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Fans of performance sedans were overjoyed in 2018 when the Kia Stinger hit dealerships. The cars were so anticipated, they were sold out for months. It made a lot of sense: who could resist a car that had 95% of the performance of a BMW M5 for about half the price? The Stinger should have changed impressions about Kia and made the brand synonymous with performance.

But as the model sails off into the sunset, did it really live up to its promise?

The Stinger aimed to sting the BMW 3 Series

An orange Kia Stinger GTS performs a burnout
A Kia Stinger GTS performs a burnout | Kia

Few cars have what the BMW 3 Series does. The 3 Series sedans and coupes have, since the 1980s, carried the torch for fun-to-drive sporty, yet luxurious, sedans that tell the world you’re not settling. When the Stinger came out in 2018, all eyes were on this car to dethrone the 3 Series, or at least make BMW sit up and listen to buyers that wanted a stylish but not-so-expensive sedan that means business. Mostly, Kia succeeded at making a performance sedan.

It didn’t hurt that the Kia’s engine choices, from the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 horsepower or the uprated 3.3-liter V6 with 365 horsepower provided most of the thrills you could get in a BMW for a good deal less money. Where the Stinger let some folks down was the interior, which is very nice but not up to the design or quality that German rivals offered. For 2023, the base engine is the turbo four-cylinder that makes 300 horsepower.

Compared to a 3 Series, it is cheaper, a bit more practical and in the base version, a lot quicker. To get similar performance in a Bimmer, you’d have to step up to the M340i, which starts at about $57,000. However, price creep now means you’ll pay $55,000 for a GT2 Stinger, and for that small differential it’s hard to justify the Kia over the BMW.

The Stinger didn’t really change hearts and minds

The 2024 edition will be the last. More on that version later. But, did the Stinger really change minds about Kia? Not really. It did show what the Korean company can do when engineers and designers put their minds to it, however.  

Unfortunately, when you walked into a Kia showroom you had to wade though the sea of cheap Rio subcompact cars and Soul crossovers to get to a Stinger. Overall, Kia is proud of the car’s sales numbers of more than 65,000 sold since 2018. That may sound like a lot, but Chevy sells that many Silverados in a month. Maybe that’s why the Stinger in Genesis clothing, where it’s called the G70, is such a success.

While the new car is a $55,000 proposition, according to Driving it may make a good used car, too.

What is the Stinger Tribute Edition?

A grey Kia Stinger Tribute package car in matte grey
A 2024 Kia Stinger Tribute Edition | Kia

The final version Stinger Tribute Edition builds on the 2023 Stinger GT2, which features a 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6 and optional all-wheel drive. Painted in either Ascot Green or newly-available Steel Matte Gray, the Stinger Tribute Edition accentuates the design details of the Stinger by adding black-accented details, including exhaust tips, Brembo brake calipers, special side mirrors, and model-exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels. The interior of the Stinger Tribute Edition is enhanced with Terracotta Nappa leather-trimmed seats emblazoned with a custom logo, a synthetic suede headliner, and simulated carbon fiber interior trim.

Each of the Stinger Tribute Edition sedans produced will have its own numbered door sill plate. In the U.S. we will only see 440 Tribute Editions. The rear-wheel drive version starts at $53,390 while all-wheel drive versions starts at $55,590. Each comes with a 368-horsepower V6.