Kia is almost certain to have a turbocharged variant in its all-new Optima sedan range, more evidence that it plans updated performance options to compliment the design of its sportier-looking offerings. The boosted 2.0-litre inline four has so far been available only on a US-spec Optima, but it is expected to be a global option when the fourth-generation Optima (above) is unveiled at the New York motor show this week.Kia Australia has confirmed the turbocharged engine will be in the Optima line-up when the new sedan goes on sale across the ditch later this year. That means it is pretty much a sure thing for New Zealand, which shares largely the same Australian Design Rule model range. But Kia Motors NZ general manager Todd McDonald wouldn’t be drawn on the turbo Optima’s possible place in the range here, saying only: “At the moment it is being strongly evaluated for New Zealand.” The South Korean carmaker wants to add more oomph under some of its bonnets to capitalise on the distinct design language its German stylist Peter Schreyer has created for the brand. Assuming the go-faster turbo Optima is available, it is not known whether it will replace or join the existing 2.4-litre engine in the line-up. The direct-injection 2.4-litre inline petrol four has been the only engine of choice since the Optima went on sale on both sides of the Tasman early in 2011. It is an adequate performer, delivering 148kW at 6300rpm and 250Nm at 4250rpm through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. Claimed fuel use is around 8 litres/100km (35mpg) for a C02 emissions factor of 189gr/km. The 2.0-litre turbo for the Down Under market is expected to deliver similar power to the US unit – 204kW at 6000rpm and 365Nm between 1650-4500rpm. The wide torque band will add a performance dimension through the gears that the 2.4-litre engine lacks, especially lower down in the rev range. But the penalty is likely to be increased fuel use. In US-spec, the 2.0-litre turbo uses more petrol than the naturally aspirated 2.4-litre. No surprises there, the Optima is not small, weighing in at 1556kg. But Kia and its parent Hyundai have made much of tailoring its vehicles to suit Down Under road conditions, including optimising fuel consumption. A teaser picture of the new Optima’s striking front end shows off designer Schreyer’s hand. Expect similar touches inside, with more room,
premium features, and new safety and infotainment technology.