Kia Stinger V8S

Missing our V8 sedans? Korea could have the answer

i l l u s t ra t i o n b y BRENDON WISE wo rd s b y T RENT G IUNCO

IF YOU’RE a car enthusiast in any capacity, you’d be hard-pressed not to know what the Kia Stinger is.

Luckily it has since proven mostly worthy of that attention – having it included in our PCOTY field is further affirmation. Yet, still, to have performance and desirable in the same sentence as the once lamentable Korean marque is a feat in itself, indeed.

It’s positioned as a replacement for our venerable SS Commodore by punters and Kia alike. However, to truly do that it needs a V8 slung into its engine bay.

That’s because while the boosted 3.3-litre bent-six provides the quarter-mile goods (we’ve achieved sub-five seconds to 100km/h and thirteen-dead to 400m), it sorely lacks aural appeal. And, ultimately, a chunk of character we know and love from our big sedans.

If this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas is anything to go by, Kia knows there’s a bit of mongrel to extract. And while beefed-up body kits, loud hues, intake/exhaust changes as well as bigger wheels, stiffer springs and thicker antiroll bars are nice, it’s not adding cylinders. Here’s how we’d do it. M

If you’re a car enthusiast in any capacity, you’d be hard-pressed not to know what the Kia Stinger is

Here’s how we’d do it

OFF THE SHELF .

This isn’t just a pipe dream, for Kia has a suitable engine in the form of the 294kW/500Nm 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V8 found in the K900. Even better, Stinger boss Albert Beirmann has confirmed the engine fits, though there is currently no plan to offer it.

CHOICES, CHOICES .

Trouble is, such an engine would likely be slower than the current twin-turbo six, which is why Kia might need to drum up an engine concept revealed at the 2008 SEMA show. Though smaller at 4.6 litres, a supercharger within the vee forced in 11psi of boost to develop a healthy 340kW, which should shave that 0-100km/h time down to around 4.5sec and do wonders for the Stinger’s soundtrack.

TAKE CONTROL .

One of our main bugbears with the Stinger is its eight-speed auto. Not so much the gearbox itself, more the lack of a true manual mode, which seems a strange oversight for an enthusiast-focused model. Add full control and throttle blipping on downshifts and we’ll be happy.

STIFFEN UP .

The Stinger’s current chassis tune is acceptable for its intended role, but a V8S would require much more suspension control – a Track mode for the adaptive dampers would be a good start – stickier rubber and far, far better brakes.

GREAT SUCCESS .

If the current Stinger GT is pitched as an SS replacement, the V8S would slot right into the territory vacated by the LS3-powered HSV Gen-F Clubsport. Call it $72-75K and watch them fly out of dealers as V8-mad Aussies drop their prejudices faster than politicians renouncing their dual citizenships.