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2018 Kia Stinger is a bona fide high-performance grand tourer

Shapely five-door takes dead aim at German luxury automakers with surprising accuracy.

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Chris Paukert

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As a sporting five-door, Kia's Stinger has ambitions of competing against cars like the BMW 4 Series Gran Turismo and Audi A5/S5 Sportback. 

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The Stinger is Kia's first production rear-wheel-drive car, although this particular example features optional all-wheel drive.

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Proportions are generous, with a particularly long wheelbase. Overall length splits the middle ground between Audi's A5 and A7 Sportback models.

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The Stinger's amply proportioned cabin skews more sport than luxury in its aesthetic.

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Final Stinger pricing has not yet been revealed, but the estimated starting price is $31,900 plus delivery. Top-shelf all-wheel-drive GT models with lots of options like this test car are likely to sit around $50,000.

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Owing to local tastes, in America, these dual exhausts are tuned to speak a bit more freely than in other markets.

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Yes, there's body roll in aggressive cornering, but it's not out of hand.

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The GT's 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V6 puts out 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. 

To borrow a phrase, "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."

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Embedded navigation is simple to use and snappy.

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A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes on four-cylinder models, while an 8-inch display like this one is fitted to V6 examples. 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

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Cargo capacity is listed at a healthy 23.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up.

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Flip down the 60/40 split rear seats, though, and you'll liberate 40.9 cubic feet of space.

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Front seats strike a nice balance between all-day comfort and support for enthusiastic driving.

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There's plenty of rear seat legroom, and surprisingly decent head space. 

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Rear seats are 60/40 split folding for maximum utility.

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A pair of analog gauges bookend a color multi-function screen. No fully digital display is offered.

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All but base Stinger models receive LED headlamps.

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Brake lights are LED, but weirdly, only certain models receive matching LED turn signals.

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Hopefully Kia will see fit to making these functional front fender vents also available in body color.

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A range of advanced driver assist safety technologies are available, including intelligent cruise control with stop and start and auto-brake with pedestrian detection.

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These plastic hood panels aren't vents at all. 

For a genuine performance car like the Stinger, this sort of non-functional jewelry isn't just unnecessary, it's tacky.

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