Turbo Kias coming

KIA is set to jump-start its long-promised but still-dormant performance image with turbo versions of the all-new Koup, as well as the facelifted Optima and Sportage models.

Though not as yet confirmed for Australia, the forced-induction petrol engines will most probably supplant rather than replace the existing atmo engines offered.

If given the green light, they will come hot on the heels of the all-new Pro_Cee’d GT hot hatch, released earlier this month in Geneva, and due to land Downunder early in the first quarter of 2014.

According to Kia Motors Australia PR manager, Kevin Hepworth, while internal discussions are underway right now for an extended turbo range beyond the Pro_Cee’d GT, the latter currently has priority over the others for Oz.

“We’ve already confirmed the Pro_Cee’d GT for Australia, that will be here early next year, and that’s what we’re focussing on right now,” he told Wheels in New York this week.

“That will be the performance priority (over the Koup at this stage). Beyond that, everything is still under discussion and up in the air.”

Expected late this year, the all-new, second-generation, Koup two-door will most probably be offered with two engine choices for Australia, beginning with a variation of the 132kW/209Nm 2.0-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol unit shared with the new YD-series Cerato sedan on which it is based upon.

If Kia Oz does get the Koup turbo thumbs-up, it will most likely be the 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre direct-injection unit, which also drives the front wheels of the Pro_Cee’d GT.

Whether the anticipated seven-speed DCT dual-clutch transmission earmarked for the hot hatch is part of the Koup Turbo package is still unknown. That gearbox, by the way, brings a 10 per cent performance boost compared to the standard six-speed manual.

In contrast, the proposed Sportage and Optima Turbos are in line to leverage the 204kW/369Nm 2.0-litre turbo four-pot engine available in the United States.

As a flagship proposition, it would most likely be offered in conjunction with the 122kW/197Nm 2.0 and 130kW/227Nm 2.4-litre atmo-petrol units currently serving the existing Sportage, as well as the Optima’s more advanced 148kW/250 GDI direct-injection 2.4 engine.

Australian buyers will see the facelifted Optima in about February next year, while the Sportage makeover has yet to be revealed.

Still on forced-induction technology, the second-generation Rondo seven-seater MPV people mover will initially be a turbo-diesel only affair when it surfaces in June – with a 100kW/330Nm 1.7-litre CRDi four-cylinder unit beating away under its stubby bonnet.

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