Engineered for Europe: the new Kia Optima GT

Published | 02/09/2016


Engineered for Europe: the new Kia Optima GT

  • Most powerful Kia ever sold in Europe, available from Q4 2016
  • Engineered for European buyers with Europe-based development regime
  • Blends performance with engaging handling and assured ride
  • 2.0-litre T-GDI engine produces 245 ps and 350 Nm torque; paired withsix-speed automatic transmission
  • Stand-out exterior design and performance-inspired cabin
  • Available with new Sportswagon body style

Munich, 26 August 2016 – The all-new Kia Optima GT, the most powerful car Kia has ever produced for Europe, will go on sale across the continent in Q4 2016, available either as a four-door sedan or Sportswagon.

With an athletic exterior and interior design, engaging driving characteristics, and a high-powered turbocharged gasoline engine, the Optima GT has been fine-tuned specifically to match the dynamic expectations of European buyers. The car is a collaborative effort between Kia’s European R&D centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and Kia’s global R&D base in Namyang, Korea.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, said: “We have always wanted to create a high-powered car like this in Europe, for Europe. Having a flagship model in the Optima range will put us in front of an audience that seeks rewarding driving dynamics and thrilling performance, yet still appreciates the comfort, refinement and quality that buyers have come to expect from Kia.”


The Optima GT is due to go on sale across Europe in Q4 2016, and will be sold with Kia’s 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty as standard.


More athletic design, inside and out

The Optima GT has been designed to offer a more athletic appearance than the standard Optima model upon which it is based.


Modifications to the exterior of the Optima GT include newly-designed front and rear bumpers, with a new satin chrome air intake and lower grille. The ‘tiger-nose’ grille also gets a new hot-stamped satin chrome finish, and the integrated headlamps bear a new LED light signature. In profile, the GT stands out with new 18-inch aluminium alloy wheel design accommodating red brake callipers and the car’s larger ventilated discs, as well as satin chrome side strakes and door handles There is a new gloss black insert to the GT’s side sills. At the rear, the Optima features special GT badging, and a new rear diffuser book-ended by dual exhaust mufflers.


The Optima GT is available in the same nine exterior paint finishes as the rest of the Optima model line-up.


Inside, the Optima GT boasts a similarly refined, high-quality interior as that found in non-GT versions, with a more dynamic intent in its design execution and function.


Leaving occupants in no doubt as to the more engaging character of the car, the new leather sports seats in the front and the rear bench are finished in either black with red stitching, or red with grey stitching. Front seats feature an embroidered GT logo, with 25.9 mm larger side bolsters and 14.4 mm taller thigh bolsters for added support.


The grey headlining of the conventional Optima is replaced with black suede, while the centre console is finished in aluminium. Finally, for the driver, the Optima GT features new aluminium pedals and a black leather-wrapped D-shaped steering wheel with red stitching. Like the seats, the steering wheel also has the GT emblem. A unique instrument cluster further reflects the car’s higher performance, displaying a digital turbo boost pressure gauge and a meter showing the car’s current torque output.


245 ps from new 2.0-litre T-GDI engine

The Optima GT is powered by Kia’s new 2.0-litre T-GDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) engine. The all-aluminium engine produces 245 ps at 6,000 rpm, and produces its peak torque, 350 Nm, between 1,350 and 4,000 rpm.


The Optima GT represents the first application of this new engine, which features a range of innovations to realise the GT model’s greater performance.


Chief among these is a motor-driven CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) system, paired with new laser-drilled fuel injectors. Combined, these contribute towards the Optima GT’s performance, while also aiding exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency. The engine is fitted with a high pressure 200 bar fuel pump, further minimising emissions and enhancing the combustion characteristics of the engine.


The Optima GT is capable of 8.2 L/100km fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 191 g/km (combined, New European Driving Cycle), and can accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 7.4 seconds (Sportswagon, 7.6 seconds). The turbocharger and wide torque band enable drivers to accelerate from 60-to-100 kph in just 3.7 seconds (Sportswagon, 3.8 seconds). A top speed of 240 kph (Sportswagon, 232 kph) makes it the fastest vehicle that Kia has ever produced for Europe.


The 2.0-litre T-GDI engine transmits its power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Compared to the six-speed automatic found in the conventional naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre engine in the Optima, transmission coolant capacity in the Optima GT rises by 33%, from 2.1 litres to 2.8 litres.


European development programme for new ride and handling characteristics

Kia’s European chassis development team has sought to match the Optima GT’s more athletic appearance with more engaging ride and handling, while still ensuring buyers can enjoy a high level of ‘grand touring’ comfort and refinement for everyday use.


Engineered for Europe, the Optima GT has undergone further chassis development over the conventional Optima, tested on a range of roads across the continent. These have included high-altitude alpine routes – for their twisting roads and altitude changes; derestricted motorways – for their varying surface quality, high-speed undulations, and fast corners; and the Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit – for its low- and high-speed corners and surface changes.


Traditionally, Kia uses its engineering centre at Germany’s fearsome Nürburgring-Nordschleife for durability testing. The high demands of the circuit place huge stresses and strains on prototype vehicles, facilitating an accelerated durability test programme to optimise quality and reliability. In addition – and for the first time for Kia – the Nürburgring has also been used to enhance the ride and handling performance of the Optima GT, with over 10,000 km – more than 500 laps – of testing carried out at the infamous ‘Green Hell’. This distance is equivalent to over 160,000 km of on-road testing due to the demanding nature of the Nordschleife circuit, which has 73 corners, a 300-metre difference in height between the highest and lowest points of the circuit, and gradients of up to 17%.


Modifications to the Optima GT’s suspension are designed to improve agility and enhance body control under hard cornering, while achieving a successful compromise to ensure ride comfort for daily use, matching the car’s ‘grand touring’ brief. The GT’s ride height has been lowered by 10 mm (to 125 mm) compared to conventional Optima models, and the car benefits from significantly higher damping force, front and rear. Spring rates have been raised by 11% at the front (from 2.7 to 3.0 kg-f) and 10% at the rear (from 4.0 to 4.4 kg-f). A stiffer front torsion bar and stiffer rear bushings further improve handling agility, and result in more immediate turn-in.


The Optima GT’s standard Electronically-Controlled Suspension system (ECS) has opened the door for Kia’s chassis engineers to create unique settings for the car’s fully-independent suspension. Offering a high degree of adaptability, ECS enables individualised damping force for each wheel, employing internal valves for each of the four dampers, a G-force sensor in the ECU, and two G-force sensors built into the front wheels. Using these sensors, ECS detects steering inputs, accelerator pedal position and monitors road conditions to adapt the suspension for a firmer, sportier ride or for greater comfort. Drivers can choose from Sport, Normal and Eco modes, with the suspension characteristics adapting accordingly: Normal and Eco modes enable a smooth, assured and comfortable ride, particularly when cruising on higher-speed roads; Sport mode enhances handling agility and dynamic responses.


The Optima GT is equipped with a tailored version of Kia’s rack-mounted electric motor-driven power steering system (R-MDPS), mounted directly on the steering rack, rather than on the column. The GT’s R-MDPS system has been developed in unison with the revised suspension to provide a higher level of steering feel and precision, and more immediate reactions than the system in non-GT versions of the Optima (R-MDPS is fitted as standard to conventional Optima models equipped with the 1.7-litre diesel engine)


Alpine fine-tuning for GT’s larger, more powerful brakes

With more power on offer, Kia’s European development teams have endowed the Optima GT with greater stopping power than other Optima models.


The Optima GT is fitted with larger brakes than the conventional Optima, with the car’s standard ventilated discs growing to 330 mm in diameter (+30 mm) at the front and 314 mm (+30 mm) at the rear. Ventilated discs replace solid discs at the rear. The larger brakes are engineered to improve brake pedal feel, and to improve their cooling capacity, resisting the onset of ‘brake fade’ under repeated heavy braking manoeuvres.


To fine-tune the performance of the new brakes for European buyers, Kia’s braking development team devised a new range of tests. The Optima GT was subjected to repeated braking tests at high-speed test tracks in northern Germany and central Spain, at high and low ambient temperatures. In addition, the Optima GT’s unique development programme saw Kia’s European R&D team test the car on the Grossglockner Pass, an iconic high alpine route in Austria. Reacting to the demands of recurring downhill braking on one of Europe’s most demanding roads further, Kia has ensured the Optima GT retains its strong braking performance under the toughest conditions.


Electronic Stability Control: balancing stability with driveability

The Optima GT is fitted with a specially-adapted version of Kia’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC), part of the car’s standard Vehicle Stability Management system to ensure stability under braking and cornering.


While the ESC software and hardware remains the same in the Optima GT as the conventional car, the GT’s system has undergone a final stage of tuning by Kia’s Rüsselsheim-based R&D teams in Germany.


Along with the chassis, Kia engineers used the GT’s Nürburgring-Nordschleife testing regime to adapt the ESC programme, now subtly different to that of conventional petrol or diesel Optima models. The system in the Optima GT enables a slightly greater degree of wheel slip under acceleration and cornering for a more engaging drive, while still ensuring the car remains neutral and stable under cornering. By sacrificing a minute level of traction, Kia engineers have been able to endow the car with a greater level of driver engagement.


New Active Sound System brings out four-cylinder engine tone

To create a more performance-inspired atmosphere in the cabin, the Optima GT features a newly-developed Active Sound System. Accompanying the changes made to the design of the Optima GT, the Active Sound System uses an electronic sound actuator to enhance the character of the engine note audible in the cabin.


The actuator uses engine vibrations to reproduce acceleration noise from the base of the windscreen, using the front cowl and the windscreen itself to amplify the noise throughout the passenger compartment.


The ECU monitors engine speed, current torque output, and the position of the throttle pedal, using these inputs to gauge which sound frequencies to enhance in the cabin. The tone and pitch of the engine noise rises and falls naturally in line with the Optima’s engine speed, retaining the character of the four-cylinder engine in spite of its forced induction power delivery.


Engine noise is altered by the Active Sound System depending on driving mode, with the most sound generated in Sport mode. Depending on throttle position and engine speed, Sport mode sees a 2 to 4 decibel increase in engine noise in the cabin under hard acceleration. In Normal and Eco modes, the actuator progressively reduces the level of additional sound generated in the cabin, with almost no additional noise generated in Eco mode.


Kia Optima: High-tech, refined, practical, safe

In addition to the range of performance modifications made to the car, the Optima GT blends the same level of technology, safety, refinement, and practicality as other models in the Optima range.


Owners have access to the latest infotainment technologies, the Optima GT among the first Kia models to feature Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™. Also accessible through the GT’s 8.0-inch touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface), the car is available with optional DAB+ radio in supported markets, and Kia Connected Services powered by TomTomTM, offering live traffic updates, speed camera alerts, local search and weather forecasts. In Europe, the system will be available to Optima Sportswagon buyers free of charge for seven years after the car’s purchase.


The touchscreen infotainment system is paired with a powerful 590-watt Harman Kardon Premium Sound system with 10 speakers in the sedan, and a 490-watt, eight-speaker version of the same system in the Sportswagon. Both systems comprise an external amplifier and subwoofer, as well as Clari-FiTM MP3 restoration technology. The Optima GT is available with a wireless charger for mobile devices, located at the base of the central console.


The Optima GT remains a practical choice for buyers, with a cargo capacity of 510 litres for the sedan models, or 552 litres for the GT Sportswagon (up to 1,686 litres with second-row seats folded flat), and split-folding rear seats. Sportswagon models are fitted as standard with a Smart Power Tailgate and a tonneau cover storage compartment under the boot floor.


The Optima has been awarded a five-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP, with a strong bodyshell formed of Advanced High Strength Steel, and seven airbags equipped as standard. Every Optima, including the GT, is available a series of Kia’s DRiVE WISE Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, designed to avoid or mitigate the effects of a collision. These include Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist System, High Beam Assist, Speed Limit Information Function, Blind Spot Detection, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.


Kia Optima GT on sale from Q4 2016

The Optima GT will go on sale across Europe in Q4 2016, with the company’s unique 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty as standard. Built and engineered exclusively for Europe, both the Optima GT and Optima GT Sportswagon are built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea.





Body and chassis

Four-door, five-seater sedan or five-door, five-seater tourer, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell. Turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder engine drives the front wheels via six-speed automatic transmission.


2.0-litre / 245 ps T-GDI Gasoline

Type                            Four cylinder in-line, turbocharged

Capacity                      2.0-litres, 1,998 cc

Bore and stroke                      86.0 x 86.0 mm

Compression ratio       10:1

Max power                  245 ps (180 kW) @ 6,000 rpm

Max torque                  350 Nm (260 lb ft) @ 1,350-4,000 rpm

Valves                         16 (four per cylinder)

Fuel system                Direct injection

Emissions class                      Euro Stage 6b

Construction                Aluminium block and cylinder head


Six-speed automatic

Gear ratios

1                                  4.766

2                                  2.946

3                                  1.917

4                                  1.420

5                                  1.000

6                                  0.772

Reverse                      3.393

Final Drive 1                2.885

Suspension and damping

Front                                Fully-independent by subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers, with anti-roll stabiliser bar

Rear                                Fully-independent by subframe-mounted double wishbones, coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers, with anti-roll stabiliser bar


                                    2.0 T-GDI

Gearing                           14.34:1

Turns, lock-to-lock          2.6

Turning circle                  5.45 metres

Type                                Electric motor-driven rack-and-pinion power steering

Rack-mounted electric motor (R-MDPS)


Front                                330 mm ventilated discs

Rear                                314 mm ventilated discs

Wheels and tyres

Standard                     Alloy 18-inch, 235/45 R18 tyres MICHELIN Pilot Sport 3

Spare                          Tyre mobility kit

Dimensions (mm) – Optima GT


Overall length              4,855               Overall width*             1,860

Overall height              1,455               Wheelbase                  2,805

Front track                  1,597               Rear track                   1,608

Front overhang                       965                  Rear overhang                        1,085

Ground clearance       125

*excluding door mirrors

Dimensions (mm) – Optima GT Sportswagon


Overall length              4,855               Overall width*             1,860

Overall height              1,460   Wheelbase                  2,805

Front track                  1,597               Rear track                   1,608

Front overhang                       965                  Rear overhang                        1,085

Ground clearance       125

*excluding door mirrors


                                    1st row             2nd row

Head room                  1,020               970 / 985*

Leg room                     1,155               905

Shoulder room                        1,475               1,432

Hip room                     1,423               1,422

*Sedan / Sportswagon


                                    GT                   GT Sportswagon

Fuel tank (litres)                      70                    70

Luggage (litres, VDA) 510                  552 / 1,686*

*to second-row seats / to first-row seats, to roof

Weights (kg)

                                    GT                   GT Sportswagon

Curb weight                 1,580               1,605

Gross weight               2,120               2,190

Tow capacity, braked 1,400               1,400

Tow capacity, unbraked         700                  700


                                    GT                   GT Sportswagon

Top speed (kph)          240                  232

0-100 kph (secs)         7.4                   7.6

60-100 kph (secs)       3.7                   3.8

Economy (litres / 100 km)

                                    GT                   GT Sportswagon

Combined                   8.2                   8.2

Extra-urban                 6.1                   6.1

Urban                          11.8                 11.8

CO2 (g/km)                 191                  191



About Kia Motors Europe

Kia Motors Europe is the European sales, marketing and service arm of the Kia Motors Corporation. With its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, it covers 30 markets in Europe.


About Kia Motors Corporation

Kia Motors Corporation ( – a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart – was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. Over 3 million Kia vehicles a year are produced in 11 manufacturing and assembly operations in five countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering around 180 countries. Kia today has over 50,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of nearly US$44 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA – the governing body of the FIFA World Cup™. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan – "The Power to Surprise" – represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting and inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.


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