The much-anticipated rear-wheel drive Kia Stinger won’t arrive in Australia until later this year, but before it make its way to Australia it, like nearly all other Kia models, will undergo a suspension calibration program tuned to the needs of Australian customers.
That program, overseen by handling guru Graeme Gambold, is now up to its second phase, as confirmed by Kia Australia’s general manager of media and corporate communications, Kevin Hepworth.
“The first of the P1 cars that come off the line, that’s our pre-production first run, our team go up there [Korea] and then they drive the car at the proving ground. They make some adjustments, they work with tuning guys, and they try and they get it to a stage that they think is okay,” Mr Hepworth explained.
“They then build a second P2 model, that comes to Australia with that tuning on it, and they do it on the roads, in Australia, with their bums in the seat. It’s not a computer program, it’s not a phone-in job, it’s actually Graeme [Gambold] and our team on the road, driving the cars, changing the shocks in and out Within the parameters that are allowable it’s fine-tuned as far as it can go. That means tuning the shocks, springs, rollbars, and when they’ve reached a stage where they guys are happy, it’s as good as they can make for the locals they sign off on that and it hits the production run.”
All up, Australian suspension tuning for any of Kia’s Australian-bound models ends up taking around two to three months, with between 50,000 to 60,000 kilometres of real-world driving, before selecting the final production settings.
As proof of the effectiveness of the Australian development, the suspension tune developed for the now-discontinued Pro_Cee’d GT has even been adopted by the British market in place of the original European suspension settings.
When questioned about the progress of the Stinger’s development program Mr Hepworth confirmed: “The Korean drive program has been done, and the next set of programs will be in Australia.” Meaning ‘P2’ pre-production cars will soon hit Australian roads.
Mr Hepworth also confirmed that both variants of the Stinger, 2.0-litre and 3.3 litre, will be part of the suspension program, and that the Stinger making its way to Australia will maintain the electronic adaptive dampers of overseas versions.
“Stinger’s been getting exactly what every other car goes though. It’s different because of the electronic adjustable struts on it, so it’s not normal in that regard,” he said, indicating that the tuning program will be as comprehensive as it is for other vehicle programs, with the only differences relating to unique requirements of fine-tuning the adaptive suspension system.
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