► Kia’s flagship performance model updated for 2020
► Slow-selling four-door retains engine, gains shouty new exhaust
► New infotainment systems and subtle exterior makeover
Kia has released details of its upcoming Stinger facelift. The flagship fastback sits at the top of the Kia tree in terms of its performance focus – further confirmed by the brand dropping the two lowlier powertrains from the model range and surging forward with only the car’s 3.3-litre petrol V6.
That V6 enjoys a power bump of 3bhp thanks to a new exhaust. It’s set to sound rather more exciting than before, though – with bigger-bore tailpipes and a butterfly valve within the exhaust that can open and close for a subdued engine note in Eco or Comfort mode and (Kia promises) and ‘more prominent, deeper exhaust note in Sport’.
Kia Stinger long-term review
That should help give the Stinger GT-S even more of a Grand Tourer flavour, fitting its character well.
Exterior changes are minimal. The Stinger’s LED headlights are now slimmer, with the rears extended to the full width of the tailgate.
What else has changed under the skin?
As mentioned, power enjoys a marginal boost of 3bhp, bringing it to a total of 368bhp. Peak torque of 376lb ft remains the same, spread across 1,300rpm to 4,500rpm.
The car’s eight-speed automatic gearbox looks to be unchanged. Performance stats are also unlikely to have shifted much, so expect the new Stinger to match its predecessors 4.7-second 0-62mph time and 168mph top speed.
We’re in two minds about the demise of the Stinger’s two formerly-available lower-powered engines. While the 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel weren’t particularly characterful engines, they offered a route into Stinger ownership that was slightly less ruinous than the pricey and thirsty 3.3-litre V6.
These Korean-spec images show an AWD model, never previously available in the UK. It’s doubtful it’ll be included in the model range this time around, either.
What’s new inside?
Kia’s gone mad with the interior upgrades of late, adding its latest connected infotainment systems to near enough every one of its models. The Stinger doesn’t escape, coming now with a standard 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
That’s upgradeable to a flagship 10.25-inch system that pairs with Kia’s UVO app, giving connected telematics and some remote operation – certain markets will even be able to start their engines and pre-warm the cabin remotely.
There’s more screen action behind the wheel, where all models now receive a 4.2-inch colour display between the dials – upgradeable to a 7.0-inch fully digital panel.
Any interesting tech?
On the safety front, plenty. You’ll find the usual autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot warning, but now the latter remains active when the car’s switched off and will warn you if you’re about to exit into oncoming traffic (or twat a passing cyclist upon opening the door).
The cruise control links to the navigation, and will drop the speed if you’re heading towards a bend, reverting back to the original speed when the road straightens back out. There’s also a camera feed on each door mirror – flick the indicator, and a high-res image of your blind spot will display in the instrument panel. Clever stuff.
Final UK pricing and specifications haven’t yet been revealed. As per usual for a facelift, expect a price increase – in this case, a significant one, as the dropping of lower-spec engines means the £32,925 price tag of a 2.0-litre petrol will be left in the dust. We’ll likely see a modest rise on the current GT-S model’s £41,145 starting price.