While trolling the AutoWeek forums we found a post that led us to Kia's Korean website where, front and center, the brand was touting the "N.E.X.T. Opirus". We're not sure what "N.E.X.T." stands for, but it's clear from these photos that Kia has gone to the trouble of cleaning up the front and rear clips of the Opirus, which is the basis for the North American Amanti. The front end looks much better with a wider and shorter grille (are those LED lamps in the lower bumper à la the Audi S6?), while out back... is that... is that a Bangle-butt on a Kia (see the rear shot after the jump)? The interior including the center console is also redone and now includes the requisite navigation system the Amanti has been missing for so long.

The improvements are much appreciated, but end far short of a complete redesign. The Opirus, however, does get a major boost in power thanks to the corporate 3.8-liter V6 also used in the Hyundai Azera. Producing 263 horsepower, the larger powerplant would give the Amanti a lot more get up and go than its current 200-hp, 3.5-liter V6.

The AutoWeek forum members are now haggling over price, some insisting that if these changes occur to the North American Amanti that its base price will immediately crest the $30K mark, putting Kia in uncharted territory.

(Follow the jump for additional pics of the exterior and interior)

[Source: AutoWeek forums]


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