The amazing Kia GT4 Stinger revealed in Detroit gives the Scion FR-S a run for its money

Watch out Scion FR-S, there is a new kid on the block … and he looks mean. Kia just unveiled its new GT4 Stinger concept, and – wow – this is not your dad’s Kia.

As it happens, Kia has been on a bit of a roll with exciting cars. The Optima Turbo, and the brand-new K900 all suggest that Kia brass want to take the company in a more exciting, more aggressive direction. To be honest, I haven’t been completely convinced. That is, until now.

The GT4 Stinger is a true sports car front engine, rear drive and near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Under that menacing hood, it packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injected four-cylinder that is good for 315 horsepower. This, in a car that weighs just 2,874 pounds. It should also stop pretty briskly because it’s fitted with 15-inch Brembo Gran Turismo brakes. My face hurts at the prospect of stopping this thing.

Still, my favorite part of this car – hands down – is the looks. The combination of the Kia’s signature grille and those vertical LED lights make the front end look downright sinister. Add in the flaring rear wheel arches and the classic 2+2 sports car silhouette, and you get one damn fine looking sports car.

There are some very cool touches, too. You get things like a carbon fiber front splitter and A-pillars that are transparent with layered slots cut in to reduce weight and add to visibility. The result is that the drive gets an unbeatable 270-degree field of vision. That should be handy when you are trying to find the apex of a corner. 

Some people are going to say that this car is bad just because of the badge, and that is just wrong. Sure, Kia is not the most storied name in automotive circles, but cars like this are how companies make their names.   

The only big worry is that Kia won’t make this car. It is, after all, still just a concept. But as the popularity of the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ has shown, there is room in the market for simple affordable sports cars. And, on paper at least, the Stinger has the FR-S beat.

The chief designer of the GT4 Stinger, Tom Kearns says, “It’s a totally selfish design. The design team at KCDA (Kia Design Center America) is full of gearheads and enthusiasts, and the GT4 Stinger is the perfect car for that kind of crowd.” Tom, if this car is selfish, then give me more where that came from. 

Looking for more Detroit news? Check out the rest of our coverage from the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

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