SEOUL: Kia is not necessarily the badge you'd think of when considering anything from that rare breed of Grand Turismo options. They make cars for your mum, right?

Wrong, because the South Korean brand is now delivering a snorting new beast that threatens to take on the likes of Audi's A5 Sportback, BMW's 4 Series Gran Coupe and VW's Arteon. Squint a bit and you even have an emerging challenge to Ford's formidable Mustang.

Some key facts first. Kia's going to have to add a new option box on its dealer websites since this is its fastest-ever model as well a its first foray into grand touring territory. You get three engine choices: a 251bhp 2.0 GT-Line T-GDi turbo, a 197bhp GT-Line 2.2 CRDi turbodiesel (with S spec versions of each) and a top-option GT S 3.3 T-GDi V6. Prices begin at £31,995 for the petrol and £33,595 for the diesel while that 370bhp V6 is £40,495.

It's a price strategy that puts a lot of heat on German premium brands, though that V6 will be a bold £2,400 north of Ford's cheapest 5.0 V8 415bhp Mustang. Against the latter though, the Stinger V6 is quicker by 0.1 seconds to 62mph (4.7 seconds) and returns an average of 28.5mpg against the Mustang's Esso-hugging 20.9mpg.

We'll tell you how brave KIa's being when we've fully assessed the model, but early taste tests suggest there's serious credibility to back up this newcomer's sensational stance. Distil the driving notes and the message is that the Stinger delivers more than enough feedback and engagement than might be expected from a long-legged GT. Kia poached BMW M Division's Albert Biermann to nurse this project and such accolades as four out of five from Evo suggest he won't be talking to HR soon.

Not that this is going to be a big sell: the Korean brand is posting only 1,800 examples to the UK for the first year and if you want a 4WD and not the straight RWD choice, you'll need to emigrate. Adaptive dampers, which can be stiffened in Sport and Sport+ mode, helping iron out body roll, are available on the S spec, where there is also a Comfort setting and a Smart mode that reacts to your driving style (or lack of it), altering the damping accordingly. All options get eight-speed paddle-change automatic gearing.

And if a Brembo braking gets you salivating, you've another reason to go for the V6. It uses larger discs (350mm at the front and 340mm at the rear) and four-pot callipers to beef up stopping power and boost pedal feel.