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21 February 2012

Kia's Track’ster concept: The Soul of a sportscar (w/ video)

Words by Niky Tamayo | Photos courtesy of Kia Motors Corp.
Do you love to drive? I mean, do you REALLY love to drive? If so, you’ve probably been to the racetrack quite a few times. A true track-addict should know the pains of trying to fit a crocodile jack, an emergency kit, tools, a helmet, an extra set of wheels, and racetrack-only tires in the back-seat of your sedan. Well, if you want the perfect answer for your trackday blues, Kia has the answer for you: The Track’ster concept.
Debuting at the Chicago International AutoShow, the Track’ster is an all-wheel drive, 250 horsepower three-door hatchback that previews what the upcoming Soul may look like. So a turbocharged two-liter all-wheel drive hatchback is something Subaru has already done, but the difference is in the execution. The Track’ster is based on the Soul, so it has a “subcompact” footprint, as opposed to the “compact” Impreza.
But perhaps “subcompact” is a misnomer here, the Track’ster is a whopping 1.9 meters wide (127mm more than the standard Soul), with an aggressive bulldog stance and wheel-arch extensions wide enough to swallow supercar-sized tires. So naturally, the Track’ster sports some huge wheels, with 245/40R19 tires up front and whopping large 285/35R19 tires out back.
In case this isn’t enough insanity, the back seat goes out in favour of an equipment tray to hold everything needed for a day at the track, helpfully labelled in big decals in case you forget which compartment your gloves are in.
Included in the Track’ster package are such niceties as a suede-covered steering wheel, suede covered deeply-bolstered sports seats, a slick, short-throw six speed manual, and data screens showing information like oil temperature and battery voltage, everything accented in bright Inferno Orange, inside and out.
Are they ever going to produce this car? Probably not. Should they? Hell, yes, huge wheel-arches and all.