 Stinger Concept, the Korean automaker wants them to remember that it does, in fact, know a thing or two about racing. And winning. In 2012, Kia and Kinetic Motorsports captured the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Drivers and Team Championships in 2012 with the Forte Koup, and just last year, it finished second in the Manufacturer’s Championship of the Pirelli World Challenge. So yeah, it does have the credibility to make a rear-drive sports car — and a good looking one, at that.
Kia says the GT4 Stinger’s design is “completely selfish.” That’s because the team that designed it is full of gearheads. So in a way, they built their dream Kia sports car. From the front, the Stinger bears a slight resemblance to the Audi R8, with stacked vertical LED lights sandwiching a revised tiger nose grille that sits lower to the ground. A white glowing surround makes the grille pop out, as does a multi-layered satin-black border. Underneath the bumper, which also has front-brake cooling vents molded into it, a carbon fiber front splitter helps provide added downforce.
While Showing that it was designed at the same place where the crazy-cool Track’str concept was born, it has similar characteristics, such as floating roof and transparent A-pillars, which the center’s chief designer says make the concept look as though it’s wearing wraparound sunglasses. Moving back, the GT4 sports a glass hatch with a blacked-out panel that contrasts nicely with the LED taillights. Dual exhaust ports on the rear bumper sit just beneath that.
On the hood, two chrome accent pieces that look like hood scoops add visual interest, while bulging front wheel wells shelter 235/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero tires. Around back, beefier 275/35R-20 Pirellis create even more muscular arches, and to help keep the weight down, tires were mounted to 20-inch aluminum wheels with carbon-fiber inserts. Underneath those are Brembo Gran Turismo two-piece 15-inch cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers. With a 103.1 wheelbase, the GT4 Stinger is nearly 10 inches shorter than Forte Sedan (169.7 in), 1.6 inches wider than a Cadenza (74.4 in), and its roofline 9 inches lower than a Rio. It’s got all the right proportions. Weighing 2874 lbs, weight distribution is 52 percent at the front and 48 percent at the back.
Inside, the GT4’s cabin is quite simple. Opening the 2 + 2 sports car’s lightweight doors reveals leather racing bucket seats and an LED instrument panel that glows red. More racy elements include aluminum pedals, a D-shaped steering wheel, and red-stitched pull handles in place of regular door handles. In keeping things simple, Kia didn’t even bother to add carpeted floors (just rubber floor mats) or a stereo. But then again, who needs a stereo when you can listen to the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4’s soundtrack? The same mill powers the turbocharged Optima racecars, in which it makes more than 400 hp, but in this application, the engine was tuned to make 315 horses. A six-speed manual helps drive that power to the rear wheels, while a quick-ratio steering rack aims to provide direct feedback.
Kia says there are no plans to put this concept into production, but the same was said about the wild Track’str concept, which was somewhat brought to life in the new 2014 Kia Soul. The automaker has shown rear-drive sports car concepts before, but the chances of seeing something similar to this are now better than ever.