The all-new Kia Optima has made its European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Revealed earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show, this fourth-generation D-segment contender from Korea takes on an evolutionary approach in its design, but Kia promises the new Optima is a more refined product than the outgoing model, with a better cabin littered with more high-tech equipments.
Kia kept most of the Optima’s key design features from the third-gen Optima, but made them smoother on the new model and at the same time improved the drag coefficient from 0.30 to 0.29. It’s bigger in every dimension too. The width has been increased by 25 mm to 1,860 mm, whereas overall length is 10 mm longer at 4,855 mm, and it’s taller by 10 mm at 1,465 mm.
At the front, the conjoined headlamps with the tiger nose grille is retained, but the quad ice cube foglamps on each side have been dropped in favour of a pair of round foglamps. The side profile is also retained, with the trademark arch from the base of the A-pillar to the boot and the kicked-up C-pillar. Wheel options are available with sizes from 16 to 18-inches. The long tail features a pair of tidied up wrap-around LED tail lights, while the reflectors have moved to the edge of the diffuser on the bumper that also houses a chromed oval tailpipe.
For the interior, Kia boasted a great improvement on materials used, and the cabin is now quiter with reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). There’s also more space for everyone inside thanks to the revised dimensions! The dashboard is still angled towards the driver (by 8.5 degrees to be exact), but the design now stretches across the front passenger for an increased sense of space.
A choice of a 7.0-inch or an 8.0-inch screen is available, and the latter is a touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation. There’s also a wireless charging bay located at the base of the center console. A six-speaker audio system is fitted as standard, but audiophiles will be pleased to know that there’s an option for a 10-speaker 590 watt Harman Kardon Premium Sound system.
For the European market, the new Optima will be offered with either a CVVL petrol or a CRDi diesel powerplant. The petrol unit is a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder developing 161 hp and 196 Nm, while the diesel unit is a turbocharged 1.7-litre four-cylinder producing 140 hp and a whopping 340 Nm of torque.
Both engines will be paired to a six-speed manual transmission as standard, but there’s also an option for the new seven-speed dual clutch transmission for the oil burning Optima. The petrol variant however, won’t be getting that option, instead there’s a six-speed slushbox available as an option.
The 1.7 CRDi will also get a rack-mounted electric motor-driven power steering system (R-MDPS) fitted as standard, and the R-MDPS is said to provide quicker response and greater steering feel. There’s also the optional electronic controlled suspension system with internal valves (ECS) with Normal and Sport modes which controls all four dampers individually via G-force sensors used to detect steering and throttle inputs from the driver.
Other options available include Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS), High Beam Assist (HBA), Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and Blind Spot Detection (BSD).
Meanwhile, Kia also previewed a sportier variant in Frankfurt, the Optima GT. Featuring a turbocharged T-GDI engine, mild exterior update with sportier bumpers, dual tailpipes, and new set of 18-inch alloys, the GT also gets a tuned suspension “engineered for European roads”. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder produces 242 hp and 353 Nm of torque, and it’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Kia says the Optima GT is still in development, but the prototype shown in Frankfurt hinted at how the production version may look like when it goes on sale in 2016. The 2.0 CVVL and the 1.7 CRDi variants will go on sale in Q4 2015 in Europe, and Kia has also confirmed that their D-segment sedan will be joined by a wagon some time in the future.
Kia Optima GT