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The German godfathers behind Kia's 'game changer'

Photo credit: HANS GREIMEL

DETROIT -- It’s the Korean car with the German godfathers.

Teutonic duo Peter Schreyer and Albert Biermann pulled the wraps Sunday night on the Kia Stinger, a sleek and sporty GT bearing the European imprints of both executives.

Schreyer, the design chief for Kia and Hyundai, turned styling over to the brand’s studio in Frankfurt, Germany. And Albert Biermann, head of vehicle testing and high performance for both brands, fine-tuned the drivability and road manners on Germany’s Nurburgring circuit.

“He wanted it to drive like it looks,” Schreyer said of Biermann’s handling handiwork.

In keeping with Kia’s tag line, “The power to surprise,” the Stinger will turn heads by taking the Kia brand into new territory -- both sporty and luxurious, Schreyer said at the unveiling.

“It’s a game changer for Kia,” Schreyer said. “It’s a new Kia now.”

Biermann, who was poached from BMW to inject the Korean cars with more performance DNA, said the Stinger would hold its own against some big names, including the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, the Audi A4 as well as rivals from Lexus and Infiniti.

Those are high ambitions for a brand long known as cheap and cheerful.

Biermann said he showered especially lavish attention on the Stinger as a favorite pet project.

“I put more focus on this than maybe several other cars,” Biermann said. “Such a car you never love to leave alone. You want to really babysit this thing all the time.”

You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel@crain.com -- Follow Hans on Twitter: @hansgreimel

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