Kia Stinger Experience Rolls into Charlotte Z-Maxx Emerges Winner

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Heading out early from Digital Dad HQ, I hit the roads this past Saturday for Charlotte and the Stinger Experience. The skies were gray with some rain mixed in, temps were in the 40’s. Not the kind of start I was expecting for my day but, I knew things were going to improve. I was excited that I had a spot reserved to drive the much anticipated Kia Stinger.  

Miles later, I was in range of Charlotte ZMax. As I pulled up, the winds and rain began to change. My excitement was building. 

The youthful exuberance, vigor, and energy of Kia were on full display right from the get-go.


From inside the trailer (and settled into a comfy sofa), we were treated to an overview of the day and some background on who crafted the vision and reality for the Stinger by our touring emcee, JC. I had no idea Kia has been in the U.S. some 20+ years. The Kia brand has evolved in quite an amazing way.


Stinger Experience pre-drive briefing.
Getting our Stinger pre-drive briefing. Our emcee, JC.


It’s about the passion, it’s about the journey.

– Peter Schreyer, Chief Designer at Hyundai-Kia


Toward the end of the briefing, we were informed of a change in the experience. Due to the wet track conditions, we would take “hot laps” as opposed to driving the cars ourselves.

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After the briefing, we were whisked outside and split up into groups to get a close -up tour of the Kia Sprinter.

Twin turbos on this Stinger provide plenty of power mated to the 6 cylinder engine.


The Driving Experience

From one vantage point, the viewing deck on top of the trailer, I got a great view of the test drive area. What really impressed me was how much time the drivers took with each person at the experience. And my driving experience was no exception. These drivers took some serious time with each person in the experience. There was a real sense of connection that Kia worked hard to execute on and seemed to come off genuinely. 


Look at all those Stingers! Red, silver, white, black and more!  The yellow up front in the display area was actually wrapped yellow and provided by Hendrick Kia of Concord, the local dealer.

My Ride

For my “hot laps”, I rode in rear wheel drive, and all-wheel drive configurations of the Stinger as well as a competing Audi.

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The Stingers were nimble and agile on the test track setup with fantastic traction throughout and the zero to 60 power in 10 seconds was amazing. I mean really amazing.

There were some serious g-forces at play during acceleration and braking was smooth.

This Stinger is a game changer, to bring this much power, finesse and refinement at around $40,000 – $60,000 signals a serious change in this vehicle category.

To my surprise, the Audi A5 really got away from us in the slalom portion of the track.

My driver, Shawn (right) recently finished the BAJA 1000, he had a ton of driving experience to bring to my time on the track. Great hot laps with him at the wheel. 


The Kia Stinger In Person – A Walk Around

The stance of this car from the front says speed!


The fluid lines along the doors with color-keyed handles show real attention to the details.


Alloy rims and Brembo 4-Wheel Disc brakes keep things in order down below.


Integrated tail lights merge seamlessly with the trunk.


Integrated exhaust completes the sporty design.


A view of the driver’s area with the shifter in the center along with climate and audio controls. The vehicle has all the toys. The screen above the climate control vents provides information on these systems. With Sirius XM and HD Radio plus smartphone integration, you’ll never be without tunes. Harman Kardon speakers perform well even at higher volumes with no noticeable distortion.

Next Stops on the Stinger Experience Tour

If you want to get in and drive a Stinger for yourself, here are the remaining stops on the tour.

3/22 – 3/25: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)
3/29 – 4/1: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)
4/5 – 4/8: Arlington Park (Arlington Heights, IL)
4/12 – 4/15: NRG Park (Houston, TX)
4/19 – 4/22: Phoenix Int’l Raceway (Avondale, AZ)


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