2021 Kia Stinger 3.3l GT Review

2021 Kia Stinger GT Road Test Review

You can’t buy a new HSV or FPV high performance sedan any more but there’s a worthy replacement in Kia’s brutally fast, bad ass Stinger GT.

They upgraded it last month with more safety kit, new exterior details and, at last, a bi-modal exhaust with a pleasing snarl from its quad tips.

Heart of the Stinger GT remains the same… a 3.3-litre, direct injection, twin turbo V6 with dual variable valve timing and other trickery to achieve an impressive 274kW/510Nm driving the rear wheels through an eight speed auto. Thankfully there’s a limited slip diff’ to control this amount of power and torque feeding through a single axle.

It’s pretty well set up too with firm 5-mode dynamics and large Brembo brakes on 19-inch wheels with sticky, fat rubber.

The body is handsome in an Audi sort of way – big, long, lithe with an aggressive stance.

Kia offers some funky colours including a bright orange and the sparkling blue of the test Carbon model.

The Carbon model is now gone as it was a limited edition and is replaced by the new, revised model that costs less, has more kit and more power.

It’s a win/win for performance sedan car enthusiasts on a reasonable budget as the Stinger GT retails for $63,260… incredible value measured against similar size cars with similar performance potential, especially the extortionately priced Europeans and the 20+ year old Chrysler 300 SRT.

No word yet on a 3.5-litre Stinger mooted for 2021 with over 300kW and who knows how much torque. Bring it on I say.

In the meantime, this puppy is plenty good enough for serious sports sedan drivers.

MY21 Kia Stinger 3.3L GT


As already mentioned, Stinger looks like a European prestige car with a long bonnet and smooth overall lines.

It has large, wheel-arch filling alloys, fat rubber, quad exhaust tips and now, funky LED head and tail lights with a chequered flag pattern on the rears.

The styling leaves no doubt Stinger is a rear wheel drive, a point highlighted by pumped our rear guards and pronounced “nosey” profile of the car.

It has a sweeping coupe style roofline and large vents cut into the rear of the front guards with long indentations behind for emphasis. A patterned LED light array is set into the headlights with the same pattern for the grille which has a pair of air deflecting canards in the lower aperture. That’s pretty cool.

Stinger has a menacing stance as befits a large sports sedan and the alloys are a stylish star design in keeping with Stinger’s heavily vented exterior styling.

You can still tell it’s a Kia from the grille shape and headlights along with other styling cues. That’s good because Kia makes attractive cars.

MY21 Kia Stinger 3.3L GT


Looks like a premium Euro car inside in terms of materials used, layout and styling.  The stitched leather dash is punctuated in the centre by a large touch screen with three round air vents underneath making five all up in the dash.

The flat bottom heated wheel has multiple functions and paddle shifters.

Generously ribbed seats in soft, perforated  Nappa leather upholstery feature decent side bolsters and multiple adjustments up front.

It’s a four seater, possibly five at a pinch.

A powerful Harman Kardon audio system is fitted along with handy head up display to make driving easier.

It interior is snug for such a large car and the boot is big.  Mood lighting offers a number of selections inside.

Splashes of metallic fascia and stitched leather lend a sporty feel to the classy looking interior.

MY21 Kia Stinger 3.3L GT


Stinger GT gets all the kit and I’m sure there are no options.

How good is that?

The top of the range Stinger GT scores;

  • 5 driving modes
  • Brembo brakes
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Launch control
  • Premium audio
  • Paddle shift
  • QI charger
  • Dual zone climate control
  • Head up display
  • Heated wheel
  • Auto LED headlights
  • Bi-modal exhaust
  • Multi phone connect

MY21 Kia Stinger 3.3L GT

Drive and Engine

No shortfalls here. This car rips. Push the throttle and Stinger GT pays full attention offering up exhilarating performance across a broad range. The engine itself has oodles of torque meaning impressive throttle response and yet still runs on regular unleaded 91. Not sure but I think more power can be had with 98 in the tank. But you really don’t need it.

The engine is smooth and relatively quiet and can sip as little as 10.2-litres/100km… not bad in a near 1800kg sedan. It’s aided by the super slick 8-speed auto transmission.

In full comfort mode Stinger GT feels like a sporty luxury saloon car but in full battle mode it tightens right up sharpening reflexes and turning into more of a sports sedan/GT touring car.

Like Ford’s heavy Mustang, Stinger GT belies its bulk delivering sharp dynamics that include quick steering and plenty of bite from the big Brembos. The adaptive suspension is taut and doesn’t get caught short when road conditions change suddenly.

The new exhaust is a big improvement providing the necessary sound track for such a potent performance car.

Some of the advanced driver assist tech is over intrusive in my opinion but others might find it useful.

Barely a whistle can be heard from the twin turbo set-up that exhibits zero turbo lag at any speed.

The drive feel of a powerful rear wheel drive is arguably better than anything else… all-wheel drive and front wheel drive. That’s because the rear axle really only has to transmit power, braking and cornering inputs pushing the car instead of pulling it.


Stinger GT is a 5-star car but the new model goes further with more refinements to the autonomous emergency braking system and also junction control that monitors turns across traffic lanes and brakes if necessary.  Lane keeping assist is an annoyance as far as I’m concerned but you can turn it off.

New Stinger GT has more advanced safety kit that I care to list here suffice to say nothing is left out. Particularly like the safe exit alert for alighting passengers.

Stinger GT might be a big, fast car but it has inherent safety margins not provided by lesser vehicles such as the large, wide tyres with a big contact patch, Brembo brakes and responsive dynamics.

It’s a compelling safety package.

Good Bits

  • Value
  • Performance
  • Safety
  • Unbeaten warranty 7yr/unlimited

Not So Good Bits

  • Heavy
  • Intrusive safety systems
  • Temporary spare


Love this car, everything about it. The Europeans can’t come within a bull’s roar of Stinger GT on price and most don’t look as good. And in performance terms, Stinger GT is right up there with the best of them.  Imagine what will happen when a 3.5 litre version arrives….

MY21 Kia Stinger 3.3L GT

Facts and Figures: 2021 Kia Stinger GT

  • Engine: 3.3L V6 twin-turbo petrol producing 274kW/510Nm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Warranty: 7 years/ unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: South Korea
  • Price: from $63,260 MLP*

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

KIA Stinger 3.3L GT Review


Love this car, everything about it. The Europeans can’t come within a bull’s roar of Stinger GT on price and most don’t look as good. And in performance terms, Stinger GT is right up there with the best of them.  Imagine what will happen when a 3.5 litre version arrives….


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