Kia Track'ster unveiled

8 Feb, 2012 4:30pm Sam Hardy

New hot hatch Kia takes on Ford Focus ST with a 247bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and four-wheel drive

These are the latest pictures of the new Kia Track'ster – a hot hatch concept car that was the star of Kia's Chicago Motor Show stand.

The new three-door coupe points towards a dramatic addition to the Soul range, packing dramatic looks and a 247bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that drives all four wheels. Kia says the car is designed for use on the road and on racing tracks, hence its name.

“The idea was to make the Track’ster tough looking, like a bulldog,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer for Kia's design studio in California, where the concept was produced.  “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 Track'ster features a distinctive white and orange paint scheme and a dramatic bodykit which makes the car around 13cm wider than the standard Soul. It includes Kia’s signature grille with an air intake trimmed in lightweight carbon fibre, sleek headlights with LEDs and a large lower grille flanked by immense LED driving lights.

The roof, complete with spoiler, is accentuated in contrasting orange. Carbon fibre side skirts are also coloured orange and incorporate rear-brake cooling ducts. 

Inside, the Track'ster carries on the aggressive styling theme with deeply bolstered orange suede-covered racing seats, mixed with grey leather for the rest of the cabin. Grey suede is used for the sport steering wheel and door panels, while the dashboard has large red turbine-style dials. A touchscreen controls the sat-nav, stereo and air-con systems. 

In the back, the rear seats have been replaced by a tray and space for a spare tyre. “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.”

Kia says there are panels for stowing race helmets, suits and gloves. There is also a rear strut brace which incorporates a quick-release handle to allow for fast wheel changes.

Other highlights include 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/40 section Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tyres at the front and enormous 285/35 tyres at the rear.

Kia says the Track'ster has a 2.5cm longer wheelbase than the regular Soul – which helps to make it look even more sporty. Large 14-inch Brembo vented and cross-drilled disc brakes with six-piston calipers do the stopping at the front, while the rear discs measure 13.6-inches and have four-piston calipers.
The Track'ster has the show to match its go. Under the bonnet is a 247bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged in-line-four cylinder which drives all four wheels through an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system and a six-speed manual gearbox with a short-throw shift. 

The concept also gets sports suspension. There are no official figures, but expect the Track'ster to do 0-60mph in under six seconds with a top speed of 145mph. 

Kia says that it has no intention to put the Track'ster into production, but insiders have hinted that with the drop-top Soul'ster likely to join the new Soul range, a three-door hot hatch won't be far behind. 

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Big wheels and tyres in not nice.

Ford WRC might be a rival, but costs £100,000+ which is a price tag well out of the range of the average Kia buyer.

Use of carbon fibre is a nice touch, looks more a Skoda Fabia rival than a Focus in the looks department, but l can't see it giving the Skoda Fabia IRC Rally World Champions to many sleepless nights if Kia ever entered IRC.

Kia 4-wheel drive is much better than a very unattractive understeering FWD Focus ST, have seen/followed to many dangerous FWD cars spinning & spinning out of control in circles on ice after taking a roundabouts or bends to fast in the past due to torque steer.

I didn't think it was possible to design a car that's uglier than the Nissan Juke. I was mistaken.

I accept that there may be a few styling cues which will possibly take a little time to snap into focus but overall, and at 72 years young, I like the design and particularly the stance on the road. One has to wonder if those who make adverse comments on looks would be prepared to attach a photo of themselves; so that we may see from what datum they are making judgement. I predict this car will be a winner and look forward to saying 'I told you so'!
Surely its time to be a tad avant-garde?

Guess who bought the Worlds supply of ugly sticks.
This is without doubt the tackiest car i have ever seen.
It will go down a bomb in the US.

The title says it all what a ghastly looking personal conveyance.YUK!!!!

I to thought the Juke (or is that Puke?) was the ugliest looking car on sale but this would run it very close.

However, if they put this transmission/engine in a hot Pro-C'eed, I think they might have something...

I couldn't agree more with your comment, it sums up my opinion of the folk who are quick to judge.

This has the potential to be made into a warm/hot hatch reality and personally I would love to see the outcome of this. Kia, in recent years, has really stepped their game up a notch.

Bring it on!

Your point makes no sense, why would a photo of someone represent what opinion they have? If they say something is ugly, and they themselves are ugly, that does not mean they think themselves as looking nice. They can still judge beauty.

Now, i'm normally a nice, calm, gentle, caring, forgiving, objective, willing to look at all options from constructive angles type of, better not to post a comment me thinks.

inspired design

so just what would the inspiration behind this be? best look up the word Design in the old dictionary i think. the human being is a strange oddity at times.

Back in 1947 the Prince Mo Co decided the whole world would all be driving one of those new fangled electric cars by 1955 when they introduced the Tama.

Face of the car looks a very miserable face just like the average Kia buyer that thought saving a few bob on a cheap Kia was a good thing, but as soon as they leave the Kia showroom their face is as miserable a sin, and they just wish they had saved up a bit more for something that decent not a cheap joke.

Looks like a miserable as sin Skoda Fabia or somebody who has lost their job in the British car manufacturing industry due to Korean car imports, an unemployed miserable looking British teenager who can't find a car manufacturing job or any type of work in the UK because they can't find a job, the miserable face of a low paid worker thats faced with more and more stealth tax rises because Britain no longer has much of a manufacturing base to support paying for teachers, nurses, armed forces due to high the unemployed needing benefits.

Go enjoy your Korean car, knowing that Koreans only buy Korean made cars, and buy close to zero British made cars in their country,
Put another nail in the coffin of the British motor manufacturing industry.

I have never read such twaddle since i last saw a Rover brochure! The Koreans don't buy British cars for good reason - Brit cars are crap - hence the reason Rover went under!
Whilst I'm no Kia fan, I'd much rather have a Kia on my drive than a Ford/Vauxhall etc - no wonder Hyundai and Kia sell almost as many cars a year together in the UK as Ford or Vauxhall do.The Rest of the world started showing the lazy brits how to build cars back in the late 70's, and that's why the British car industry went t!its up! Take a look at sales percentages of Ford's, Vauxhalls etc nowadays compared to what they used to be. People want good, reliable, quality cars nowadays, something the so called big 2 can't provide. Kia have caught up with Ford and vauxhall and Peugeot etc, and overtaken a lot of others like Fiat and Renault.
I am proud to have a quality Skoda Superb on my drive, and not some repmobile Ford or Vauxhall etc that is just an also-ran.

British car industry is on a roll at the moment, we are producing/ exporting more British assembled cars at record breaking levels, we came close to beating the best record year in 1972 when British made Cortina was king.

Would never buy a Ford today they are mostly all assembled in Germany, but its fair to say the British made Cortina Escort and Capri wiped out British Leyland in the 70's, and British Ford plants were out on strike even more so than British Leyland and Ford are still around today, Ford have buggered off now Leyland have gone and have not produced one single car in the UK since 1999.

Honda, Toyota, BMW, Nissan & Tata and to many others to name but still produce fully assembled cars in Britain. 2011 almost broke the 1972 record for British fully assembled cars.

Skorob2010 go buy your self a Chavy Korean made foreign car but don't complain to me when you end up like Greece with no manufacturing base to support doctors, nurses, police jobs etc, and you end with no jobs for your children, and you can't understand why you lost £1500 last year as our standard of living dropped, just watch at the unemployment benefit bill rise as Kia flood the British market with cheap cars.

Go feed buy your new Chavy Koreanmobile Cruze skorob its JD Power rating is total crap bottom of the pile, this is not a Skoda Superb AE post by the way Rob.

Can only agree with you say the Skoda Superb is not only a much better quality car than any German made Ford, it also offers much better value than a Belgium made expensive Mondeo. But the Toyoto Avensis is also a very reliable car its made assembled in the UK and its engine are also British made as well. Toyota Avensis is British made quality, employs hard working Brits so please don't accuse Brits of being lazy/low poor build these days Rob.

Reminds me of an old american hotrod.. just a 21st Century version.