New Kia Optima previewed in teaser sketches

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Kia Optima
Kia Motors

Kia has teased details of its forthcoming Optima saloon with a pair of sketches, ahead of the model's official unveiling at the New York motor show next month.

The new Optima will act as a flagship saloon for the Korean brand in Europe, and will rival the popular Ford Mondeo and upmarket Volkswagen Passat when it goes on sale in 2016. An estate version will also eventually be offered.

It will share its underpinnings with the Hyundai i40, Kia's sister brand. It has been described as being "passionately designed and obsessively crafted", and follows on from the original Optima, which was the first model to showcase the then revamped brand's new styling direction, including the eye-catching 'tiger nose' grille.

The new model's styling has been previewed by the stunning Kia SportSpace concept that was recently unveiled at the Geneva motor show, and these latest sketches suggest the finished product will stay relatively faithful to its design, including its elongated grille and swept-back headlights.

Kia Optima
Kia Motors

Some of the more exaggerated styling cues (including the enormous wheels) are likely to be toned down somewhat for a production version, but there's no doubting there is one handsome looking car in the pipeline.

As well as a new exterior aesthetic, the cabin will also be thoroughly revised, with a new layout and greater use of more upmarket materials, with elements of the SportSpace's interior design, including its free-standing infotainment screen, likely to be carried over.

In Europe, the new Optima is expected to be offered solely with a development of the 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine found in the current version. However, while petrol versions are likely to be for the US market only, the Optima could also be made available as a diesel-electric hybrid.

The New York motor show opens on April 1.