The unveiling of the Kia Stinger GT at the Detroit Motor Show has given fresh hope to fans of affordable rear-drive performance orientated sedans.
The 272kW four-door will be powered by a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, and with a keen circa $50,000 price tag it makes a convincing sales pitch.
Set to land in Australia in September this year, the Stinger GT arrives at what will be a strange time for the Australian market. The current spec VF II Commodore will only have roughly another month of manufacturing before it passes, with the next-gen imported model arriving early in 2018.
The Kia takes the Commodore’s formula of performance engine up front and driven wheels at the rear at the same time when Holden’s flagship transitions to an all-wheel drive, atmo V6 layout.
Both the Stinger and NG Commodore will only be available with automatic transmissions (sorry three-pedal fans). The Kia is armed with an eight-speed, while the Holden literally goes one further with a nine-speed ‘box.
Meanwhile the next Commodore will depart from the nameplate’s V8 heritage, with the most powerful engine becoming the 230kW/370Nm ‘LGX’ 3.6-litre direct-injection V6, which will only be available in AWD. The Stinger GT gets a 3.3-litre version of Hyundai-Kia’s ‘Lambda II’ 60-degree V6, fitted with a pair of turbochargers and producing 272kW at 6000rpm and 510Nm from 1300-4500rpm. Kia is targeting 5.1sec to 100km/h and a 269km/h top speed from the production GT.
Inside, both will have room for five passengers. However, from our experience with the Stinger four is the more likely comfort limit, while Holden has already admitted you won’t be able to fit three burly blokes across the rear pew of the new model like the Commodores of old.
Price remains the biggest question mark with the next Commodore. While Kia is aiming firmly at the $50,000 ballpark, Holden has remained rather coy on how much the import Commo will cost, and how near or far that sticker price will be from what adorns current models.
For argument’s sake, it should also be noted there may be a few VF II Commodores still in showrooms when the Stinger GT arrives, technically making the two sales rivals. An SS-V Redline with a six-speed manual costs $54,490 currently, and its 304kW/570Nm 6.2-litre LS3 V8 is a proven performer.
Say what you will about the demise of the RWD Aussie sports sedan, but let us rejoice in the knowledge that affordable rear-drive four-doors aren’t dead yet!