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First Drive: 2018 Kia Stinger GT

Sometimes it feels good to get stung.

by on Oct.09, 2017

The 2018 Kia Stinger GT features a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 pushing the rear or all four wheels.

It was a formidable line-up baking there in the Mojave Desert sun: an assortment of Audis, BMWs, Lexus (Lexii?) and, perhaps most intimidating of all, a Porsche Panamera. But we hadn’t driven out to the California badlands for a shoot-out among traditional luxury brands. Across the tarmac, poised like the new sheriff in town: a line-up of new Kia Stinger GTs sat waiting to challenge the established order.

Kia? Really? Yep, really. The brand, long known for its no-frills subcompacts, has made some surprising strides in recent years with larger, more lavish offerings like the Optima sedan and Sorrento SUV. It’s even tried its hand in the luxury market with the full-size K900 sedan. Kia has already kicked sand in the faces of some of the industry’s most exclusive brands, handily topping the charts in a series of recent quality and customer satisfaction surveys.

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And if any new model reveals what Kia’s plans for the future might be, it is certainly the new Stinger. First shown in concept form at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the five-door hatchback will be rolling into U.S. showrooms in the coming weeks with only the most modest of changes.


First Drive: 2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo

A shape that grows on you.

by on Mar.29, 2010

Big, sure-footed and fun to drive despite its heft, the 2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo.

Change is the only constant.  If you’re a BMW purist, you might want to repeat that line a few times because the automaker’s line-up has certainly changed quite a bit in recent years, and some of the new entries take a bit of getting used to.

It was difficult enough for some Bavarian Motoren Werke aficionados to accept the idea of the original X5 SUV — a “sport-activity vehicle” in the maker’s parlance – bearing BMW’s double-kidney grille and “spinner” logo.  Then came the X6, not quite sport-ute, not quite sport coupe.

Now, we’re being asked to get our heads around the 2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo.  This strange brew isn’t really your classic GT, nor is it a sport-ut, despite the four-door’s surprising heft.  Stuck for an easy definition, we jumped at the opportunity to take it for a long weekend’s drive down the Autobahn from Munich, up into the Swiss Alps and, finally, back down into Geneva.

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Anyone used to the classic BMW sedan or coupe is likely to be in for a surprise when they get up close to the 550 GT.  While it’s not quite as bulky as one of the maker’s X models, it still carries plenty of heft, especially when you compare it to some of its Gran Turismo-class competitors, like the new Porsche Panamera or the Audi A5 Sportback.