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2018 Kia Stinger GT Long-Term Update 5: Can a Kia Replace an Audi?

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Kia benchmarked the Audi A5/S5 Sportback when develop**ing the Stinger. In truth, the Stinger platform was co-developed alongside the Genesis G70, and Hyundai/Kia/Genesis very wisely choose to physically differentiate the two by making the Stinger's wheelbase 3 inches longer. Rather than get into the messy subject of platform sharing, Kia just came out with the odd notion that it's chasing after a car that sells something like 10,000 units per year between two models (A5 and S5) in the U.S. A weird car to single out, I agree, but it is what they say it is.

I do not own an Audi A5 or S5 Sportback, but I do happen to own (well, lease) an A4 Allroad. The A4 Allroad and A5 Sportback have the same engine, wheelbase, basically everything save for what's behind the C-pillar. Living with both cars as I have been for half a year, I'm in a somewhat unique position to compare and contrast the two. Here are some big-picture observations. Please keep in mind, this isn't quite an apples-to-apples comparison.

Where the Kia Beats the Audi

Price. As you'd imagine, you can tick every single box on the Stinger GT and come out right around the starting point for an S5 Sportback (about $53,000 or thereabouts in each case). A Prestige package S5 Sportback starts at $61K and goes up. Should you have a fully optioned Allroad like me, you're looking at $58K. Our RWD GT2 showed up with a $50,100 price tag.

Steering feel. Unlike the Audi, the Kia can (thankfully) be had as a rear-driver. Unless you really, truly, totally—be honest now—need AWD, I beg, plead, and implore you to go with the rear-drive Stinger. I've driven both versions back to back, and the RWD version steers, drives, and feels so much better. The rear-driver is 150 pounds lighter, and all of that extra heft sits over the front wheels. As for the Audis, all are Quattro (except for the loss-leader $349-a-month lease specials that are FWD), and although they drive well, there's no replacement for a proper rear-driver. Just the facts.

Infotainment. Audi's Virtual Cockpit is still the benchmark in the segment. It not only looks premium, it works. And you can just write out addresses (or whatever) on the scroll wheel. Moreover, no maps beat Google Maps. That's just how it is. Kia's software, by way of counterpoint, is average (better than Infiniti, worse than Mercedes) at best, and is found in much less premium offerings. Some even have Hyundai badges.

Interior quality. With 20,000 miles on the odometers of both cars, I can tell you that the Audi's leather feels nicer, the seats feel better padded, and the interior trim looks better and more premium. Even the black plastics in the Audi appear to be holding up better. There's nothing wrong with the Kia, it's just that after a year-plus of use, the Audi feels and seems higher quality. Maybe this is where the extra money goes?

Text Source: Motor Trend
 

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