Corporate / Product

New Optima turbo press introduction December 30th, 2010

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.

  • The new Optima has been the ‘belle of the ball’ since its arrival and we are so excited about the coming turbo! The Optima is sure to re invent the mid size class, after it dominates it of course!

  • I’m really looking forward to test driving this car. The numbers on that engine are great – 274 hp, 269 tq, 34mpg hwy. :)

  • Jeff G.

    Total shame that the US-Spec Optima EX Turbo does not include HID headlights, LED taillights and Supervision cluster. You have to get the SX Version which requires ugly black leather. One thing about Kia/Hyundai, even as far as they’ve come, their packages are not consumer friendly. I’m waiting to find out the Sportage Turbo SX will probably only be offered with only black leather as well.

  • Rick S

    I have to completely agree with Jeff G. I wish the Optima SX was offered with the lighter interior. Some of us detest black… And I hope the Sportage SX Turbo is offered with that neat brown/saddle leather interior (please!).

  • Jim Pimms

    I hope that, with the 2.0L turbo engine being used in the Sportage, we can expect a detuned version of it to be utilized in performance editions of the Forte.

  • Andrew S

    Rick should be shot for liking the brown leather interior….but another interior color option would be nice…rick seriously the brown leather interior is the the red interior of a soul sport…its hidious and does not work well with many exterior colors….most sports car buyers want a black interior….but a gray and or biege would be good options….

  • Afshin

    Why only in North America? I can’t understand this policy that powerful engines is specially for US.

  • BernardP

    Dear Kia… I am the satisfied owner of a Forte SX with the 2.4 L engine and 6 speed manual (Canada). In about 18 months, I will be on the market fro a new car.

    I would never have bought my Forte SX if it had not been available with a manual transmission.

    I am very disappointed that only the base model Optima LX is available with a manual transmission. I would like the manual transmission to be available on all trim levels.

    By offering the manual only on the base model, Kia seems to believe that people who buy a manual do so because they can’t “afford” an automatic. This is not the case. I want a manual because it is more fun to drive.

    This is simply a deal-breaker for me.

    Yes, other manufacturers also restrict availability of manual transmissions on cars in the same class as the Optima, but Kia could set itself apart with a broader offer.

  • That looks like a powerful little car, I would love to drive this.

    Oh, and race it :D.

  • Andrew

    It’s a pitty that Kia would limit the Optima turbo to North America. In Australia, the Optima is about to be launched and Kia has struggled to get a share of the market always being thought of as a poor man’s Hyundai. Kia in Australia has just had a good success with the new Sportage 4WD and a follow up success would start to improve the brand image. Ford have grabbed much of the Turbo market here along with Subaru, but a turbo Optima would really be an enjoyable car that would sell well here. Once again, Turbo models really should have manual transmissions as at least an option.

  • Anonymous

    We can’t wait for the Optima to arrive! Gorgeous car, sleek, classy and sporty!

  • Anonymous

    I have a new 2011 Optima and Iam very disappointed in the gas mileage. I had a 2011 4 cyl. Sorrento and went to trade for a 6 cyl. because i heard they get better gas mileage than the 4 cyl. the salesman told me the Optima would get in the 30 mile range I have 4000 miles now not exceeding 2000rpm I am only getting 27 to 28 miles to a gallon. My eco lamp does not go out when i accelerate like my sorento did. dealer told it was not to suppose to go out so how do you know when i am getting best mileage .I have checked each tank manually the computer is 2 miles higher than actual mileage

  • Diezel_g

    If KIA releases a Turbo Optima in AUSTRALIA, im telling you now i know 3 people willing to shin on the dotted line….whats that say???? BRING IT HERE ASAP

  • Harnishrick

    When’s the Optima coming to Canada? Living in Western Canada, it seems we always have to wait! Rick in Regina

  • BillD

    I would be very interested in a Manual Transmission on the Optima Turbo
    and I think many others would also. Cadillac is now offering a Manual
    Transmission on it’s new CTS-V. I hope you rethink your decision.