About half the time the Kia Stinger GT makes the news, it's because of rumors Kia is going to kill the critically acclaimed but slow-selling sports sedan. The automaker's traditional production cycle would indicate a second-gen sedan appearing sometime around the 2024 model year, but the last report out of South Korea was that the Sohari plant that assembles Stingers would switch to hybrid and EV production in Q2 of 2022.
Autocar took the opportunity at the L.A. Auto Show to ask Kia design chief Karim Habib about the chances of an all-new Stinger. Habib's answer was like a response to the challenge, "Tell us you're not replacing the Stinger without telling us you're not replacing the Stinger." Habib said, "The spirit of Stinger remains and will remain. I like to think that the EV6 has the genes of the GT. We’re doing to do a GT of that, and it has the Stinger in it. Stinger has been a transformational car, and opened a whole new perspective as to what Kia can be, sporty and a precision driving tool. EV6 is now doing similar."
Australia's Drive received a similar response from Damien Meredith, head of Kia Australia, back in May. Meredith said, "The Kia Stinger has been good to us on many fronts. It's given a performance edge to our brand which we didn't have before," then put the EV6 forward as "the next step up in performance sharpness."
Admittedly, Habib presaged such a future in an interview in 2020, during a previous round of Stinger death knells. Habib said he hoped that the "spirit of the Stinger" remained as the Kia brand evolved. "As the technology goes toward EVs and as the world and its appetite for these types of cars changes, the concept probably has to evolve as well."
Assuming we're reading the right things between the right lines, we're not surprised there won't be another Stinger. That car did every job it was designed to do except sell well, an understandably unforgivable whiff. We are surprised Kia sees the EV6 as any kind of spiritual — or gene-based — successor to the Stinger, but that's where we are. It's true the EV6 will get a GT trim, one quite a bit more powerful than the Stinger was ever provided. The dual-motor, all-wheel drive EV6 GT tops out at 577 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque, ripping off the sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. The Stinger GT with the twin-turbo V6 maxes out at 368 hp and 376 lb-ft, and needs another 1.2 seconds to finish the test to 60 mph.
The EV6 GT should land in the U.S. at the end of next year, but that's a long way off, when it's impossible to know what the world's going to look like next week. If Stinger production does end in Q2 next year, that will likely provide enough inventory to last until its spirit takes on its next form.