MenStyleFashion was asked along to experience some iconic classic cars in Germany. When asked to think of powerful, luxurious GTs there is one manufacturer not likely to immediately spring to mind – Kia. However with the imminent launch of the Stinger, Kia’s answer to Europe’s fastest, most comfortable saloons, things are set to change. It’s too soon to get our hands on the keys to a Stinger, but we were able to join some of the designers to explore some of the inspiration behind it.
Kia’s European design team is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and is headed up by Chief Designer Gregory Guillaume. He’s the man responsible for the Stinger; a 375bhp, rear-wheel drive 4-door GT, which represents an incredibly exciting new venture for Kia – much better known for practical, affordable hatchbacks and SUVs. The Stinger is to be a true petrolhead’s machine, and so when Kia Motors UK invited us to join the design team in Frankfurt for a classic car event of their own making, we snapped at the chance.
What Is Kia Miglia
‘Kia Miglia’ is an unofficial event started by Gregory and his team; this is where the foundations of the Stinger start to make sense. The entire team consists of petrolheads through-and-through, with many of them having their own classic car or two tucked up at home – the Kia Miglia started as a great excuse to wheel those cars out for a day of driving, and eight years later is as enjoyable as ever.
The event has a planned route through the German countryside surrounding Frankfurt and the team have an enthusiasm for the day which is nothing short of admirable. Several arrive in period clothing, and the machinery in use is exquisite – Jaguars, Porsches, Alfa Romeos, BMWs; mostly classics with a few modern counterparts for good measure.
Gregory himself was piloting his Austin Healey 3000; he’s owned it for longer than anything else in his impressive collection, which also includes a Series 1 Jaguar E-Type and a Ferrari F355. Interior designer James Moon proudly had the oldest car on the day – a 1931 Austin Seven, but not like any other. It was converted to a race car in the ‘40s and now wears a very small, streamlined body and has thoroughly uprated mechanicals. Design Strategist Monica Felicio Fragoso could be found behind the wheel of a glorious red E-Type for most of the day.
Kia Motors UK was kind enough to arrange a Porsche 356 Speedster and a Karmann Ghia for the select group of journalists invited, myself included. There are some tough days in the office – this was not one of them. While Volkswagen is a style icon in itself, the incredibly pretty Porsche got my vote.
If the Kia design team can take an ounce of the automotive passion displayed during 2017’s Kia Miglia and place it into the new Stinger, we’re in for a treat. And as we happened to see one being tested on the Autobahn just outside Frankfurt, I can tell you that it is a good looking machine. Perhaps it could be time ‘Kia’ became parts of the sports GT vocabulary?