Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Kia shows a sportier look with GT4 Stinger concept

By

January 14, 2014

The GT4 Stinger has track wheels

The GT4 Stinger has track wheels

Image Gallery (29 images)

To be honest, when somebody says “sports car,” the word “Kia” doesn’t leap to mind. However, the South Korean car maker wants to rectify that and after dropping a trail of hints, Kia’s GT4 Stinger concept got its world première on Monday at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Kia sees this stripped down track car as “hearkening back to the glory days of pure-bred, affordable sports cars.”

The idea behind the rear-drive 2+2 GT4 Stinger concept was to build around the experience that Kia gained in races such as the Pirelli World Challenge. This produced a minimalist design strategy that put an emphasis on light weight, functionality and performance at the expense of creature comforts.

The first thing you notice about the GT4 Stinger concept is how its “Ignition Yellow” body is molded onto the bespoke chassis. “We gave the car a shrink-wrapped appearance,” says Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center America (KDCA). “It’s as if the body panels were formed around the chassis instead of merely welded to it.”

The GT4 Stinger interior

With a wheelbase of 103.1 in (261.8 cm) and a width of 74.4 in (188.9 cm), the GT4 Stinger concept weighs in at merely 2,874 lb (1303 kg), which helps with the power to weight ratio. It also enjoys a weight distribution of 52 percent in the front and 48 percent in the back.

As to style, the vocabulary was the product of Kia Motors Corporation president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer. The GT4 Stinger concept has a surprisingly simple, almost boxy profile broken by the arching wings to accommodate the track tires, while the rear of the passenger cabin with its full, raking fall away has echoes of ‘70s sports cars.

The low-set grille to enhance engine cooling is definitely a Kia and the air inlets set into the front bumper seem designed to prove you can keep the brakes cool without fitting something off a jet engine. Kia hasn't even made a big deal of the carbon composite splitter to increase downforce, so the dominating features bookending the grille are the vertical LED headlamps.

Rear view of the GT4 Stinger

With slotted, transparent A-pillars, the passenger cabin has a greenhouse effect with 270 degrees of visibility. “It’s as if the GT4 Stinger is wearing wraparound sunglasses,” says Kearns.

Under the bonnet is a tuned version of Kia’s 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine that cranks 315 bhp (235 kW) and is hooked into a close-ratio, six-speed manual gearbox. There’s an independent double wishbone suspension, bespoke 20-in aluminum center-lock wheels with carbon fiber inserts carrying 275/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires, and the brakes are Brembo Gran Turismo with two-piece, 15-in cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers.

Rear view of the GT4 Stinger

The inside of the GT4 Stinger shows that when Kia says minimalist, it’s not kidding. It’s positively stark by today’s standards with rubber mat floors, a very basic dashboard, and not even a stereo. There are racing seats and two in the back, but if you happen to have legs you might want to sit in front. There’s also a storage compartment in the boot with a lid that at first glance makes you think that this is a rear engine car.

“It’s a totally selfish design, says Kearns. “The design team at KCDA is full of gearheads and enthusiasts, and the GT4 Stinger is the perfect car for that kind of crowd.”

Kia says that there are no plans to put the GT4 Stinger into production, but that the company has a record of creating production cars that contain elements of its concepts.

Source: KIA

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
16 Comments

This is one car they should definitely put into production. It looks - IMO - really nice. I think it would be very popular if it is made.

BigGoofyGuy
15th January, 2014 @ 06:09 am PST

If David was at the show last night he saw the Designers selections for Best of show Production and Concept.

Ford Mustang and Volvo's CX (effectively a shooting break).

The Designers do not necessarily go along with the Autowriters.

I'd bank with the Designers.

This Kia was one of the finalists.

Bill

Lewis M. Dickens III
15th January, 2014 @ 08:12 am PST

not even a stereo. I like it. Looks like copy of 1994 Mazda MX3.

Dieter Heinrich
15th January, 2014 @ 08:29 am PST

I like it- I like it a lot.

Kia are perhaps where Datsun (Nissan) and Toyota were in the '70s, when they launched the very successful 240Z and Celica respectively.

Neither were known for sporty cars, more for economy cars, and those 'halo' models helped establish them as mainstream manufacturers. Previously, small sportscars were left to us British, with our ageing and not wonderfully reliable (although highly characterful) MGBs, Midgets and TR series (sadly Triumph were about to show how not to do a small sportscar- with the woefully badly built TR7, that only came good with the TR8 convertible- not even sold in it's home market!).

I really hope they launch this car almost as-is (but c'mon guys, this ain't a Caterham, so a radio, air con and electric windows shouldn't be out of the question) -and on both sides of the pond.

bergamot69
15th January, 2014 @ 08:30 am PST

ok, how much??$$$$

tampa florida
15th January, 2014 @ 09:27 am PST

Would those headlights be street-legal? I thought they had to be a certain minimum height off the road.

Jon A.
15th January, 2014 @ 10:12 am PST

Now! If they can keep this thing under $45k, they will have an undisputed winner!

Ed
15th January, 2014 @ 10:26 am PST

If they can get the handling right, this could be a real winner--but not at $45k. You can buy a Toyota T86 for a third less than that.

Nick 1801
15th January, 2014 @ 03:07 pm PST

KIa, mass produce this, awesome, Id drive this as rental alone.

Stephen N Russell
15th January, 2014 @ 06:11 pm PST

Great looking car. Not manufacturing it is a mistake. But what do you expect? They put plenty of cars on the road that they shouldn't. Note that I didn't say that they should produce the car as is. Definately need a stero. And I love the exterior except for the dual colors in rear. Never cared for the bumblebee look. Go with solid colors.

noteugene
15th January, 2014 @ 06:12 pm PST

Nice design... reminds me of the Cub Scout derby car I built in 1965. Ahead of my time? No, just carving some wood.

Mark A
15th January, 2014 @ 11:34 pm PST

To all those people wanting a stereo - IT IS A SPORTS CAR! Add an aftermarket MP3 player if you are that much of a noise tragic.

I would ditch the rear seats to give a bit more grocery bags space and market it as a 2+0 with perhaps a bit of engineering to keep the weight ratio about the same.

Maybe put the transmission as a pair with the rear end?

The Skud
15th January, 2014 @ 11:42 pm PST

Less is more. This design exemplifies that. Much better than most of the over-sculpted exotics of today.

owlbeyou
16th January, 2014 @ 06:33 am PST

Add an electric motor with about 250hp, a stereo and upgrade the floormats and I'll buy it!

rwinchester8042
16th January, 2014 @ 11:01 am PST

Here's to hoping that as much of this concept makes it to production as possible - I like it. A LOT.

Mike Barnett
21st January, 2014 @ 07:22 am PST

It'll be nice for Kia t build this, to compete on the Toyobaru twins! and also nissan's IDX concept! even if its price at dead even $30g's but make sure that the handling & tranny is perfectly balanced, it'll sell like lollipop with weeds on em!.... and I'd snag me one :) just saying

Washington Jun Vega Jr.
19th August, 2014 @ 05:03 pm PDT
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