Kia is offering more and more performance cars for its European customers. The most recent addition is the new Optima Sportswagon GT. There are clear links between the new Optima Sportswagon GT and the Stinger GT S. Both were developed under the auspices of Albert Biermann, Kia’s Head of Vehicle Test and High-Performance Development.
All have been put through an extensive testing regime on Alpine roads, German motorways and at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
And the Optima Sportswagon GT is powered by a 2.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) engine which also one of the three engines available on the Stinger. The engine incorporates an Electric Sound Generator which relays the engine note into the cabin.
The 2.0-litre unit in the Optima Sportswagon GT model develops 241bhp at 6,000rpm, but of more use for a greater proportion of the time is the 353Nm of torque available from 1,400 to 3,500rpm. The Optima Sportswagon GT can reach 60mph from standstill in 7.3 seconds.
The six-speed automatic gearbox is linked to paddle shifters on the steering column so that more enthusiastic drivers can control gearshifts manually.
The major difference compared with other models in the Optima range is the Electronic Controlled Suspension fitted to the GT version. This allows the damping force at each wheel to be adjusted individually by monitoring road conditions, steering inputs and the position of the accelerator pedal so that the suspension can adapt itself for a sportier ride or greater comfort, according to driving style. The system can be swapped between Normal, Sport, Smart and Eco modes via a Drive Mode Select switch.
The ride height of the GT model has also been lowered by 10mm and there are stiffer spring rates front and rear, firmer damping forces, a stiffer front anti-roll bar and firmer rear bushes to enhance body control and provide sharper turn-in. The Motor Driven Power Steering with rack-mounted electronic control system (R-MDPS) has been re-developed to provide greater steering feel and precision, while the brake discs have been enlarged by 30mm front and rear. Those at the rear are ventilated in the GT models. The Optima Sportswagon GT rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 R18 tyres.