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Kia Stinger taking on the ‘Green Hell’

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Unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the Stinger made a bold first impression. The Stinger is entering the final stages of its rigorous test and development regime before going on sale later this year. The test program carried out worldwide, on-road and on-track will ensure the car has the performance, reliability and dynamic sophistication to match its striking fastback design.

To meet this brief, Kia’s engineers developed two different types of suspension. Every Stinger is suspended by MacPherson struts at the front, and fully-independent multi-link suspension at the rear. However, the ‘clean sheet’ approach to the car’s development has allowed engineers to create both a traditional passive setup, and a new adaptive system — Dynamic Stability Damping Control (DSDC). DSDC 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 Stinger’s shock absorbers. Using the Stinger’s Drive Mode Selector system, drivers have 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. The driver’s choice, ‘Sport’ 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 fitted as standard to 3.3-litre V6 Stinger models.

Producing 370ps, the Kia Stinger’s 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 enables the car to accelerate from 0-to-100kph in just 4.9 seconds, making it the fastest-accelerating production Kia ever. Its high-performance brakes needed to be equal to the task.

Targeting the highest braking performance of any Kia to date, engineers subjected the Stinger to a variety of high-speed braking tests. A rigorous range of braking challenges was devised, taking brake testers to the famous Großglockner High Alpine Road in the Austrian Alps for constant downhill brake testing. Private test facilities in Northern Germany and Eastern Spain, as well as the Nürburgring, were also used.

High-powered 3.3-litre Stinger models feature a new braking system developed in collaboration with Brembo. The 18-inch Brembo disc brakes are designed specifically to meet the demands of the engine’s higher power output. Holed and grooved, the brakes offer high heat capacity and reduced fade levels under heavy use. They’re paired with the most powerful calipers ever found on a Kia.

Like every Kia, the Stinger is undergoing a full, rigorous testing regime to ensure it is as reliable for owners as it is entertaining for drivers. While the Nürburgring Nordschleife has played a key role in establishing the Stinger’s dynamic character, Kia’s testing facility at the ‘Green Hell’ also sees every car tested for quality and reliability.

Each development car is being put through a minimum of 10,000 km — 480 laps — of high-stress driving around the Nordschleife. Widely regarded as the ultimate proving ground, the circuit has 73 corners, a 300-metre difference in height between the highest and lowest points of the circuit, and gradients of up to 17%. The constant combination of hard acceleration, rapid deceleration, heavy cornering, and changing surfaces and camber offers an unrivalled test of dynamic prowess. This distance covered during the Stinger’s development is equivalent to over 160,000 km of on-road testing.

Beyond the Nürburgring, testing for the Stinger was carried out globally, with over 1.1 million km of durability testing carried out around the world equivalent to approximately 27 circulations of the Earth around the Equator.