Kia’s eye­ing up Op­ti­mal per­for­mance


APERFORMANCE ver­sion of Kia’s Op­tima es­tate is be­ing in­tro­duced and it uses an en­gine de­rived from that in the Stinger grand tourer. The new Op­tima Sportswagon GT will be the flag­ship of a new Op­tima line-up from Kia – and the only one pow­ered purely by a petrol en­gine.

The oth­ers will use Kia’s new 1.6-litre diesel which is claimed to be good for 62.8mpg while the plug-in petrol-elec­tric pow­er­train re­mains an al­ter­na­tive.

Prices for the new range start from £22,260 – an in­crease of some £800 – for an Op­tima saloon while the Sportswagon costs from £23,100.

The new GT is priced from £33,350 and is pow­ered by a 241bhp de­riv­a­tive of Kia’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol en­gine mated to a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

It’s not quite as quick as the Stinger but with a 0 to 60 time of 7.3 sec­onds and a top end of 144mph it is the quick­est Op­tima to date.

More­over, it comes with an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled sus­pen­sion and up­rated steer­ing and brakes for sporty han­dling.

There’s also an elec­tronic sound sys­tem which re­lays the en­gine note into the cabin for some added thrills.

Like the Stinger, the Op­tima Sportswagon GT has been de­vel­oped un­der the guid­ance of Kia’s head of high per­for­mance cars Al­bert Bier­mann and tested to the lim­its on Ger­many’s Nur­bur­gring Nord­schleife cir­cuit.

As well as its sporty dy­nam­ics the new GT comes fully kit­ted with an eight-inch touch­screen sat nav sys­tem, au­to­matic park­ing, full smart­phone com­pat­i­bil­ity and a wire­less phone charger.

With a ride height low­ered by around half-an-inch, the car sits on 18-inch al­loys and comes with restyled LED fog lamps, black mir­ror caps, side sills and grille.

At the rear the GT has twin ex­haust out­lets while in­side there’s red leather sports seats, a D-shaped steer­ing wheel and a re­vised in­stru­ment clus­ter which can show turbo boost and torque out­put.

Fuel con­sump­tion is rated at 30.7mpg with emis­sions of 211g/km.

The GT model is avail­able only as an es­tate and is com­ing on stream as Kia gives the Op­tima a re­work in­tro­duc­ing new tech­nol­ogy as well as sub­tle style changes and the new diesel en­gine to the other mod­els.

All ver­sions will come with a driver fa­tigue mon­i­tor while au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing, lane keep­ing as­sis­tance and full LED head­lamps are also avail­able.

Top grade Gt-line S mod­els, priced from £31,400 and again only avail­able as a Sportswagon, will fea­ture added equip­ment such as an all-round cam­era sys­tem, rear cross traf­fic alert and blind spot mon­i­tors.

The new en­gine – which re­places the pre­vi­ous 1.7-litre diesel – com­plies with the lat­est Euro­pean emis­sion reg­u­la­tions and uses a se­lec­tive cat­alytic re­duc­tion sys­tem.

Car­bon emis­sions for the saloon are 117g/km for a six speed man­ual which equates to 62.8mpg while the es­tate is rated at 121g/km and 61.4mpg. Kia says its new Op­tima will be the quick­est yet.

A seven-speed dual clutch trans­mis­sion is avail­able priced from £25,700 for the saloon and £1,000 more for the es­tate and those are rated at 117 and 122g/km re­spec­tively.

Per­for­mance fig­ures for the man­ual saloon are 0 to 60 in 10.6 sec­onds with a max­i­mum of 122mph and 10.8 sec­onds for the es­tate which tops out at 121mph. DCT mod­els are marginally slower at 11.2 0 to 60 for the saloon and 11.4 sec­onds for the Sportswagon.

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