Speaking to the Australian motoring media on the eve of the launch of the new Optima at the New York International Auto Show, the company’s public relations chief Kevin Hepworth said the best way to think of the new Optima turbo is as a grown-up enthusiast’s car.
“The thought behind it, if you want to know how that car will work, is to think ‘gentleman’s [Subaru] WRX’,” Hepworth told CarAdvice.
“It has style, it has good looks. It’s not an overtly boy-racer car but it has an equivalency in power output, so you've got there a car that a young executive or middle-aged executive who still wants to have a bit fun in his life and still put the family in it, go to church, look the part and if he wants to, he has enough punch in it to have a bit of fun and brag with the boys at the golf club.”
Details and photos of the Kia Optima turbo will be unveiled at the NY auto show tomorrow (standard model pictured), however it would be fair to assume it will have similar power output to the Hyundai Sonata turbo (180kW and 350Nm) that shares the same engine, with power delivered through the front-wheels using a six-speed automatic gearbox.
In comparison, the 2015 Subaru WRX has 197kW of power and 350Nm of torque. It’s available with an arguably inferior continuously variable transmission (CVT) but does have the option for a manual. Its biggest advantage is the all-wheel drive system.
Hepworth says the 2016 Kia Optima buyer groups will likely be split into the fleet buyers, who will go for the 2.4-litre naturally aspirated variant, while the private buyers are more likely to pick the higher-spec turbo.
Kia Australia will also do its usual set of localised suspension tuning with the Optima and Optima turbo ahead of its release date in September.
“We will do the full suspension tune on that car. That’s a critical one on for the suspension tune on that vehicle.”
Does the Kia Optima Turbo appeal to you as a ‘gentlemen’s WRX’?
We recently reviewed the outgoing 2015 Kia Optima Turbo.