Biermann was on good form on both occasions, as you might expect given the products he’s putting out. Both i30 N, which is Hyundai’s first proper hot hatch, and Stinger GT, the Kia that will be aiming for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé, have been warmly received. Things are good.
“Everything is finished,” he says of the Stinger GT. “I mean, we have no mass production cars out yet, but they’re more or less on the way from Korea to Europe.” Those who have driven this new grand tourer, a rear-wheel-drive executive hatchback- cum-coupé, including Autocar’s own testers, have warmed to it.
“People are surprised a Kia can drive like this,” says Biermann. “And at this moment, we have only put the 3.3-litre V6 out, and we’re not focusing on the 2.0-litre petrol or the diesel [versions]. But I’m also quite optimistic about those. Of course some power is missing, but the sporty character is there.”
Which is all very well, Albert, if the Stinger is a flagship vehicle. But what of the cars beyond that? “We try,” Biermann says. “If you drive the Stonic now, you might find the drive not exactly what you expected from a little B-segment SUV.
“It’s also maybe a little bit more nimble, a bit more fun to drive than you would have expected two years ago. But it’s not like it’s the ultimate fun machine - it has to serve for city driving and so on.”
He also says Kia has “put a lot of effort into the next Cee’d, so you can expect a good step up for driving fun, precision, agility and so on compared with the previous Cee’d; and that’s a car that gets a little more attention and focus in that area. But, as you know, we make tons of cars and we cannot give the full [dynamic attention] to all of them.
“The philosophy for the Stinger was different, because we were challenging on a premium OEM level, and I think the effort we put into the car was also a little bit focused on that challenge, so we put more effort into that car than others.”