We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the Kia Stinger to arrive in Malaysia, and that day has finally arrived with its official launch today. The high-performance fastback sedan is a big deal for the South Korean carmaker, as it’s poised to do battle in the ultra-competitive premium segment with the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback.

That aspiration comes with aggressive pricing. Fully imported and available in two variants, the Stinger retails at RM239,888 for the base 2.0 GT Line, while the full-fat GT is just over the RM300,000 mark at RM309,888, making it over RM75,000 cheaper than its main rival, the Mercedes-AMG C 43. All prices are on-the-road without insurance or GST, inclusive of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

The Stinger has been geared towards enthusiasts, and the engine lineup backs that up. The base mill is a 2.0 litre Theta II turbocharged and direct-injected petrol four-cylinder, making 251 hp at 6,200 rpm and 353 Nm of torque from 1,400 to 3,500 rpm. It’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and, yes, drive is sent to the rear wheels. Zero to 100 km/h is dispatched in six seconds flat.

More power comes in the shape of the GT, which is powered by a 3.3 litre Lambda II twin-turbo V6 that delivers a stonking 365 hp at 6,000 rpm and 510 Nm of torque between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm. It cuts more than a second off the zero-to-100 km/h time, blitzing past the benchmark in just 4.9 seconds.

Developed at the Nürburgring, the chassis features MacPherson strut front suspension with large diameter dampers, high-strength wheel bearings and an aluminium strut brace, while the reinforced five-link rear suspension is mounted to a stiffened rear subframe for improved durability.

Both models come equipped with Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) adaptive dampers – linked to the car’s five drive modes – as well as a limited-slip differential, launch control and brake-activated Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system as part of Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). On top of that, the GT receives Brembo disc brakes with four-piston front and two-piston rear callipers.

Previewed by the GT concept from 2011, the Stinger sports a dynamic exterior design, with the long front end dominated by the signature “tiger nose” grille and sweptback full-LED adaptive headlights. The sweeping roofline features the Optima‘s complex C-pillar and rear windscreen intersection, while the LED tail lights feature slim extensions that wrap around the sides.

Both the GT Line and GT get larger front air intakes, a more aggressive rear diffuser design and chrome trim on the grille, front intakes, bonnet vents and door mirror caps. The front fender vents, which are also trimmed in chrome, improve aerodynamics by reducing turbulence over the car’s flanks.

As for wheels, the GT Line gets 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, while the GT rolls on staggered 19-inch Y-spoke items – both are wrapped in Continental SportContact 5 tyres. Four exterior paint options are offered on both models, including HiChroma Red, Deep Chroma Blue, Panthera Metal and Aurora Black.

Inside, there’s a simple, driver-oriented dashboard with Audi-style triple round centre air vents, a freestanding centre display up top and a tall transmission tunnel. A flat-bottomed leather-wrapped steering wheel sits ahead of large analogue gauges, between which sits a seven-inch colour multi-info display.

On the GT, this screen can also show a G-force meter, a lap timer and auxiliary gauges displaying the oil temperature, torque and turbo boost pressure. The more powerful model also gains red Nappa leather upholstery, whereas the GT Line makes do with black natural leather. Other features unique to the GT are a GT-badged steering wheel and GT logos on the headrests.

Standard equipment includes keyless entry, push-button start, auto lights and wipers, a head-up display, cruise control, dual-zone auto climate control, rear air-con vents, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, a panoramic sliding sunroof, a power tailgate and 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, ventilation and driver’s side memory. The GT adds 16-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat and heated rear seats.

An eight-inch infotainment touchscreen comes as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a 15-speaker, 720-watt Harman Kardon sound system, Qi wireless smartphone charging and front and rear power outlets. A 360-degree camera is also fitted, along with front and rear parking sensors.

Safety-wise, all models get seven airbags, ABS, stability control, hill start assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a tyre pressure monitoring system and ISOFIX rear child seat anchors. Unfortunately, autonomous emergency braking is nowhere to be found here, even on the GT.

Browse full specifications and equipment of the new Kia Stinger on CarBase.my.

GALLERY: Kia Stinger 2.0 GT Line

GALLERY: Kia Stinger GT