Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Kia absolutely crushes it at SEMA with stunning DUB custom Stinger, K900

2019 DUB Kia Stinger
2019 DUB Kia Stinger custom build at SEMA 2018.
Photo by Bill Hayward
At their opening-day press conferences at SEMA 2018 yesterday, some of the other major automakers drew bigger crowds than Kia did, and had more to boast about in terms of new developments like performance upgrades.

But Kia stole the show when it comes to customizations that can surprise and delight a crowd by bringing out hidden potential, provoking a fresh reassessment of strengths in their production lineup that could be easy to overlook.

This was especially true of two of Kia’s eight reveals at SEMA: a 2019 Kia Stinger and a 2019 Kia K900, both reinterpreted by DUB, the southern-California-based magazine publisher and customizer.

2019 DUB Kia Stinger

Myles Kovacs, founder of DUB, said during 2019 Stinger reveal that Kia’s vehicles are “so great from the factory” that it’s difficult to even come up with modifications. But that didn’t stop DUB. Those words of deference understate the thought and creativity that went into DUB’s reimagination of the Stinger.

Part of the Stinger’s allure is its subtlety. It’s a bit of a sleeper. From different angles, the Stinger can look like a very different car, and at a casual glance it can mislead one into an impression of a rather ordinary contemporary sedan. Many have compared the Stinger to the Porsche Panamera.  And from the basic perspective of category, that’s valid.

But does the comparison go much further? A Porsche is always a Porsche, even if it is in the form of a sedan or crossover. There is always that feel of the austere beauty who quiets conversation and magnetically draws every eye, if only for a moment, when she walks into a crowded room. That is every bit as true of the Panamera as it is with any other Porsche.

In contrast, with the Stinger, you have to look a lot more closely before you realize that there might be a very, very naughty girl underneath that rather conservative dress.

The visual presentation of the 2019 DUB Kia Stinger brings more of that naughtiness to the surface, while still keeping everything seamless and tasteful. It features a custom metal wide-body modification with a striking two-tone finish, with an Avery brushed aluminum wrap and black carbon fiber accents on the hood and rear spoiler.

Inside, upgrades integrating accents of red leather and suede into the dash, steering wheel, seats, and door panels add a touch of classic European sports-car flair to the black leather Stinger interior.

Performance gets a bit of a boost from a custom exhaust upgrade and a custom air intake.

2019 DUB Kia K900

2019 DUB Kia K900
DUB 2019 Kia K900 Build at SEMA 2018.
Photo by Bill Hayward.
For Kia’s K900 luxury sedan, it was as if DUB decided to give it the electroshock treatment, powering up the strength and understatement of what Kia calls its “Gravity of Prestige” design aesthetic with a jolt of electric blue. Yes, it’s a shock—but it works.

The electrification carries over into the interior, where DUB added some lightning strikes with accents of electric blue trim and LED lighting.

Engine mods included a custom cold air intake and custom exhaust.

The K900 clearly ain’t no Stinger, which is one of those vehicles that, like the Panamera, calls for a reassessment of what a four-door sedan can be. But an electric-blue K900 nevertheless makes a bold statement to remind us that a daily-commuter or dadmobile doesn’t have to be boring.

It also shows how, when an automaker knows how to artfully build out its design language through all levels of the lineup, an aspirational flagship—in this case, the Stinger—can, if it’s good enough, afford to share some of its spark with the more accessible and practical offering one notch down.

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