One of the surprising highlights of the 2019 New York International Auto Show has turned out to be a limited edition of the Kia Stinger.
Branded as the Stinger GTS, just 800 units are planned to be built – and it looks like only North American buyers will get to join in the fun.
That’s despite the Stinger proving popular internationally, with everyone from English cricket players, to Australian police forces, finding love for them.
The reason Brits are not getting it? Our Stingers are rear-wheel drive only… and drift mode is only available on all-wheel drive Stingers. In the UK, it seems, drifting a Stinger is a manual affair.
Power to the chosen people
Those 800 lucky Stinger drift mode buyers are going to be rather excited, as this is not simply a case of Kia just slapping a coat of the exclusive bright orange ‘Federation’ paint on the Stinger GTS.
The GTS retains the same 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine as the GT, producing 365hp (272kW) and 376 lb-ft of torque (510Nm). An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard.
With a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the fun really begins by choosing an AWD GTS. A mechanical limited-slip differential is added to the rear axle, and the the Drive Mode Select gains a brand-new option.
Engage Drift Mode!
Just like the infamous Ford Focus RS, the Stinger GTS has a special ‘Drift Mode’ setting, which sends 100% of torque to the rear wheels.
It also holds the chosen gear without shifting up, allowing for ridiculous slides and the potential to attract attention from the local constabulary.
We imagine Kia would advise that Drift Mode is only ever used on a closed circuit, although some GTS buyers will undoubtedly try to gain social media clicks by doing it on the road.
Along with the ferocious orange paint scheme, Kia has also fitted the Stinger GTS with a wealth of parts made from real carbon fibre. The lightweight material is used for the front grille surround, side mirror caps, and also the rear badges.
Alcantara is used to cover the steering wheel and the centre console, whilst imitation suede material makes an appearance on the black headlining. A panoramic sunroof is also standard, along with 720-watt Harman/Kardon sound system and wireless charging for compatible smartphones.
Kia has not yet released pricing for the GTS in the United States. Demand, we’re sure, is certain to be high.