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Since I work as a car journalist, people always ask me about my favorite car brand. Honestly, I tell them, I don’t have a favorite. My opinions are greatly shaped by whatever car I happen to be test driving at the time. That said, whenever someone asks me about Kia, I give the brand a glowing review. “Really?!” is almost always the immediate response. “Yes,” I persist. “Really.”

The head honchos at Kia USA are well aware of this perception problem and that’s why they are so excited about the Kia Stinger. Despite top marks in initial quality and reliability by both JD Power and Consumer Reports, most of the general public still thinks of Kia as a budget brand. Kia aims to change that reality for good with the introduction of the 2018 Kia Stinger.

There’s no doubt that the Kia Stinger is THE most anticipated car in the Kia lineup. Those of us in the industry have been hearing the rumblings since Kia first debuted a wicked Stinger Concept car at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The automotive social media grapevine lit up. “Please make this car,” was the rallying cry and Kia took heed. Now, three years later, the Stinger is rolling out and it’s certainly worth the wait.

First of all, it’s fast, but you can probably guess that just by looking at its sleek lines and body kit. What you can’t tell, however, is that the Stinger’s top speed is faster than both the BMW 640i GC and the Porsche Panamera! Now that’s an upgrade. Speaking of the Panamera (Porsche’s 4-door model), even though it has more overall interior space, the Stinger has more cargo space and rear legroom. Better use of space means more room for you and your friends.

Plus, Kia execs is so confident about their first high-performance vehicle that they even let us compare the Stinger to the Porsche Panamera on the racetrack—I was impressed by the gesture alone. To have Kia, a brand not known for performance, toss its hat in the ring with a brand known exclusively known for performance vehicles is an exhibition of epic swagger. 

Full disclosure, the Porsche may have been a bit better but the difference was slight. Combine that with the fact that you could literally buy three Stingers for the price of one Porsche, and the comparison starts to blur considerably. Essentially it boils down to this: Are you willing to pay an extra $60K for the Porsche cache, or are you willing to buy the whole family a Stinger for the same price and comparable performance?

And, to be clear, the Stinger is not slouch on the track and it’s high end all around. It offers a 15 speaker Harman Kardon sound system with subwoofers under the seat so you can really feel the bass, adjustable lumbar support for those long road trips, 18 different drivers assistance features and a zero-60 speed that rivals some supercars.

Just the Facts

  • 2018 Kia Stinger goes on sale late this year and 25K people already plan to buy it
  • Kia hopes to have 50K pre-orders by the Super Bowl, where they will debut a new ad for the car
  • Top speed of 167 MPH
  • 0-60 in 4.7 seconds
  • 365 horsepower