DETROIT - Not too long ago, the words “Kia” and “performance sedan” would have been laughable in the same sentence.
However, the car Kia introduced late Sunday hopes to change that perception.
The Stinger sedan was released online Sunday night, just a day ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We’ll get a closer look at the car during a press event scheduled for Monday.
The all-new sedan rides on a rear-wheel-drive platform, which is common of more performance-oriented vehicles. Kia will also offer an all-wheel-drive version, though power will still regularly go to the rear tires.
There will be two engine choices for the car. Standard models will come with a 2-liter four-cylinder engine good for about 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
Those looking for a little more grunt can opt for the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6, which Kia expects to produce 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.
All of this rides on a new platform that Kia says is specifically designed for great handling. The platform is made of 55 percent high-strength steel to make the car as stiff as possible, which is another hallmark of a great performance sedan.
There are, of course, all the safety features one would expect on a modern sports sedan, including a forward-collision warning system that will also apply the brakes if the car feels it’s necessary. Adaptive cruise control and systems that keep the car in its lane will also be available.
The Stinger even has a system called Driver Attention Alert which monitors the driver for any signs of drowsiness or fatigue and warns him or her when it’s time to take a break.
From the outside, the car carries a strong resemblance to the rest of the Kia family. The front has a grille similar to the design seen on other Kias, though it’s wider and flanked by multi-element LED headlights here.
The rear of the car breaks away from the design of other Kias with tail lights that look like they would be at home on an Audi. From the side, the window openings bear a strong resemblance to its more mainstream sibling, the Optima sedan.
The Stinger is scheduled to go on sale later this year. Pricing and more specifics will be released closer to its on-sale date.