The upcoming Kia Stinger will have an aftermarket and specifically Australian-designed exhaust system as an option, in order to meet the local demand for a more muscular sound not available from the factory.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Nurburgring race track in Germany, Albert Biermann, Kia Motors’ head of vehicle testing and high-performance development, admitted the Stinger needs a better exhaust note.
“I agree, it needs a more sporty sound,” Biermann told CarAdvice when quizzed about the Stinger’s rather lacklustre exhaust note.
The problem? European emissions regulations. Biermann says that in order to combat that, the company has fitted an active sound design (ASD) system that pumps artificial noise into the car, but was happy that the Australian market had taken it upon itself to develop a bimodal exhaust system.
“Active systems might be good for now but in a short time it will be cut off [in Europe due to emission regulations], so this is why we added the ASD, to give more feedback about the engine,” Biermann added.
Meanwhile, Kia Australia communications manager Kevin Hepworth admitted the Stinger’s exhaust note did not deliver what the Australian market will expect from a powerful rear-wheel-drive turbocharged sedan that the Stinger represents, which is why the Australian operation has undertaken its own program to produce a new exhaust system.
“[Noise] is important, I think everyone has agreed within the company that the car needs to sound like it looks,” Hepworth told CarAdvice.
“Unfortunately, we are not going to get that out of the factory, straight away, so what we are planning on doing is to develop an aftermarket sound system, which will be a proper bi-modal exhaust system.”
The supplier's identity remains unconfirmed, but we suspect it will likely be Walkinshaw - or the supplier of bimodal exhausts to that company.
“They are building for us a set of pipes, they will put it on the car, we will listen to what they’ve developed and if we like it we will put it on the car, if not we will ask them for another option.”
Hepworth said the effort to develop a localised exhaust setup is an expensive, but necessary, exercise.
“It’s difficult to get authorisation to do this sort of thing. It’s built initially for quietness and refinement, and that’s what the Europeans and the Americans wanted and the developers in Korea wanted. They don’t have the same market set that we do."
"We are saying we want this to be an SS Commodore consideration set - so it needs to look good, go as good as it looks, and sound as good as one,” he said.
The exhaust system will be an option on the V6 models initially, with potential for the four-cylinder models down the track. It will also meet all ADR (Australian design requirements) and will be a fully warrantable and compliant system.
As for the exhaust option's cost? That remains unknown for the time being, but we suspect a price tag ranging from $1500-2500.