RAY MASSEY: Kia’s Stinger is a proper humdinger

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With its festive red livery and a name that sounds like one of Santa’s speedier reindeer, what better present to give yourself this Christmas than the sporty and bold new Stinger grand tourer from Kia.

Having put one through its paces on UK roads this week, I can tell you this is a proper belter. Think of it as a coupe-like muscle car from South Korea — a rival to America’s Ford Mustang.

But it’s also gunning for BMW’s 440i Gran Coupe and Audi’s S5 Sportback. Though they are all around the same price bracket, Kia believes its fully loaded packages — less to spend on extras — will tempt buyers.

Cracker: Kia's new Stinger is a South Korean muscle car that combines blistering performance with a very sensible seven year warranty

Cracker: Kia’s new Stinger is a South Korean muscle car that combines blistering performance with a very sensible seven year warranty

Kia, whose UK HQ is in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, expects to sell about 1,500 in the UK in the first year with deliveries starting in the New Year. 

I drove the top-of-the-range Stinger GTS model with a 3.3 litre turbo V6 petrol engine linked to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox (with manual paddles) that takes you smoothly, but with gusto, from 0 to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds.

Top speed, should you be on a German autobahn, is a mighty 168 mph. And for an all-in, on-the-road price of £41,140, it’s packed tighter than Santa’s sleigh with masses of kit as standard. 

Competition: The Stinger is a rival for BMW's 440i Gran Coupe and Audi's S5 Sportback

Competition: The Stinger is a rival for BMW's 440i Gran Coupe and Audi's S5 Sportback

Competition: The Stinger is a rival for BMW’s 440i Gran Coupe and Audi’s S5 Sportback

Grunt: The top-of-the-range Stinger GTS model is equipped with a 3.3 litre turbo V6 petrol engine linked to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual paddles

Grunt: The top-of-the-range Stinger GTS model is equipped with a 3.3 litre turbo V6 petrol engine linked to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual paddles

Grunt: The top-of-the-range Stinger GTS model is equipped with a 3.3 litre turbo V6 petrol engine linked to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual paddles

Performance: The GTS model will take you from 0 to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds and hit 168mph

Performance: The GTS model will take you from 0 to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds and hit 168mph

Performance: The GTS model will take you from 0 to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds and hit 168mph

This includes leather upholstery, front-heated seats and a heated steering wheel.

My favourite — which should be standard on every car — is a fighter-pilot style head-up display so you can see satnav and traffic information reflected through the windscreen without taking your eyes off the road.  

There are five variants, with prices from £31,995 for a 2-litre turbo GT Line with a 244 bhp engine that does 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph. 

With its long, low bonnet I felt like I was cruising the mean streets in a U.S. cop film. 

It also has four full-sized doors and ample passenger room.

Styling was overseen by global design boss Peter Schreyer — who created the original Audi TT — and, to cap it all, it has Kia’s class-leading seven year or 100,000-mile warranty.

Looks: Styling was overseen by global design boss Peter Schreyer — who created the original Audi TT

Looks: Styling was overseen by global design boss Peter Schreyer — who created the original Audi TT

Looks: Styling was overseen by global design boss Peter Schreyer — who created the original Audi TT

Practical too: The rear seats fold down to provide a very useful load space

Practical too: The rear seats fold down to provide a very useful load space

Practical too: The rear seats fold down to provide a very useful load space

Cabin: Standard kit includes leather upholstery, front-heated seats and a heated steering wheel

Cabin: Standard kit includes leather upholstery, front-heated seats and a heated steering wheel

Cabin: Standard kit includes leather upholstery, front-heated seats and a heated steering wheel

Choice: There are five variants, with prices from £31,995 for a 2-litre turbo GT Line with a 244 bhp engine that does 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph

Choice: There are five variants, with prices from £31,995 for a 2-litre turbo GT Line with a 244 bhp engine that does 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph

Choice: There are five variants, with prices from £31,995 for a 2-litre turbo GT Line with a 244 bhp engine that does 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph

LAND ROVER LAUNCHES POSH 4X4 VAN

If Santa needs help delivering presents, Land Rover’s new commercial van version of its Discovery could do the job.   

The second and third rows of seats have gone and the rear windows have been blanked to create arguably Britain’s poshest 4×4 van with 1,856 litres of boot space. Prices from £40,333 plus VAT. 

Haughty hauler: The new Land Rover ban has 1,856 litres of boot space and a £40,333 price tag

Haughty hauler: The new Land Rover ban has 1,856 litres of boot space and a £40,333 price tag

Haughty hauler: The new Land Rover ban has 1,856 litres of boot space and a £40,333 price tag

F1 TECH IN AN ELECTRIC BIKE 

Fancy  a state-of-the-art vehicle developed with F1 know-how and made of super-light carbon fibre that you can pick up for the cost of a second-hand car?

It’ll even help you burn off all those festive calories if you over-indulge on the Christmas pud and mince pies.

The £4,790 Lavelle Power Bike combines a lightweight carbon fibre frame with a powerful 250w electric motor 

The £4,790 Lavelle Power Bike combines a lightweight carbon fibre frame with a powerful 250w electric motor 

The £4,790 Lavelle Power Bike combines a lightweight carbon fibre frame with a powerful 250w electric motor 

Costing £4,790, it’s not a car, but a hand-built high-tech bike boosted by a 500W battery and a 250W electric motor and automatic gears to pull away fast at junctions. 

The Lavelle Power Bike, created by Oxford-based Formula 1 and aeronautical engineers, doubles as an exercise bike and health monitor you can programme for your fitness as you ride.

It has built-in satellite GPS diagnostic systems for both the ride and the rider’s performance, including monitoring the cyclist’s heart. 

The Lavelle has built-in satellite GPS diagnostic systems for both the ride and the rider’s performance, including monitoring the cyclist’s heart.

The Lavelle has built-in satellite GPS diagnostic systems for both the ride and the rider’s performance, including monitoring the cyclist’s heart.

The Lavelle has built-in satellite GPS diagnostic systems for both the ride and the rider’s performance, including monitoring the cyclist’s heart.

It will reduce or increase the level of assistance according to the rider’s fitness or surrounding landscape.

But it won’t carry the children or keep you dry — which a decent second-hand supermini for the same price can.

Quirky British car company Morgan is to put its EV3 electric three-wheeler into production next year.

The Malvern-based manufacturer has teamed up with Frazer-Nash Energy Systems to create its first battery powered car, inspired by aero-engine race cars, classic Thirties motorcycles and Fifties fantasies.

It’ll have a 120-mile range.Expect to pay around £52,000 — about 60 orders have been placed already.

TOP DIY INVESTING PLATFORMS

 





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