The famed Tbo Touch 4-Pipe Convoy was from inception the exclusive joyride experience for those well-heeled enough to afford nameplates like Maserati and Ferrari, or derivatives that can claim to have AMG or M-Power heritage in their DNA. That’s because it’s typically vehicles in this league that are endowed with four exhaust tailpipes protruding at the rear, a minimum requirement to take part in the aforementioned motoring spectacle. Well, that was until the Koreans came into the picture.
A few months back, Hyundai released a Sport edition of its successful Tucson SUV, which has no less than four sporty looking tailpipes. Compared to its lesser siblings, the Sport is also cladded in an impressive South Africa-specific body kit comprising a more aggressive front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser and it rides on a set of blacked-out 19-inch alloys. It certainly looks the part. But instead of getting you into the 4-Pipe Hall of Fame, it would be the Hall of Shame for you if you decided to join Mr Touch and his friends in your Hyundai.
You see, the Tucson Sport with all its layers of sports gear produces a mere 150 kW of power – child’s play when pitted against the likes of Porsche’s Panamera 4 Sports Tourismo, which generates 243kW of power. I mention the Porsche because it ties in well with my next point, which also involves the Koreans.
The Porsche’s eye-catching design, power output – even though it’s significantly less than many of the cars typically on show at the 4-Pipe Convoy, and of course its quad chrome-tipped tailpipes make it a perfect vehicle for those who want to rub shoulders with the big boys.
Now back to the Koreans, but this time it’s Hyundai’s brother from another mother Kia with its multi award-winning Stinger GT.
Like the latest Panamera, Kia’s sporty looking Stinger is a stunner. Its mix of beautifully sculpted body lines, an easy on the eye front visage, and a rear that will make you look back at least twice make it a perfect candidate as a show car to gunner admiration from onlookers. With a R859,999 price tag, you also know you are not going to see too many of them in your neighbourhood – another prerequisite for a showpiece car. Most importantly though, it has four tailpipes, wheel arch-filling 19” alloys and it generates a commendable 272kW of power, a whole 29kW more than the Porsche model mentioned earlier.
So, should you purchase a Kia Stinger, which you can now pre-order on the Kia Stinger website, in anticipation of the next 4-Pipe Convoy? Well, technically you can. But the Kia badge on the front and back is not going to leave any slay queen weak at the knees, neither is it going to get the neighbourhood kids to scream “that’s my car”, or maybe they might, until they notice that it’s a Kia.
That’s not because the Kia Stinger GT is a bad car. It’s actually a very good car, and many who have had the privilege to try it out attest to this. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find any other car that offers as much car as the Stinger at this price point.
The problem is that South Africans are very brand conscious. When faced with a R859,999 buying decision for a sport sedan/coupe/tourer or whatever you want to call it, South Africans will typically opt to spend their money with the Germans, even if it means they are actually getting less car than what they would if they had chosen a Korean or Japanese make.
Whether that will ever change, we don’t know. But we nonetheless appreciate the decision by Kia to bring the Stinger to South Africa because that’s where I would spend my R859,999.