The letters G & T (no, sorry, this isn't a drinks column) are probably the most over-used in the whole world of motoring. And for most of the time, they are meaningless.

I touched on this recently, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but car companies suddenly latched on to the idea that tacking the initials GT on to the name suggested it was akin to a racing car.

Instead, all it would be was a slightly-version of a family car with a go-faster stripe on the side.

GT, or Gran Turismo (from the Italian) is a term that originally came to prominence in this country in the 1950s and evolved from fast touring cars and streamlined closed sports cars that were popular in pre-war Europe. Rich people would do “The Grand Tour”.

The important thing is they are both performance AND luxury cars, capable of both high speed and long-distance driving. And the new Kia Stinger is one of them.

You may think it's come from an unlikely source but the South Korean company has had its heart set on producing this flagship model for years. As a rival for things like the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Jaguar XE and Volkswagen Arteon, I can honestly say it's been worth waiting for.

Stinger is the first classic grand tourer from Kia and the first rear-wheel-drive model the company has introduced to Europe. In range-topping twin-turbo V6 guise, as tested here, it is also the fastest-Kia ever, with a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds.

Six years in the making, it has evolved from the Kia GT Concept revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. In the intervening years, many people questioned whether Kia would be bold enough to step outside its comfort zone and sanction a production model, but the company was simply waiting until the time was right to do so. That time is now.

With prices starting from £31,995 on the road, and rising to £40,495 for the GT S model tested here, you might baulk at parting with your hard-earned for something badged Kia. But don't let badge snobbery put you off; this is a terrific car.

Five versions are available in the UK, all with turbocharged direct-injection engines mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and featuring state-of-the-art electronic driver aids and connectivity systems.

The transmission offers up to five different shift and throttle programmes, accessed through the car's electronic Drive Mode Selector. Drivers can leave the car to shift for itself, or change gears with steering wheel-mounted paddles.

A limited slip differential is fitted to all models so that torque is transferred to the rear wheel with most grip.

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