Kia Track'ster is track-inspired

Image: Kia Track'ster concept 1.JPG

The Kia Track'ster concept, unveiled at a Feb. 8 press preview at the Chicago Auto Show, is a performance-themed 3-door version of the 5-door production compact SUV.

Kia’s three-door Track’ster concept is intended to be a performance derivative of Kia’s five-door production Soul.

“The Track’ster is a ‘track car concept.’ That means a minimal interior for driver and possibly a navigator, (so) no need for a back seat,” Tom Kearns, Chief Designer for Kia Motors America, told AEI.

Track’ster’s front doors are longer and trimmed by smooth billet, push-style handles—a visual contrast to the Soul’s double doors on both sides.

“Rear doors would add weight and compromise the design,” Kearns said about the white and orange concept.

Driving power for the concept vehicle is supplied via a 2.0-L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine producing an estimated 250 hp (186 kW) and 259 lb·ft (351 N·m), the latter from 1750 to 3000 rpm.

The Track’ster’s push-button start engine is more aggressive than the 2012 Soul’s four cylinders: a 1.6-L with an SAE-certified 138 hp (103 kW) at 6300 rpm and 123 lb·ft (167 N·m) at 4850 rpm or a 2.0-L pumping out an SAE-certified 164 hp (122 kW) at 6500 rpm and 148 lb·ft (201 N·m) at 4800 rpm.

The Soul platform-based concept features a six-speed manual transmission with a short-cropped spherical shift lever.

Stopping power for Track’ster is via Brembo brakes. The front 14-in disc brakes mate to six-piston calipers, while the 13.6-in rear disc brakes are paired with four-piston calipers. Track’ster’s lower side carbon fiber valances incorporate functional rear brake cooling ducts.

Customized HRE K1 monoblock billet performance wheels, jointly developed by Kia’s California design team and HRE, complement 245/40-19-in front and 285/35-19-in rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 high-performance tires on the concept.

The four-wheel-drive Track’ster rides on a lowered, sport-tuned suspension in comparison to the front-wheel-drive Soul.

In key vehicle dimensions, the Track’ster is more expansive than the Soul. Its 101.2-in (2570-mm) wheelbase compares with the Soul’s 100.4-in (2550-mm) number, and its 75.5-in (1918-mm) width is larger than the Soul’s 70.3-in (1786-mm) measure.

The concept vehicle’s billet aluminum surrounds highlight a front end with a low intake grille and LED headlamps.

“LED lights offer brighter and more responsive lighting for improved visibility,” said Kearns.

Since there is no rear seat, Track’ster’s cargo bay was configured with an integrated equipment tray and spare-tire well.

“It is the Track’ster. That means storage for all of your necessary equipment is paramount. You can drive it to the track and just gear up, strap in, and race,” said Kearns.

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