Kia Track’ster concept car unveiled at 2012 Chicago Auto Show February 10th, 2012
What happens when a dream becomes reality? In the case of the Kia Track’ster concept unveiled at the 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 successful Soul.
“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 headlights 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 LEDs.
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 drive train 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 turbo charged 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.
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.”
What are your thoughts? Would you like to see this car become a reality?
More track’ster images are in the following link:
Watch how Track’ster was created in Kia’s California design center, for the Chicago Auto Show 2012