Kia’s top brass still hasn’t decided what to call the latest Magentis saloon, which will be unveiled at the Paris motor show in September.
Optima, which is the US name, is out of favour for Europe, so an all-new name is likely. Company insiders were originally debating between ‘K5’, as the car is known in Korea, and ‘Optima’.
Meanwhile, a top-level Kia source has revealed that a downsized 1.2-litre turbo powerplant will be one of the engine choices, with around 150bhp.
The new car is expected to be longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces and sits on a longer wheelbase than the outgoing car. This has significantly increased both cabin and luggage space.
Kia concedes that the car is never likely to be a major seller in Europe, but believes the large saloon segment is one in which it must compete, as a volume manufacturer.
But the real demand for the car will come from the US and domestic markets, where its much improved styling and dynamics should hold appeal for buyers.
A Kia source revealed that an estate version of the car will be built. When asked about this body style, chief designer Peter Schreyer said, “I would love to do station wagon and coupé versions of the car. The station wagon would only really work for Europe but the coupé would work in the US.”