2016 Kia K5 (New Optima) Debuts in Korea to Warcraft Game Music

2016 Kia K5 / Optima 10 photos
Photo: Kia
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The New York Auto Show is running at the same time as the lesser known, but equally important Seoul Auto Show, held in the capital of Korea. Everybody knows that Korean cars are better than ever, and some Chevrolets or even Renaults are made over there. And the most important new car revealed today is the Optima.
In Korea, it's called the K5 sedan, and they are getting it way before us in dealerships. There are a couple of cosmetic differences as well, the most important one being that the K5 has two projectors per headlight where the Optima only has one. But, for the most part, it's the same car.

The unveiling event put together in Seoul is very impressive. As a circular platform spins, a shiny new sedan emerges onto the stage, but we immediately recognized there's something different about the music. That dramatic piece is called Requiem for a Dream, and unless I'm mistaken, it was used for the very first cinematic trailer for World of Warcraft, the famous MMORPG made by Blizzard Entertainment.

Why is that important? Because Blizzard games are huge in Korea. Warcraft 3 was like a national sport, but Starcraft 2 replaced it as the No.1 eSport. And get this, the most popular computer game right now is a car game which is also made by Blizzard. So you see, the soundtrack of the most important game in Korea 11 years ago is a big deal.

So is the Optima / K5. The company isn't taking any chances with this car since it competes in the mid-size sedan segment with the Mazda6, Chrysler 200 and to a lesser degree the Toyota Camry. You can tell it has been designed with premium car buyers in mind. The interior is like an executive office on wheels, with a hint of BMW sportiness.

Under the hood, the 2016 model will get its first seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, paired to a 1.6-liter turbo engine. There are two other choices, including a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated mill making 184-horsepower and a 2-liter turbo with 247 hp. Europeans will have to wait until 2016 for this car, but they should be rewarded by Kia with a hybrid powertrain. A wagon version is also on scheduled to debut in 2018.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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