First Look: 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited

By Brandon Turkus

February 08, 2012

Kia unveiled an upmarket edition for its Optima lineup at today’s Chicago Auto Show. The Optima SX Limited takes the already well-equipped and turbocharged Optima SX to a new level. Mechanically identical to the standard Optima, this car actually had its debut during Kia’s Super Bowl spot featuring Adriana Lima, Chuck Lidell and Mötley Crüe. Now we’re seeing the first official photos.
LED daytime running lamps adorn the front end, while chrome accents, red brake calipers, and unique eighteen-inch wheels round out the rest of the exterior enhancements. Inside, the leather seats feature higher-quality hides, as do the door panels and center console. The steering wheel features wood trim, while a black headliner gives the cabin an even more premium feel.
The Optima SX Limited will begin production later this month, with deliveries to begin shortly after.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Kia.
Production of Top-of-the-Range Optima to Begin at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in Late-February
Optima Limited adds a new level of refinement to the technology, convenience and performance features found on Kia's award-winning turbocharged Optima SX
Optima Limited is instantly recognizable with unique 18-inch chrome wheels, LED lighting and chrome accents
CHICAGO, February 8, 2012 - The ultra-popular midsize Kia Optima sedan again turned heads today at the Chicago Auto Show when Kia Motors America (KMA) revealed production plans for a new range-topping Limited. The Limited, which will begin production at Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia1 later this month, builds on the Optima SX's strong foundation of class-leading horsepower2 and fuel efficiency3 and adds a number of design and amenity enhancements to further stand apart from traditional competitors in the segment.
"The Optima SX Limited was introduced to the world in our 'Drive the Dream' Super Bowl commercial and now visitors to the Chicago Auto Show will experience it firsthand," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "The Limited delivers upscale features and premium materials that discerning midsize sedan customers are not able to find in many of our competitors. The Optima has been earning design, performance and value awards since arriving in showrooms in early 2011, and the Limited is the latest example of the brand's compelling package of style, fuel economy, technology – and now opulence – to appeal to an even wider consumer base."
Expected to arrive in showrooms in March, the Optima Limited is based on the fully loaded turbocharged Optima SX, which Edmunds' Inside Line hailed as an "Editors' Most Wantedâ„ " mid-sized sedan. Offered exclusively in Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl and Titanium Metallic exterior colors, the Optima Limited features many details that are mainly found on luxury vehicles, including LED daytime running lights, chrome-accented rear spoiler, lower door sills and wood interior trim. Standout red front-brake calipers can be seen through the Optima Limited's uniquely designed chrome 18-inch wheels while the 2.0-liter turbo GDI engine delivers class-leading 274 horsepower4 and achieves 22/34 mpg5 (city/hwy).
Inside the cabin, high-grade black or white Nappa leather adorns the seats, door panels, center console armrest and center fascia trim for a premium feel. Wood accents can be found on the steering wheel, interior door trim and shift knob, and a black tricot fabric lends a premium feel to the headliner, sun visor, and A, B and C pillars. The Optima Limited also boasts a first-aid kit and cloth door weather strip.
Like every Optima, the Limited projects a refined, performance-oriented aesthetic with a sleek silhouette, aggressive stance and sculpted elements that embodies the styling language chief design officer Peter Schreyer has created for the brand. Every 2012 Optima comes well equipped with a generous roster of standard features, and the Optima Limited builds on the technology, performance and convenience features found on the Optima SX, including: unique front and rear lower bumper design, sport-tuned suspension, HID headlamps, Supervision™ meter cluster with LCD display, steering wheel paddle shifters, metal pedals, illuminated door scuff plates, panoramic sunroof, four-way power front passenger's seat, driver's seat memory, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, navigation system with back-up camera and SiriusXM Traffic™6 and Infinity®7 audio system and speakers.
Standard Kia Safety Features
The 2012 Optima is equipped with a high level of standard safety features. All trims come outfitted with driver and passenger advanced front airbags8, front seat-mounted side airbags, first and second row side curtain airbags, front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). A four-wheel Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.
Industry-Leading Warranty
The 2012 Optima is covered by Kia's comprehensive warranty program9, which offers consumer protection at an exceptional value. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the comprehensive vehicle coverage.
Kia's Unprecedented Growth
Kia Motors is the one of the world's fastest moving global automotive brands; from 2009-2011 Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and under the guidance of chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling. Kia Motors America's full line of fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive cars and CUVs has earned critical acclaim and dramatically increased consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand. In 2011, KMA recorded its 17th consecutive year of market share growth, thanks in part to the largest increase of any major brand in perceived quality10 and the industry's highest brand loyalty ranking11. Kia's U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – KMMG – is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and builds the company's two best-selling vehicles in the U.S. – the Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan12. Kia's value and technology-laden 2012 model year lineup also includes the Sportage compact CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Optima Hybrid, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, all-new Rio and Rio5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its website – For media information, including photography, visit