Speaking on the eve of the New York auto show, where the facelifted Optima will debut, Kia Australia PR manager Kevin Hepworth said that the early-2014 Australian introduction of the tweaked Optima could “possibly” be the right time to launch a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder variant.
While dismissing the likelihood of turbo petrol engine availability in the new-generation Cerato, which arrives locally in April, Hepworth remarked that “the more likely discussions – and this isn’t planning this is just discussions – is for Optima and Sportage” to get turbo petrol power in Australia.
In North America, both the Optima mid-sized sedan and Sportage compact SUV utilise the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine.
“They’re both cars that we’ve looked at and we are looking at,” added Hepworth.
Of the engine itself, the local PR boss says that “it is a really nice thing … it’s almost the equivalent power to the [Subaru] WRX.”
The turbo petrol engine produces 204kW of power at 6000rpm – marginally more than the WRX but less than the STI – and 365Nm of torque at 1750rpm, and in both applications mates with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Hepworth says the decision is currently with the product planning team, but cautions that the introduction of the Pro_Cee'd GT later this year may affect the chances of a turbo petrol Optima and Sportage coming to Australia.
“You’ve got to pick a ‘hero’ car to start with.
“The Pro_Cee'd is not going to be a big volume car, but … I think it’s going to be a priority.
“But I wouldn’t say it [Optima and Sportage turbo] is impossible at all.”
The Pro_Cee'd GT is expected to launch in Australia early next year; the same time the facelifted Optima is expected to arrive.