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Stinger Missile

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For the second time in just over a month, I find myself really excited about a car to which I previously wouldn’t have given a second thought. The Hyundai Kona Iron Man Edition was a really cool bit of marketing wrapped around a really interesting, performance-oriented wagon/small SUV. But the 2019 Kia Stinger is a totally different beast altogether.

The Stinger name has come up in conversation several times recently, and I’ve seen more than a few social media posts from Road & Track and Car and Driver touting the insane performance of Kia’s first Euro-sedan competitor, but I had never seen one in the wild. Honestly, I didn’t even recognize it from the pictures I had seen floating around online, but that probably has more to do with me seeing the Kia badge and not giving it much thought or attention beyond that. In hind sight, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As I was leaving the Target parking lot, I found myself puking out behind what looked like some new type of Audi S4 with a really sleek aftermarket body kit. I couldn’t make out the emblem when the car first passed in front of me, but I could definitely hear the rumble of the engine, and the hum of the quad chrome exhaust tips reverberated with familiar notes of an M3 or AMG as I closed in from behind. Even the taillights and rear fascia looked straight off of an S4 or S5, and my jaw hit the floor when I recognized the black-and-chrome Kia emblem on the trunk. When the driver signaled a turn into the next shopping center, I couldn’t help but follow just to try and glimpse a full, 360-degree view of this strange creature.

I must note that modern cell phone technology has made nerding out over new cars so much more satisfying. The driver got out and walked into Target, and I snuck up and got a closer look. At the same time, I was desperately pulling up all of the fact sheets and articles that I had scrolled past and ignored for the last year. The Stinger GT (this particular car was the upgraded model) is an absolute head-turner. It’s a revised version of Hyundai’s Genesis G70, which is already a stunner, but the Stinger has unique front vents and a grille that are outlined in chrome, as well as two aggressive little ports in the hood, which are almost reminiscent Maserati’s signature ovals. Nothing about the car looks over-designed or unnecessary, and the body lines are slick, muscular, and satisfying. And did I mention the 3.3L twin-turbo V6 that puts out a whopping 365 horsepower? Oof! Kia’s highly praised AWD is a perfect match, and after watching videos and reading several articles about the Stinger tearing up the Nurburgring, I can honestly say that Europe has their work cut out for them. I would jump in a Stinger any day of the week, and the sub-$40k price tag wouldn’t make me feel one bit guilty about it.

-Trey Fennell

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