The Kia Stinger is being plunged into the depths of Arctic winter for the latest stage in its development, ahead of its market introduction in the second half of 2017. Moving from the company’s European test base at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany, engineers are now subjecting Kia’s new fastback sport sedan to extreme sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions of northern Sweden.
Engineers are striving to balance drivers’ desires for predictable, stable, gran turismo-inspired handling in all conditions, with the engaging, fun-to-drive character of a rear-wheel drive sport sedan. From the development facility in Arjeplog in Swedish Lapland, Kia is honing the car in a range of low-grip driving environments, including a skid-pan, handling circuit and slalom test on the surface of the frozen Uddjaure Lake.
This latest stage of the car’s testing program will enable Kia’s 100-strong Stinger vehicle development team to fine-tune the car’s handling in both rear- and all-wheel drive configurations, as well as the characteristics of the various electronic aids on offer to drivers.
When it goes on sale, the Stinger will be Kia’s first sedan available with a choice of rear- and all-wheel drive. The rear-biased all-wheel drive system is designed to offer optimal grip in all conditions; all-wheel drive models are fitted with an enhanced Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system, which automatically applies power and braking force to the appropriate wheels, to maintain course under heavy cornering or on low-grip surfaces. Buyers of the rear-wheel drive Stinger will be able to specify an optional mechanical limited slip differential for maximum handling adjustability – and driver enjoyment. 3.3-liter Stinger GT models will feature fully-switchable Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control System (TCS) in the ‘Sport’ mode.
Albert Biermann, Kia’s Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, comments: “Testing the car in these extreme conditions allows us to focus on the stability and predictability that the Stinger offers drivers, in every configuration and in all driving conditions. Crucially, these tests allow us to engineer a car which retains the driving appeal that buyers look for in a sport sedan. We want enthusiastic drivers to be able to enjoy the thrill of driving their Stinger in all conditions without compromising on safety.”
Kia’s winter test regime will also ensure the durability of the Stinger, with temperatures as low as -31°F (-35°C) enabling Kia to validate every element of the car in the most extreme conditions. In all markets in which the Stinger will be sold, it will offer owners the same industry-leading warranty as Kia’s more conventional models.