Kia will be taking a giant dive into the unknown with the production version of the Stinger, which has been developed to be more like a hardcore BMW M4 than the brand's previous sporty-ish efforts, among them the Proceed GT and Koup.
It's also heading for a new price high for the South Korean brand, beyond the $60,000 of its flagship Sorento SUV.
"This car is the CK. It comes next year," says Kia Motors Australia chief SH Cho — CK being the Kia codename for the production version of the 2014 show car. Cho is reluctant to go into detail on the CK, but suggests the Stinger provides the design direction.
However, Kia insiders hint at a twin-turbo V6 and rear-wheel drive in an all-new mechanical platform that is not shared — yet — with Hyundai. It will be similar in size to the sister company's compact Genesis G30 that's coming next year.
The CK is believed to be the first project in South Korea by Albert Biermann, who was formerly the vice-president of engineering at the M performance division at BMW.
Biermann was poached by Hyundai-Kia to develop high-performance models and his brief also covers vehicle testing.
He is the second high-ranking German to join the Koreans. Peter Schreyer began as head of design at Kia Motors and was later promoted to become one of three presidents.
The Stinger will join two other important all-new arrivals for 2017. "We have all-new Rio in January, then new Picanto in March, and CK in July. This will be a very big year for us," says Cho.
He says there will be a step change in Australian sales next year. There are no more new arrivals for 2016 and he aims to lay the groundwork for a big push in 2017.
"This year we aim for 38,000 sales. Next year we want to be over 50,000," he says. "We have a lot of new product next year. And it's expanding the range."