Kia has a treat in store for driving enthusiasts in the form of the Stinger GTS, a special edition of the sporty hatchback that has bold orange paint and carbon fiber -- and more exciting performance to back up the looks. The Stinger GTS debuted Wednesday at the 2019 New York Auto Show and starts production this spring.
The key to the Stinger GTS's sportier handling is a new all-wheel-drive system called D-AWD, which Kia promises splits the difference between the way a rear-drive and an all-wheel-drive Stinger drives. For starters, the system equips the car's rear axle with a mechanical limited-slip differential. On top of that, D-AWD offers unique torque-distribution settings for different drive modes. In Comfort, 60% of the power goes rearwards, while in Sport that bias rises to 80%. Yet in Drift mode -- yes, in a Kia! -- you get 100% rear-biased torque.
Kia also reprogrammed the car's electronic controls to better understand when drivers might be pulling off their best Tokyo Drift impressions, adding "Counter Steer Detection" logic to the stability control and ensuring the eight-speed automatic transmission won't upshift prematurely during said drifts.
The Kia Stinger GTS uses the car's 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, meaning you'll have 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque with which to initiate those slides. A rear-wheel-drive GTS is also available, too, but the D-AWD model is perhaps the more interesting configuration for the way it can swap between driving four and two wheels at the push of a button.
Roadshow had a chance to sample a prototype Stinger with D-AWD last September, slipping and sliding the car in Drift mode. Back then, Kia engineers told Roadshow's Antuan Goodwin that even in Drift mode the car might send a bit of torque to the front wheels to help with stability. But as Antuan's tire-smoking antics proved, the car will still get pretty darn sideways in that Drift mode.
Aside from the mechanical tweaks, the 2020 Kia Stinger GTS gets visual upgrades in the form of "Federation" orange paint, extra exterior carbon fiber, a new GTS badge on the back and a Stinger logo in place of the usual Kia badge on the trunk. Equipment on the inside includes an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, a suede headliner, a sunroof, wireless phone charging and a 720-watt Harman Kardon sound system.
The Kia Stinger GTS will be limited to just 800 units. Pricing will start at $44,000 before destination for the rear-wheel-drive GTS, with the D-AWD model listed from $46,500.