Kia has come so far in the last 10 years. However, some would argue BMW has gone backward in that time. I remember as a child, Kia would be one of the brands that would be the butt of the joke when it came to cars, so 15-odd years later, who would have thought I’d be sitting here comparing a Kia to a BMW, never mind one with an M badge on it. How things change.
What better place to start than price? The BMW 440i, as new, will set you back around £70,000 (or 87,481.80 USD.}You get a lot of car for that, but the sticker price is only the start of your costs when buying a car. The road tax on the 440i is in supercar territory, costing £1030 to keep your car on the road in the United Kingdom.
Obviously, the used Stinger is much cheaper to buy and run. Kia’s answer to the super saloon costs under half of a new 440i. From a dealership, you can pick one up for around £30,000 (37,492 USD), and road tax isn’t too bad either, £750 less than the BMW (£280).
Battle of the 6-cylinders- Bimma vs Kia
You’d be surprised it’s actually a pretty close call between the two. But since I’m using the Bimma as a benchmark, we’ll start with that. The 440i comes with the now (I’d say at least) iconic BMW straight-six, and am I glad they didn’t go down the Mercedes route of a turbo four. To add to the straight-six noises you get with the BMW, it also comes with hybrid power, which gives a decent economy a boost, not a huge boost, but a boost nonetheless.
The Kia Stinger GT also has a six-cylinder engine, but it’s a 3.3 liter V6 in the Korean alternative, rather than the straight-six of the Bimma, and when you put your foot down, it’s capable of making some nice noises too.
Looks- Did Kia get it right, as BMW may have gotten worse?
Kia got it 100% right with the rear end. It’s the car’s best angle for me, and I love the swooping roofline from a rear quarter view, too. However, much like the BMW, I don’t think Kia got the front end right. If you look at the Stinger side-on it comes to an abrupt end. It gets worse front on, and it doesn’t look sporty or luxurious from the front. It just looks like a Kia saloon (or Sedan if you’re American).
The BMW 440i looks honestly fantastic. I know that the popular consensus (and I mostly agree about BMW’s non-M cars) is that their newest releases seem to get worse to look at. It is true, but I think it’s only a significant problem with BMW’s ‘i’ range of cars, which I’ve written about before. However, there isn’t a thing about the 440i that I’d change, apart from one thing. Can you guess what it is? Of course, you can. It’s the awful newest take on the kidney grille. You could probably fit a small person in there. As standard, the 440i comes with M styling, a lovely set of 19-inch alloys, and it has a beautiful side profile. You might disagree, but I think it is a fantastic looking car.
Features and Interior
Everything is really classy when you step inside the Stinger. Leather seats, a nice infotainment system, and lots of boot space. Kia really did a solid job with the Stinger’s interior. However, I do have one problem. The steering wheel – – it looks outdated. It’s not particularly sporty looking, it’s round and quite large and looks cheap and just not… nice.
The BMW, on the other hand, has a brilliant interior. It’s simple. The overall look of the dash and infotainment screens is clean, understated, and minimalist. As stupid as it sounds, I’m not huge on round steering wheels on sporty models. But the white leather interior just looks so much more luxurious inside than the Kia’s black leather. It also looks higher quality, but there is a bit of a price difference.
Features- Does the flagship Kia give you more for less?
The BMW comes with a lot if you’re willing to pay for options. As standard, you get the usual Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system (surprised you don’t have to subscribe), and cruise control.
However, it’s a whole new world if you can be bothered to pay for options. With options, you can get A heads-up display, heated front seats, a ‘premium’ sound system, and adaptive cruise control. I don’t know about you, but heated front seats being a premium option in 2023 in a car with a price point as high as the 440i is disappointing.
The Kia Gives you the following:
- Android/Apple CarPlay
- wireless phone charging
- smart cruise control
- forward collision avoidance assist
- lane keep assist
- blind spot collision warning
- lane departure warning
- driver attention warning
- heated front seats
- Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition.
Optional extras get you: Harman-Kardon sound system, heated steering wheel, and extra speakers (15 instead of 9). Before writing this, I honestly didn’t know how far Kia went when equipping the Stinger, and it really shows up German manufacturers in the worst way possible. They’ve got too complacent knowing how much they can charge for extras because people will buy regardless. That is why I’m writing this series of comparisons.
So what would you take… The Kia or the BMW?
Both are cars I really like but for different reasons. The BMW has the performance but doesn’t offer enough inside. It’s an acceptable interior, yes, but for the price point, you’d want more. I also wish when the Kia Stinger came out, it had put more pressure on the German Big 3. But it didn’t. This could be a good thing and a bad thing.
It’s a terrible and sad thing that the Stinger didn’t put more pressure on the Big Three German automakers because it would’ve pushed them to improve their product, and if anything, they have gone backward. Subscriptions, charging almost everything as an optional extra. As I mentioned earlier, things like heated seats being optional extras are just not acceptable for a supposedly luxurious brand, and I wish the Kia could’ve sold well enough to help put an end to that sort of thing. But people would rather have a lower trim level BMW than a full spec Kia.
However, from a snobbish car enthusiast’s perspective, I like it when you see someone driving a car like the Stinger. It shows the driver knows what they’re talking about and knows a bit about cars, which is something you don’t think when you see someone driving a 420d just because ‘it’s a BMW.” So, from a car snob perspective, I like that the Stinger GT is quite rare.
So having said all that, I can’t turn around and say I’d take the BMW 440i could I? Or could I. . . No, I couldn’t, I’d take the Kia Stinger GT.