Performance concept kick starts driving enthusiasts' hearts
World debut of high-performance Soul-based concept
Aggressive design, all-wheel drive and 250 horsepower make for a
SEOUL, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - What happens when a dream becomes reality?
In the case of the Kia Track'ster concept unveiled at today's Chicago
Auto Show, car enthusiasts begin to salivate. Amid the driving rhythm
of heavy-metal music, smoke and blinding lights, Kia Motors America
(KMA) took the wraps off a performance-oriented three-door Soul coupe
concept that hints at what could possibly be the future of Kia's wildly
"The idea was to make the Track'ster tough looking, like a bulldog,"
said Tom Kearns, chief designer for KMA. "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."
The bold attitude Kearns refers to starts with the eye-catching Whiteout
and Inferno Orange paint scheme. While the white portrays complex
layers and shades that contribute to dramatic depth, the orange is
perfectly suited for racing. Kia's signature grille features an air
intake slit and is trimmed in lightweight carbon fiber. Smoothly
integrated head lights sweep back suggestively over the sculpted
front-wheel arches. The deeply recessed lenses echo the trapezoid
themes found throughout the Track'ster and are accented with compelling
Most striking up front is the Track'ster's lower intake grille. Flanked
by immense LED driving lights with billet aluminum surrounds, the
Track'ster is capable of swallowing prodigious amounts of air to keep
the engine running cool even under the most grueling conditions. The
lower valance, trimmed in carbon fiber and accented with Inferno
Orange, rides just inches off the ground and lends to the car's
The Track'ster is not just another pretty face; it has a body to match.
Sculpted surfaces seem to flow into each other naturally. The flanks
are smooth but accented with well-defined wheel enclosures. Tucked
beneath the Track'ster's hips are custom HRE-K1 monoblock billet
performance wheels that were a joint effort of Kia's California design
team and HRE. The wheels are wrapped in 245/40-19-inch front and
massive 285/35-19-inch rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 high-performance
tires. The wheelbase on the concept is stretched to 101.2 inches,
almost an inch longer than the production Soul. As expected on a car
with the Track'ster's performance intentions, large 14-inch Brembo
vented and cross-drilled disc brakes are embraced by six-piston
calipers in front and 13.6-inch discs are paired with four-piston
calipers at the rear.
Soul fans will instantly recognize the Track'ster's angled roof,
accented with Inferno Orange. Closer inspection reveals this concept,
while Soul inspired, is missing the production car's rear doors. The
front doors have been lengthened and adorned with smooth billet
push-style handles which echo the racing-inspired billet fuel filler
door. Carbon fiber lower side valances are also accented in Inferno
Orange and incorporate functional rear-brake cooling ducts. The back
hatch incorporates a horizontal Inferno Orange "backpack" panel that
accentuates the Track'ster's 75.5-inch width, which is more than
5-inches wider than a production Soul.
With performance as the top priority, the Track'ster rolls into Chicago
with a concept drivetrain sure to kick start any driving enthusiast's
heart. KMA's design team dreamed big, but also kept their vision firmly
rooted in reality. A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine pumps 250
horsepower to the pavement, a 66 percent increase over that of the
production Soul. Power is routed to all four wheels via an
electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. The short-throw
six-speed manual transmission is capped with a stubby spherical shift
lever. The Track'ster rides on a lowered sport suspension tuned for
Opening the driver's door reveals a light and airy interior highlighted
with deeply bolstered Inferno Orange suede-covered racing seats.
Granite Gray leather envelopes the interior landscape and imparts a
feeling of strength and stability. Granite Gray suede wraps the sport
steering wheel and door panels. Located deep within red-glowing
nacelles, the primary instruments are large and easily readable.
Auxiliary vehicle information such as oil temperature and battery
voltage is found atop the dash panel while navigation, entertainment
and HVAC controls are accessed through a large touch-screen panel
located just above the engine Start/Stop push-button.
Behind the front seats is where Track'ster takes a significant step away
from its Soul stable mate. The rear seats have been removed and
replaced with a fully integrated equipment tray and spare-tire well.
"We saw the Track'ster as a performance-inspired concept that could
spend time on the road and racetrack," said Kearns. "The idea was to
make the tools and equipment necessary to keep the car performing in
top condition easily accessible." Large paneled bins stow racing gear
such as helmets, suits, gloves and tools while emergency supplies are
housed within a separate and highly visible Inferno Orange container. A
custom rear strut brace incorporates a quick-release handle to allow
for fast wheel changes.
While there are no current plans to produce the Track'ster, Kia's
California design center team enthusiastically took on the project.
"Concept cars are icing on the cake," said 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."
Kia Canada Inc. (www.kia.ca - www.facebook.com/kiacanada) -- a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart -- is a
subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) in Korea was founded in 1999
and sells and services high quality class leading vehicles like the
Soul, Forte and Sorento through a network of 174 dealers nationwide.
Kia Canada Inc. employs 150 people in its Mississauga, Ontario
headquarters and four regional offices across Canada. Kia Motors
Corporation continues to showcase the company's global commitment to
surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive
SOURCE KIA Canada Inc.
For further information:
Kia Canada Inc. Media Contacts:
National Marketing Manager
Public Relations Manager