Kia said right hand drive versions of its upcoming Stinger 'grand turismo' have also undergone a further level of dynamic testing in the UK to optimise steering and suspension components for export markets such as the UK and Australia before the car's release.
The Hyundai Motor group affiliate has announced details of the final testing programme for the European and other export market versions of the Stinger, sized between the Audi A5/A7 and intended largely for the US market. It was shown first at the Detroit show in January and then Geneva in March, went into production in South Korea in April and was launched there in May.
The automaker said its chassis engineers were given a blank canvas for the car's suspension and steering characteristics with a brief to create a true gran turismo, with driving dynamics to match the car's fastback design.
They developed two different types of suspension. All models have MacPherson struts at the front, and fully-independent multi-link suspension at the rear. But there are both a traditional passive setup and a new adaptive system – Dynamic Stability Damping Control (DSDC) which adapts the stroke length of the shock absorbers on the move, and is controlled by acceleration, braking and steering sensors.
Drivers can change the characteristics of the shock absorbers. The Drive Mode Selector system gives a choice of two damping force levels: Normal and Sport. In Normal mode, low levels of damping force enable maximum cruising comfort. While the suspension continues to firm up slightly under heavy cornering in Normal, the effect is less pronounced than in Sport mode which provides more powerful damping force under all conditions, shortening the stroke of the shock absorbers to provide greater body control and handling agility during more spirited driving. DSDC will be standard for 3.3 litre V6 versions.
The passive suspension – for two-litre turbo petrol and all 2.2-litre diesel models – was designed to the same brief as the DSDC system. A single-mode passive setup, it has been tuned alongside DSDC at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and on the road. Based on Kia's most refined multi-link suspension concept, the suspension has been redesigned with stiffer springs and stabiliser bars for more immediate handling responses.
Much of the suspension tuning has focused on creating a uniform character across the model range – regardless of engine weight and the car's rear- or all-wheel drive configuration. Kia said this means all-wheel drive models offer a similar dynamic character to rear-wheel drive models, though the all-wheel drive cars offer increased damping force and revised shock absorber settings for the rear axle, better planting the rear wheels to the road and enabling the car's rear-drive character to shine through.
The rack-mounted motor-driven power steering system (R-MDPS) provided chassis engineers with greater flexibility for tuning. Standard on all models, R-MDPS lets drivers choose between two steering modes with the Drive Mode Selector – Normal and Sport. These modes change the level of steering effort required, as well as the system's variable steering ratios.
In Sport mode, the Stinger requires increased on-centre steering effort, with shorter gearing providing more immediate response by reducing the need for larger steering inputs. Normal mode reduces steering effort from on-centre, for more measured steering responses at a cruise. Normal mode also requires more effort as the steering wheel turns, with a linear build-up of resistance giving driver's greater confidence at the wheel. The result is a steering system that enables the same duality as the suspension.
"The new Kia GT is a true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving," said Gregory Guillaume, Kia Motors Europe's chief designer. "It's not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace. The new GT has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey. It's about passion."
European Stinger models enter production in the second half of 2017 and sales start in the fourth quarter.