The Top 5 Kia Stinger Performance Upgrades. The Kia Stinger debuted in 2018 with two engine options: a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 and a 2.0L single-turbo I4. The 2.5L turbocharged I4 was added as a third gas engine option in 2020. Internationally, a 2.2L diesel engine is also available.
The 3.3TT V6, also known as the Lambda II engine, generates 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0T engine, also known as the Theta II engine, has 252hp and 260lb-ft of torque. The 2.5L Smartstream engine produces 300hp and 311lb-ft of torque in the middle.
While even the smallest 2.0T engine produces adequate power, enthusiasts are always looking for a little more. While the 3.3L twin-turbo engine has the most factory power and potential, the turbocharged nature of the 2.0 and 2.5 allows for some significant power gains as well.
This guide will concentrate on the best Kia Stinger performance upgrades in general. Because all Stingers are turbocharged, these modifications apply to all engines. However, because it is the most heavily modified, this post will focus on the 3.3L twin-turbo. For the 2.0 and 2.5, we still recommend a tune, intake, downpipe, and intercooler. Just keep in mind that the power levels listed are for the 3.3 Kia Stinger.
This guide is also useful for those looking for Hyundai G70 performance mods.
Best Kia Stinger Modifications
The following are some of the best Kia Stinger upgrades:
- Full E85 Injection / Chargepipe Injection
We will go over each of the above mods in greater detail throughout the rest of this article. Turbos, for example, provide greater power gains than the upgrades listed above. The above simple bolt-on mods, on the other hand, are a great starting point for taking the 2.0T or 3.3L twin turbo Stinger to the next level.
Preparation: Spark Plugs
When extra boost is added, the stock spark plugs on the Kia Stinger are prone to spark plug blowout and misfires. If you intend to tune your stinger, you must upgrade the spark plugs to a “colder” plug. You have two choices: 1-step and 2-step colder spark plugs. 1-step colder plugs are suitable for any Stinger that is full bolt-on and produces less than 500whp. If you intend to upgrade your turbos and exceed 500whp, we recommend 2-step colder plugs.
Related : The Guide to the 5.7 HEMI Supercharger
1) Stinger Kia Tune
A flash or piggyback tune is the best bang-for-buck mod for a Stinger. The 3.3L’s internals are considered good up to 800whp, and the stock turbos are good for 475-500whp. Kia left a lot of power potential on the table with a stock 3.3 Stinger dynoing around 350whp, most likely for the sake of reliability.
Tunes primarily boost power by increasing the amount of turbo boost. Because there is a lot of space between the stock power levels and the engine and turbo’s safe limits, the boost can be turned up quite a bit to produce some significant power gains. Furthermore, a tune is ideal for additional modifications because it adjusts various engine variables such as timing and fueling to correspond with the car’s existing mods, maximizing power gains from the other mods and creating a healthier engine overall.
You won’t be able to beat a tune on price per horsepower. If you only make one modification to your Stinger, this is the one we recommend. The ability to quickly switch between maps and turn tunes on and off on the fly makes them user friendly and an excellent mod for beginners.
Advantages of Piggyback Tuning
- Gains of up to 80whp and 100wtq
- User-friendly and plug-and-play
- Pre-loaded with various maps for various power levels
- Increases the power of other mods.
- Overall, the engine is healthier.
Kia Stinger Tuning at its Finest
Burger Motorsports JB4 is a Kia Stinger piggyback tuner. We use BMS JB4 on our BMWs because they are one of the industry’s most trusted names. Tuners are available for all engines, including the 3.3TT, 2.0T, and 2.5T.
The JB4 simply plugs into the ECU and provides a variety of prepackaged maps and tunes that can be changed on the fly, even while driving, and is E85 compatible. Depending on the map, it can provide power gains of up to 80whp and 100wtq, as well as everything in between. It is extremely simple to data log directly from your mobile device using Bluetooth connectivity.
Price: $529 (less than $7 per hp)
2) Upgrades to the Stinger Cold Air Intake
More power necessitates more combustion, and combustion necessitates the presence of air. When you add a tuner and increase boost, it is critical to bring more air into the engine to reduce turbo stress. The factory intake is fine at stock power levels, but once boost is added, it becomes awful and highly restrictive. For tuned Stingers, replacing the factory intake with a cold air intake is a must.
The term “cold air intake” isn’t always applicable here. The 3.3TT engine’s intake systems are housed within the factory air box rather than being routed to a lower portion of the engine bay to pick up colder air. Instead, the factory boxes are removed, and a larger filter is used to draw in more air. On turbocharged engines, air intake temperatures don’t always matter because the air is heated as it passes through the turbo and then cooled as it enters the intercooler.
Overall, an intake is the second best Stinger mod and a must-have for anyone running the JB4 or another tuner. Our only recommendation is to use an open intake system like Burger Motorsports intake rather than a partially enclosed and thus more restrictive airflow system like Stillen.
Advantages of Cold Air Intake Performance
- Gains of 15-25whp and torque are comparable.
- Increased airflow
- Turbo stress has been reduced.
- Sounds of cool intake
- Intake for Kia Stinger
BMS not only provides the best intake on the market, but it is also one of the most affordable at $379. Their dual intake system makes use of high-quality S&B filters and includes heat shields to keep the filters from sucking in hot engine air. It is a direct replacement for the factory intake system.
When combined with the JB4 tuner, BMS claims 27whp and 28wtq gains, with a dyno to back it up. These are some of the best returns on the market. However, don’t expect to see power levels like this from their intake alone, or any other intake. An upgraded intake on a stock Stinger will likely result in 8-10whp gains. To get above that, you’ll need to combine the intake with a tune and increased boost.
Price: $379 ($14 per hp)
3) Kia Stinger Downpipe Upgrades
The downpipes connect directly to the turbocharger and are the first component of the Kia Stinger’s exhaust system. The primary catalytic converters are housed in the factory downpipes, which are naturally restrictive due to their filling with various metals and materials that block airflow. Furthermore, because the downpipes are so close to the turbo, there is a lot of backpressure on the turbo and turbine wheels.
On turbo engines, you want as little backpressure in the exhaust system as possible, especially near the turbo. Backpressure exerts force against the turbine wheel, putting strain on the turbo as it attempts to spin faster in order to provide more boost with the tuner.
Furthermore, when you have an intake and a tune, you produce more exhaust gases. This increases backpressure on the turbo, lowering performance, increasing EGTs, and decreasing turbo reliability and efficiency.
As a result, we advise upgrading the downpipes. People on the forums will tell you that it gives you 0whp and is therefore useless. We can’t find many dyno results to back it up, but this is simply not true, at least not if you’re tuned and running an intake. Yes, the gains on a stock Stinger may be zero. However, this is not the case when tuned. They also reduce turbo stress, which improves turbo reliability.
Many people will tell you to just do the midpipe or catback. I agree if you want more sound gains. However, downpipes outperform all other exhaust components in terms of power gains and turbo efficiency improvements.
Cat-Free vs. High-Flow
Catless downpipes are illegal, so we’ll start there. They will not emit any emissions. High-flow ones are technically illegal as well because it is illegal to remove a non-defective factory emissions system, but they will pass emissions in most states and you can claim your stock cats failed.
Catless downpipes have no restriction and thus provide the greatest backpressure reduction. High-flow downpipes are slightly more restrictive, but they keep emissions at bay.
My best guess is that high-flow downpipes add about 5whp and catless downpipes add about 10whp. Another disadvantage of high-flow is that they are much more expensive because they contain catalytic converters.
Advantages of a Stinger Upgraded Downpipe
- 5 watts catted, 10 watts catless
- Exhaust backpressure has been reduced.
- Increased turbo efficiency and dependability
- Exhaust note is slightly louder.
4) Upgrades to the Stinger Performance Intercooler
The stock intercooler, or FMIC, is another source of contention among factory Stinger components. It’s fine when the car is stock, but once it’s been tuned and modded, it becomes restrictive. When you’re tuned and driving aggressively, doing back-to-back pulls on the street or track, the factory intercooler can easily become overwhelmed. It causes heat soak in the turbos, which reduces performance.
Upgrading the intercooler entails purchasing an FMIC with a larger core and end tanks, which has more cooling capacity. An intercooler upgrade does not always result in significant power gains, but it does provide more consistent performance and keeps you from losing a lot of power. When experiencing significant heat soak, the stock intercooler can lose 30-40whp. An upgraded intercooler will give you about 10whp while also preventing heat soak, saving you 30-40whp.
It is not only good for performance, but it is also good for reliability. Heat is the number one killer of all engines. If you’re tuned and running an intake, this is a must-have in our opinion.
Advantages of an Upgraded Intercooler
The following are some of the advantages of Kia Stinger intercooler upgrades:
- 10whp improvements
- Avoids heat soak
- More consistent performance when driving aggressively
- EGT reduction and increased engine reliability
- Increased boost capacity
Best Intercooler for a Kia Stinger
Again, the Burger Motorsports Stinger 3.3L intercooler is our favorite on the market due to its excellent price-to-performance ratio. Look at how much bigger it is than the stock intercooler, which provides significant reductions in IATs and eliminates heat soak.
The BMS intercooler can produce up to 800whp and is compatible with meth and CPI fuel injection. While remaining a direct bolt-on replacement, the intercooler has a significantly larger core and larger end tanks.
5) E85 Fuel Injection and Chargepipe Injection
Before we go any further, I’d like to point out that CPI fueling and full E85 aren’t required unless you plan on upgrading your turbos. The stock turbos are good for 475-500whp, and you can get close to that with a tune, intake, intercooler, and downpipes. As a result, unless you plan on exceeding these levels, fueling mods are essential. In addition, at around $800, this is the most expensive mod on our list.
The first option is to use 100% E85 fuel. However, the stock HPFP, like the LPFP, is a limiting factor here. To run 100% E85, an upgraded LPFP and chargepipe injection are required. Chargepipe injection is the preferred route when the performance HPFP costs more than $1,500. Remember that you’ll need a flex fuel kit to monitor ethanol fuel mixes. Depending on mods and tuning, E85 mixes can produce 20-30whp gains, while full E85 can produce 50whp or more.
Chargepipe injection is the second fueling modification. This is still good for people running regular pump gas, but it can also be used for ethanol blends; however, running 100% E85 will require additional upgrades. An alternative to upgrading the HPFP is to add a 7th injector to the chargepipe, which can provide an additional 75-100whp over the stock fueling limits, which are in line with the turbo limits.
We’ll leave this section at that because it’s a little more advanced and for the big power seekers. Stock fueling is limited to 475-500whp. Fortunately, you’ll need upgraded turbos to get past these levels, so don’t worry about it until you’ve decided to do turbo upgrades.
Summary of Kia Stinger Performance Upgrades
The 3.3L twin-turbo Lambda II engine is quite powerful, with stock turbos capable of 475-500whp on the 3.3L Stinger and estimates that the internals are good for near 800whp. For a few thousand dollars, simple bolt-on mods like a tune, intake, downpipes, and intercooler can push the Stinger 3.3 to 475whp. Upgraded turbos and additional fueling via chargepipe injection or HPFP/LPFP upgrades are required for those looking to exceed 500whp.
While this guide is geared toward the 3.3TT, it also applies to Kia Stingers with the 2.0t and 2.5t engines. For those engines, we still recommend a tune, intake, downpipes, and an intercooler. While not as powerful as the 3.3, those mods will still provide a solid 100whp over stock levels.