Kia unveiled their New Track’ster Concept at today’s Chicago Auto Show, but quelled speculation that the company are ever likely to put it into production.

Kia’s California design centre team enthusiastically took on the project, led by Chief Designer Tom Kearns. “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.”

That’s a shame because it would finally move Kia into the category of ‘serious car maker’, at least for us Europeans who place so much emphasis on brand’s motorsport pedigree.

“The idea was to make the Track’ster tough looking, like a bulldog,” said 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.”

Flanked by over-sized LED driving lights with billet aluminium surrounds, the Track’ster’s lower intake grille scoops in plenty of air to keep the engine running cool even under the most gruelling conditions. The lower valance, trimmed in carbon fibre and accented with Inferno Orange, rides just inches off the ground and lends to the car’s menacing stance.

The Track’ster ‘rolls’ on custom HRE-K1 monoblock billet performance wheels that were a joint effort between Kia’s California design team and HRE. The wheels are wrapped in 245/40 x 19″ Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tyres at the front and 285/35 x 19″ at the rear.

A 2.0-litre turbocharged in-line-four cylinder engine powers the Track’ster, putting its 246 bhp to the road via an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. With a short-throw six-speed manual transmission and a lowered sport suspension, Kia are confident their new concept will “make car enthusiasts salivate”. Really?

There’s frequent mention within Kia’s press release of the Track’ster Concept’s Inferno Orange colour scheme, which is apparently synonymous with racing.

Blimey, somebody better tell Adrian Newey that he’s been handicapping young Vettel with the ‘wrong’ colour car..

Written By

Steve Davies

Steve is an investor, private equity advisor and former Partner at KPMG, PwC and Bain.   Most importantly he's a life-long car enthusiast, mountain biker and active sports enthusiast. He designs and builds technology platforms and is the architect behind Transmission.

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