SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - Kia is taking an even bolder approach with its next-generation K5 sedan, which we now see for the first time in these official design sketches.

The K5 is sold as the Optima in most markets outside of South Korea, and it was also marketed in South Africa from 2012, before being quietly discontinued due to a lack of demand for large sedans that don’t have German badges on their bonnets. For that reason it’s unlikely that the new Optima will be offered locally but don’t rule it out completely as Kia has surprised us in the past.

While it will inevitably continue to share a front-wheel-drive platform with the Hyundai Sonata, rather than slotting onto the Stinger’s RWD architecture, the new Optima will at least have a far more sporting design than before, assuming that these sketches are not exaggerating too much. 

The new model has a sweeping, coupe-like rear roof line that appears to be garnished by a chrome trim strip that runs into the boot. Inside it's a case of sweeping lines and a very large central screen as Kia plays catch-up on the digital front.

Assuming it’s based on the Sonata again, the mainstay of the engine range is likely to be the company’s normally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine, rated at 132kW, and mated to an eight-speed autobox. However, given its sporting intentions, the group’s 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is also surely a given for this car.

Kia’s blue-blooded sports sedan, however, is still the Stinger, but sadly the large four-door muscle car faces an uncertain future. 

Last month Kia vice president Gregory Guillaume told Australian publication CarAdvice that the Stinger was selling below expectations, and that its future had yet to be decided. He also hinted that it might be succeeded by an electric vehicle of some sort.

IOL Motoring