After all the pre-launch teasing, Kia today slid the covers off the new Track'ster at the 2012 Chicago auto show.
It's a slammed, hot hatch vision of what the Kia Soul could become, were the Koreans brave enough to battle it out among the VW Golf GTIs and forthcoming Polo R pocket rockets.
Conceived at Kia's Californian design studio, the Track'ster is designed as a road and track car.
What's under the Kia Track'ster?
Well, it's a Kia Soul, honest. But this one has a 250bhp inline four-cylinder turbo and all-wheel drive to trim all the wilder wheelspinning excesses. The wheelbase is stretched by around 3cm and the Trick'ster is around 13cm wider than a common or gardening Soul.
Wrapped up in an aggressive, three-door coupe bodyshell, the Kia designers went wild with the inferno orange and ice white paint scheme. Naturally, there's some carbonfibre too and fat 19-inch alloys that lend this tricked-up Soul a cartoon tough stance. They're required to house the 14in Brembo discs.
'The idea was to make the Track’ster tough looking, like a bulldog,' said Tom Kearns, Kia's chief designer in the US. '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.'
What's the point of the Kia Track'ster?
Over to the statement issued today in Chicago.
'While there are no current plans to produce the Track’ster, Kia’s California design centre 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."