Future Models - Kia 2012 Trackster
Chicago show: Kia bares its sporting Soul
Revealed: Kia tore the covers from its aggressive Track'ster concept at the Chicago motor show.
Kia adds a new dimension to its Soul with the sporting Track’ster concept
9 February 2012
KIA has added a huge dose of testosterone to its cute, quirky and boxy Soul to create an aggressive, track-focused, turbocharged concept car that previews a new variant for the compact series.
While a convertible version based on the 2009 Soul’ster concept is set to soon join the hard-topped urban crossover, the three-door, all-wheel-drive 250hp (186kW) Track’ster unveiled at the Chicago motor show this week has a purposeful, sporting character unequivocally designed to appeal to enthusiast drivers in the US and beyond.
At this stage, the Korean car-maker will only say that the hi-po two-seater derived from its Californian design centre “hints at what could possibly be the future of Kia’s wildly successful Soul”.
“Concept cars are icing on the cake,” said Kia Motors America chief designer Tom Kearns. “They allow KMA’s design team to dream about what could be.
“Whether that dream becomes a reality or not is a separate question.”
Now out from the shadows of the teaser images issued in the lead-up to its unveiling, the Track’ster clearly has the ‘soul’ of its donor car with its angled roof and long, narrow window line, but adds mongrel – Kia likens it to a bulldog – with its wider and lower stance, gaping front airdam, heavily sculpted body surfaces, evocative brake cooling ducts, and other attention-grabbing features.
The wheelbase has been stretched 20mm to 2570mm, the three-door configuration has allowed for longer front doors, and the overall width expands 133mm to 1918mm – the latter evident by the blistered fenders and HRE-K1 19-inch wheels wrapped in 245/40 front and 285/35 rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tyres.
Lowered ‘track-tuned’ sports suspension is fitted, along with large Brembo vented and cross-drilled disc brakes measuring 355mm diameter up front (gripped by six-piston callipers) and 345mm at the rear, with four-piston callipers.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sends its 250hp (186kW) to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system.
Carbon-fibre is used across the body in areas such as the front air intake slit on the grille, bold circular LED driving lights flank the lower airdam, and the car is finished in a ‘Whiteout and Inferno Orange’ paint scheme.
The white and orange theme continues in the cabin, which has suede-covered racing seats and other suitably sporting highlights.
The rear seats have been removed and replaced with a fully integrated spare wheel well – complete with a rear strut brace that incorporates a quick-release handle for tyre changes – and storage bins designed to hold helmets, suits, gloves and tools.
“The idea was to make the Track’ster tough looking, like a bulldog,” said Mr Kearns. “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.”