Hello everyone! Today we’d like to share some images and Q&A from the New Optima turbo press introduction held in Miami and LA in December. The U.S. media test drive was prepared for journalists to give them a chance to experience Optima’s powerful new turbo powertrain on an actual motor speedway, freeways, the Pacific Coast Highway and tight and twisting canyon roads. The Optima turbo is the first high-performance sedan launched by Kia and we are sure that many of our fans in blogosphere want to know more about this exciting new vehicle from Kia Motors. So here are some of the questions we received from journalists along with answer from Kia.
Do you feel that you have to educate buyers on turbo technology since most have the idea that turbos deliver shorter engine life and lower fuel economy?
Yes, there is an education process with consumers for a turbo engine. Turbos now can mean more power and better fuel economy, and getting that across to consumers means educating buyers on a dealer level, on Kia.com, etc. Other OEMs also assist by getting the same message across with their turbo offerings.
Did you perform an over-rev test?
Yes, all OEMs target red-lining. Our red-line is 6500; we tested at 6800 for over 20 hours.
How do you get around the four-cylinder bias?
On top of offering better fuel economy with just as much power as other V6s, we get around the “mental block” of a four-cylinder by getting people behind the wheel and testing the car themselves. We conducted blind powertrain studies that showed that almost every consumer chose the four-cylinder over the competitive V6s. Also, we offer ride-and-drive opportunities at all major auto shows and other experiential events around the country to get consumers in the car to test it before they get to the dealers.
Any different maintenance expected between a normally aspirated engine and the turbo?
In general, no. Turbos have a recommended maintenance interval of 6,000 miles.
How will heat affect the performance?
We don’t expect any affect. The intercooler system on the Turbo is extremely efficient.
This is something we were concerned about and addressed from the beginning.
Do you have 0-60 figure yet?
A: Not officially.
How does this Turbo fit with the introduction of the Sportage Turbo?
Optima Turbo will go on sale first and the Sportage Turbo will be available during the
first quarter of 2011. The Sportage Turbo also will be calibrated differently and likely
offer slightly lower horsepower than the Optima Turbo.
Is the suspension tuned differently than the base Optima model?
The dampers are weighted to give more damping, and the steering was turned to be a
little more responsive than the base model.
What is the difference between the Sonata Turbo and Optima Turbo?
The powertrain is shared, however we have different equipment than Sonata, including larger front disk brakes, available panoramic sunroof, HID headlights and LED tail lamps. The biggest difference between the two is the tuning, including NVH, suspension, steering feel, etc. Optima Turbo is tuned to be sportier and more responsive, appealing to Kia’s core demographic.
There was no mention of M/T for the Turbo, is it only A/T?
Yes, it’s only available in A/T.
What was the rationale of offering no M/T?
Most competitive V6’s also are A/T only, and looking at the market and consumer demands, there just isn’t as much desire for a M/T anymore.
Are the interior volume dimensions the same as Sonata?
They are similar; Optima’s interior volume is a little less than the 120 cubic feet in total.
Where is the Optima built and how many units will be built?
Optima is built in Korea. It is a global product first launching in Korea, followed by the U.S. Demand has exceeded supply and we are trying to get as many here as we can.
*Editor’s note: New Optima turbo model will be only available in North America.