These are the first official images of the new Kia Optima (Magentis in some markets) that will make its world premiere at the New York International Auto Show on April 1st. The Korean carmaker previously revealed the Optima’s design sketches, which you can see here.

Kia latest features a new interpretation of the company’s “tiger” grille that’s joined to the headlamps to create a mask-like face, as seen on the Forte and new Sportage. The fog lamps get LED driving lamps as “eyebrows”. Longer, wider and lower than the current car, this is another new entrant with the mention of “coupe-like profile” by its maker. Kia says that the sweeping chrome arc that flows A to C pillars visually lowers the car while making prominent its “cab-backwards proportions”.

“The Optima embodies Kia’s confident new design direction. It’s a global car with individual appeal,” says Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer. “The next generation Optima possesses the power to surprise. It’s a car that people will simply not expect from Kia – and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve,” the man added.

I disagree with Peter on his last point. Seeing the company’s great run of form when it comes to design these days, this is exactly the kind of car we expect from Kia – clean, bold, distinctive and totally removed from the previous generation, which in the Optima’s case was worthy but dull. More pictures after the jump!

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