The wraps have been taken off Kia's two-seat Soul-based Kia Track’ster concept at the Chicago motor show. The concept previews how a sporting three-door version of the Soul crossover could look, and it could end up being made as a third Soul variant alongside the five-door and a convertible. It is the work of Kia’s Californian design studio, which itself was also responsible for the Soul.
The muscular concept is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit, which produces 247bhp – a 66 per cent power hike compared with the production Soul. Drive is transferred to all four wheels via a short-throw six-speed manual gearbox.
Further mechanical changes to the standard car include a lower ride height, as well as large vented and cross-drilled Brembo disc brakes. The Soul’s wheelbase has also been stretched slightly from 2550mm to 2570.7mm and the body widened by 133mm to 1918mm.
Externally, revisions for the Track’ster concept include a sloping roofline, a Whiteout and Inferno Orange paint job and flared arches, which house 19-inch alloys clad in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 rubber. The concept’s front-end features a large lower intake grille, which is flanked by round LED lights. Kia’s signature grille is trimmed in carbonfibre, as is the front and rear bumper’s lower valance and side skirts. Sculpted air intakes at each corner aid brake cooling and twin exhausts finish the Track'ster's sporty exterior.
Changes inside include the removal of the Soul’s rear seat bench, which makes way for an integrated equipment tray and spare-tyre well. Special storage compartments have also been added for racing gear. Up front, the Track’ster’s racing seats are finished in Inferno Orange suede and Granite Grey leather is used to wrap the car’s steering wheel and door panels. Standard kit includes a touch-screen panel – to control navigation, entertainment and ventilation – as well as an engine start/stop button.
“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.”
Although Kia insists there are no plans for Track’ster production at this stage, such a model would make sense for the Soul line-up, particularly in the US. Kia sold more than 100,000 Souls in the US last year, and the convertible version – previewed by the Soul’ster concept, another Californa-designed model – remains under evaluation for production.