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2017 Kia Stinger revealed ahead of September Australian launch | video

Kia’s lauded 2011 GT show car finds life as the Stinger and shows the company is close to spot-on with transitioning concepts to

The covers have slipped off the highly-anticipated Kia Stinger sports sedan in Detroit, with confirmation of its Australian debut in September with pricing about the $40,000 mark.

Unveiled at the North American International Auto show today, the Stinger is Kia's first rear-drive passenger car for Australia and the first to take on sports sedans with its performance-focused turbocharged V6 drivetrain.

The large, 4.8m long liftback represents a new entrant in Australia's fading large-car sedan market and aims to help fill the gap left by the now defunct Ford Falcon and the demise of the Holden Commodore later this year.

The Stinger will also find favour with performance-minded buyers. The five-seat car, which sits on a 2906mm wheelbase, is only slightly smaller than the outgoing Commodore at 2915mm.

It has a 3.3-litre V6 turbo-petrol engine pumping 272kW/510Nm – the torque available from only 1300rpm – through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. For comparison, the 2015 Falcon XR6 delivered 195kW/391Nm and the XR6 Turbo boasted 325kW/576Nm.

Kia is claiming a 0-100km/h sprint time of only 5.1 seconds. This compares with the XR6 at 6.1 seconds and the XR6 Turbo at 4.9 seconds.

The V6 will be the initial engine for Australia although a less-expensive 2.0-litre turbo-petrol variant may follow later, and possibly a diesel model.

The Stinger, based on the Genesis (nee Hyundai) G70 platform, could even support the company's 5.0-litre V8 engine. The bent-eight is available in the bigger G90 model in Korea and the US.

The Kia product will undergo further suspension and steering tuning for Australian conditions.

Kia developed its new sedan in Europe – it was first shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show – and nurtured in a market dominated by Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Hyundai-Kia's executive vice-president of vehicle testing and performance development since early 2015, former vice-president of engineering for BMW's M Automobiles, Albert Biermann, has spent most of his time at the company working on handling and ride comfort of the G70 platform.

Though the G70 and Stinger have carried the mantle of "Designed in Frankfurt, developed on the Nurburgring", the Kia product will undergo further suspension and steering tuning for Australian conditions.

It will be the first Kia to have adaptive dampers with electronic adjustment though five ride-comfort, steering and drivetrain modes.

Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the new sedan was a "a car you cannot help but be excited by."

"It has all the attributes to appeal to the Australian enthusiast – exciting design, a high-tech performance engine and gearbox combination and rear-wheel drive," he said.

"The Stinger is the right car to take Kia, and the brand's perception, to the next level in Australia. It is the type of car to add desire and excitement to Kia's core values of style, reliability and value."

A product of Hyundai-Kia's director of design, Peter Schreyer, the Stinger has the 'tiger' family grille and a silhouette similar in its lines to the Optima.

However, the bonnet is longer and the bootline more raked, incorporating a liftback hatch, that has made a resurgence with a number of car-makers.

Styling has been muted in areas including the front air intakes and the slenderness of the windscreen pillars.

Liftback design is now offered on the Skoda Octavia and Superb and, notably, will feature in the next Opel-based Holden Commodore.

Dropped from the 2011 concept Kia is the rear-hinged doors for the rear seat occupants, while styling has been muted in areas including the front air intakes and the slenderness of the windscreen pillars.

Also out is the concept's austere cabin and dashboard, now replaced with circular air vents and a large centre-console touchscreen.

The gear shifter and the instrumentation is similar in style to the Audi A8, as is the use of high-quality leather, alloy trim and piano-black fittings.

Kia Motors Europe chief designer Gregory Guillaume said the Stinger, "has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey. It's about passion."

He described it as, "a true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace."

Can Kia scare the big players with its first serious sports offering? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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