Kia benchmarked the Audi A5/S5 Sportback when developing 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.
Where the Audi and Kia Are Equal
Street presence. Although Audi’s design language may be a little long in the tooth, there’s no denying how handsome and well executed the B9 A4/A5 family is. The Allroad (obviously!) looks the best, especially in Gottland Green. The Stinger helped redefine not only how people think of Korean automobiles, but also how said cars look. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard a form of, “That’s a Kia?” The Stinger’s metal is quite premium-looking. The only downside to driving the Kia is that lots of people will come up and quiz you about it at gas stations. Of course, maybe you think that’s a good thing?