The hybrid system consists of a 48V lead carbon battery connected to a small electric motor, increasing the engine’s power output. The battery also supplies energy to an electric supercharger, which increases torque and power at low engine speeds. Under the right conditions, the hybrid powertrain can drive a car in electric-only mode at low speeds and while cruising, while the battery is recharged under deceleration. And when the car is stationary, the technology also acts as a zero-emissions stop-start system, performing this function with almost no noise or vibration as it is a belt-starting system. The technology also enables Kia engineers to reduce the size – and weight – of its vehicles’ existing 12V battery.
Unveiled earlier in the year at the North American International Auto Show, Kia’s stunning GT4 Stinger Concept will make its European debut at Geneva. The GT4 Stinger, created by Kia’s California design team, moves Kia in a bold new styling direction and has maximum driving enjoyment central to its appeal.
Powered by a 315 ps 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injection (T-GDI) four-cylinder engine, the eye-catching 2+2 sports car seeks to involve the driver as much as possible, with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. As a statement of the concept’s dynamic intent, the car is fitted with all-round independent double-wishbone suspension, a high-downforce carbon fibre front splitter and front-brake cooling vents. The signature Kia grille sits low to the ground for maximum engine cooling and cold-air induction.
While there are currently no plans to bring the concept to production, Kia has a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to the concepts that precede them, and the GT4 Stinger provides an enticing glimpse into Kia’s possible future.
Responding to customer feedback and developments in the increasingly-competitive European marketplace, Kia will also be showing the enhanced Kia Sportage at the Geneva show. The brand’s best-selling compact crossover receives small but significant upgrades to its modern exterior, as well as a refreshed interior design and new materials throughout the cabin.
Also making its European debut, the upgraded Kia Optima Hybrid receives a number of changes. Visually, the Optima Hybrid features newly-designed front and rear bumpers, the front incorporating new LED fog lamps and a revised design for Kia’s trademark ‘Tiger nose’ grille. The car’s profile is also improved with a new side-sill garnish and new 16- and 17-inch alloy wheel designs. With the upgraded model, customers will also be able to specify a new ‘White Package’ interior option, with white upholstery and gloss black cabin accents. Two new exterior paint finishes, Smoky Blue and Aluminium Silver, complete the visual changes.
The latest Optima Hybrid will also be fitted with a range of new features, including Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system with greater braking feel and response, a new touchscreen interface specific to the Hybrid system and a new (optional) High Tech Pack (incorporating Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection and Smart Parking Assist systems).
The upgraded Optima Hybrid is scheduled to start production in Korea during April 2014 and will go on sale later in the year.
(Feb. 13, 2014)