The 2011 Kia Optima was a head-turner at the latest New York Auto Show with its sleek lines and the corporate Kia nose, earning it the recognition as one of the best-looking cars at the show.
Chief designer Peter Schreyer made the Optima's lines subtler than the Hyundai Sonata. By the looks of it, the Optima sedan will be positioned as the sportier member of the Hyundai-Kia midsize family.
It's probable that to extend the Optima line, a coupe version of the Optima (likely to be named the Kia Optima Koup) will be produced.
Insider sources say that Kia is working on an Optima coupe that could be launched in late 2011. It's quite easy to imagine the lines of this sedan translating well to a two-door body style. Sources also said that these renderings are quite close to the designs being considered for production.
Kia is also expected to utilize both the direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (200hp) and the 274-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four in the Optima Coupe. Meanwhile, the turbo Optima Koup is likely to receive a lowered sport suspension, low-profile tires and a subtle rear-deck spoiler.
However, a manual transmission on the 2.0T Kia Optima coupe isn't part of the plan. Hyundai and Kia think that no one would really be against owning a six-speed automatic.
The new Kia Optima features a distinct silhouette and a sleek stance that enhance its image as a high-performance yet elegant model. Its front end is marked by the carmaker’s signature grille flanked by projector headlamps.
When viewed from the sides, the new Kia Optima reveals a coupe-like profile with its sweeping chrome arc flowing from the A-pillar to the C-pillar – a design feature that does not only enhance its proportions but also visually lowers the vehicle. Its roofline is intimately linked to a pronounced shoulder line leading to the sculpted flanks and the extended wheelbase of 2,795 mm.
The new Kia Optima also features a sloping rear window and flared wheel arches – all providing the vehicle with a muscular yet elegant stance. Exterior elements for the new Kia Optima include solar glass and dual exhausts, as well as indicators on the wing mirrors.
Features like fog lights, heated exterior mirrors and chrome or body-colored door handles as well as 17-inch alloy wheels and 215/55 R17 tires are also available depending on the trim level. Higher trim levels for the Kia Optima should include the distinct front grille flanked by HID headlights with auto leveling, LED rear lights, rear lip spoiler, sculpted side sills and aero wiper blades. Also included are red brake calipers and 18-inch black machined finish alloy wheels wrapped in 225/45 R18 tires.
The spacious and comfortable interior of the new Kia Optima features an instrument panel shaped towards a driver, accommodating gauges and controls for a sportier feel. Drivers are treated to paddle shifters placed just the steering wheel -- offered as standard on automatic versions of the Kia Optima outside North America – as well as to a high console with a short shifter.
Kia is making available an optional glass panoramic sunroof for an open-air driving and riding experience. Of course, the new Kia Optima is provided with an array of standard convenience features, including its lean and ergonomic seat design. The cabin also offers a six-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support and a trip computer, as well as illuminated vanity mirrors. [source insideline | photos: theophilus chin]