Kia Stinger to undergo rigorous testing program
Designers and engineers collaborated to refine aerodynamic efficiency and each prototype is subjected to 480-lap, 10,000km validation program.
The Kia Stinger is set to enter the market towards the end of 2017 so the automaker is sending the vehicle to its testing program.
Kia engineers developed the Stinger’s production design, a fastback shape, in conjunction with the company’s aerodynamics experts. Fastback bodies tend to encounter more challenges during aerodynamic optimization than conventional designs.
Kia’s Frankfurt R&D centre used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to quickly test and validate different ideas to enhance the car’s aerodynamic profile.
In order to improve air flow over the vehicle, engineers introduced subtle design changes. The bodywork was tapered slightly towards the rear of the car and new ‘gills’ were introduced behind the front wheel arches in order to reduce wake turbulence as air passed over the car’s flanks.
A partially-flat underfloor cover, flowing into the rear diffuser, was deployed to reduce drag under the car, while the rear spoiler was remodeled with a slight ‘ducktail’ shape, reducing lift and increasing high-speed stability.
At the front, larger horizontal cooling ducts were introduced to optimize brake cooling, and air inlets were shaped to reduce front-end lift. Also, by reducing the height of the rear of the roof, aerodynamicists realized they could enhance the fastback’s ‘aerofoil’ shape and improve the Stinger’s aerodynamic efficiency.
Kia’s chassis engineers developed two different types of suspension. Using the Stinger’s Drive Mode Selector system, drivers have a choice of two damping force levels: ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’. And right-hand-drive versions of the Stinger have also undergone a further level of dynamic testing in the UK.
The Stinger also underwent high-speed braking tests at the famous Großglockner High Alpine Road in the Austrian Alps. The Stinger is now undergoing a full, rigorous testing regime.
Each Kia Development vehicle is put through a minimum of 10,000 km – 480 laps – of high-stress driving around the Nordschleife. The circuit has 73 corners, a 300-metre difference in height between the highest and lowest points of the circuit, and gradients of up to 17 per cent. This distance covered during the Stinger’s development is equivalent to over 160,000 km of on-road testing.
Kia’s testing procedures are designed to identify powertrain wear and fluid leaks in particular, as well as gearbox heat management characteristics. Temperatures of the car’s brakes, exhaust and gearbox are constantly monitored, to make sure they consistently offer optimal performance. The brakes, for instance, have to be changed halfway through a typical daily session, such is the harsh nature of the tests to which development prototypes are subjected.
The 3.3-litre Stinger is currently in its final testing phase at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. However, much of the development work for the 2.0- and 2.2-litre powertrains – rear- and all-wheel drive – has been completed.
The Stinger’s eight-speed automatic transmission, available with each of the three engines, was a key focus for powertrain testing. Nordschleife testing identified a need to more efficiently manage heat in the transmission. Kia engineers fitted the transmission with an oil cooler with a larger surface area to enable more efficient cooling.
Beyond the Nürburgring, testing for the Stinger was carried out globally, with over 1.1 million km of durability testing carried out around the world.