Progress Report: Kia Elan vs Kia Stinger GT

Kia hasn’t looked backwards as it’s gone forwards. These two performance cars are clear evidence of that

Are you claiming Kia’s sportiest automobile yet isn’t the Stinger?


Offered you define sportiness as an attitude instead of a figure, yes. The most recent Stinger GT has a turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 for 356bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.9 secs. Not also the all-electric EV6 hauls that tough. Yet pleasingly crisp though it is, it’s a GT. The Elan is a light-weight little roadster, so although it makes do with a naturally aspirated 1.8 with a simple 149bhp and also a 0-62mph time of 7.4 secs, it has the appropriate mindset.

Have not I seen it someplace prior to?


That’s because the Elan wasn’t all Kia’s very own work. The Oriental firm just purchased the tooling and also civil liberties to the Lotus Elan (the M100 variation, built in between 1989 and 1995) and also entered into manufacturing with it themselves. Quite what possessed them to do this is another issue altogether, given that back in 1996 Kia was possibly best recognized for flogging rebodied Mazdas. Anyway, it was hardly a scintillating success. On sale for 3 years from 1996, just around 800 were ever sold as well as in just 2 countries: South Korea and also Japan.

Was it similar to the Lotus underneath?


No and also for 2 primary factors. Firstly, Lotus’ then proprietors, General Motors, had actually refused to share get rid of Kia. And second of all the Korean authorities required the car have correct Oriental input. So in came the rather limp seeming twin-cam 1.8-litre in place of a turbocharged 1.6-litre, the Lotus’s Alpine A610-sourced rear lights went and there were various changes in the cabin. Including the addition of a huge, ungainly steering wheel. There are a lot of trim creaks, however it’s the design and worldly quality that have actually really come on in the last 25 years.

Does the Stinger mark a huge advance?


The full giant leap. No other auto firms on earth have made more excellent gains in the last 25 years than Hyundai and also Kia. Other than Tesla probably. Certain, the materials are a little bit shinier than those fitted in Audis, yet that’s basically the degree Kia has reached. Contrast as well as contrast with the Elan, where design appears to be a dirty word and the interior has all the tactility of a commode brush. It’s not beautiful inside, playing host to a plethora of wobbles, rattles as well as shakes.

However what ready to drive? Undoubtedly the Lotus touch wasn’t lost?


First impressions aren’t precisely favorable. The engine appears, the equipment changes loose and the brakes hopelessly mushy. However after that you start seeing various other points. The ride is utterly remarkable in its smoothness. You move along, not quite efficiently sufficient to stop those trim creaks, however in such a way alien to MX-5 chauffeurs. Closer, probably, to a contemporary Mercedes SL. The steering is slow as well as springy but has some feel to it, it holds well as well as the framework is constantly calm as well as made up. You tip it into edges with a bargain of roll, yet it takes care of that well and also it goes round quickly. I would not say it feels anxious, yet it’s certainly proficient. As well as when you speed up out– the engine is far better over the 2nd half of the rev counter– there’s no torque steer in any way.

Hang about, it’s not front-wheel drive is it?


It is. The Lotus was too. Lotus had a hard time to market that principle to purchasers indoctrinated on rear-drive sports cars, but for Kia it was less of an issue. As was the vehicle’s unwinded vibrant posture. That, a minimum of, is something that’s been lugged forwards to the latest Stinger. Hyundai has offered us hardcore hot hatches, however this is something various, an automobile that suches as to make progress, but do so smoothly.

Just how does the Stinger feel after the Elan?


It’s long and also appears narrow– insomuch as you have an excellent concept of where the extremities exist– which length helps give you security and ride comfort. It has a wonderful all-natural stride. However if you push it or the road taxes it, it begins to run a bit except ideas. The steering is a little loosened around the straight-ahead, there’s a little bit of vertical pop to the suspension rebound and also its rear wheels battle to apply traction efficiently on rough roads.

Can you tell these 2 are from the same firm?


No. Too much water has actually passed also fast under the bridge for there to be any type of resemblances. Few business have progressed so quick and also what’s most interesting regarding the Korean brand names is that they’re constantly looking forward. Of course their backgrounds are also brief for them to obtain much by looking backwards, also ordinary for beneficial historic nods, however they likewise hardly ever embrace crazy principles or frivolous ideas. Everything is created to take the firm forwards.

Even the Elan? Surely that was a failing …

Kia claimed it was a brand home builder, and also for a car that was never ever offered in the UK or Europe, it has a specific standing and complying with. It additionally permitted the company to develop web links into Europe. Nonetheless, I do ask yourself if there’s even more to it than that. So here’s a little bit of speculation. Offered Kia’s previous deal with Mazda, I question if they ‘d asked to develop a variation of the MX-5, Mazda had declined and also this was Kia’s riposte. Where the Japanese company took ideas from Lotus, the Koreans took an actual car.

It’s always Lotus isn’t it?


It may additionally deserve pointing out that if you apply the very same mindset versus fact criterion to Tesla, the sportiest cars and truck it’s ever before done was its initial, the original Roadster. Which was basically an amazed Elise. However’s that’s a variation. The Kia Elan has nothing in common with the Stinger, but allowed’s hope that a person day Kia may reflect on the Elan as well as think about resurrecting it as an electrical or hydrogen-powered roadster. Preferably full with pop-up headlights. Sufficient time will certainly have passed for the firm to have actually proved itself as well as have the ability to recall with pride on its heritage.

1996 Kia Elan

1,793 cc in-line 4cyl, FWD, 5spd manual
149bhp @ 6,250 rpm, 137lb ft @ 4,500 rpm.
0-62mph in 7.4 secs, 137mph.
1,070 kg.
c ₤ 12,000 (cost currently … if you can discover one).

2021 Kia Stinger GT.

3,342 cc V6 twin-turbo, RWD, 8spd automobile.
356bhp @ 6,000 rpm, 376lb ft @ 1,300 rpm.
0-62mph in 4.9 secs, 168mph.
1,890 kg.
₤ 42,955 (new).