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Kia stuns with super Soul concept

2012-02-09 12:22

WATCH IT GO!: Who would've guessed the fun and friendly Soul could turn this devilish? Image gallery

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Could Kia's Track'ster Concept - unveiled at the 2012 Chicago auto show - signal a future three-door, performance-oriented Soul coupe in the line-up?

As if the Soul wasn’t bold enough, Kia’s shown off a Track’ster concept with some serious attitude at the Chicago auto show.

The performance-oriented Soul coupe concept hints at what could possibly be a new direction for the quirky Soul.

This Soul is a visual assault, starting with its conspicuous Whiteout and Inferno Orange paint scheme, lightweight carbon fibre trim for the signature Kia grille, headlights swept back over the front wheelarches and a gaping lower intake flanked by overstyled LED fog lamps.

But the outrageous three-door’s appearance, with bulging wheelarches and custom 19-inch wheels shod with Michelin high-performance tyres, also conceals some of the concept’s more stand-out features.

The wheelbase is slightly longer than the production Soul’s and the front doors are longer with funky push-style handles.

HOT COUPE


The Track’ster’s powertrain features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 187kW available at the tap of the throttle pedal. Power is channeled to the four wheels via a short-throw six-speed manual transmission.

The concept also rides on a lowered sport suspension that’s been specially tuned for track work.

Tom Kearns, chief designer for Kia Motors America tasked with the Track’ster concept, said: “The idea was to make the Track’ster tough-looking, like a bulldog.

“But the car had to be approachable as well.  We wanted to base the car in reality so people instantly knew it was a Soul, but with a lot of attitude.  It had to be a bold interpretation that would change people’s conceptions of what a sporty Kia could be.”

Inside the cabin, the orange colour scheme is continued, but this time matched with grey accents. Granite Grey leather is used throughout the interior and the steering wheel is wrapped in suede leather finished in the hue.

TRACK TOY


The biggest change here over the standard Soul is the absence of rear seats that have been removed to make way for large bins stowing racing gear and emergency supplies. A custom rear strut brace incorporates a quick-release handle to allow for fast wheel changes.

Kearns continued: “We saw the Track’ster as a performance-inspired concept that could spend time on the road and racetrack. The idea was to make the tools and equipment necessary to keep the car performing in top condition easily accessible.” 

There are no current plans to produce the Track’ster, though.

“Concept cars … allow KMA’s design team to dream about what could be. Whether that dream becomes a reality or not is a separate question,” Kearns concluded.

We’ll certainly keep our fingers crossed…
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