Kia Motors Corporation pulled the covers off its latest design statement in New York today.  Originating from the Kia Motors America Design Centre in Irvine, California, the striking KOUP concept truly demonstrates Kia’s ‘Power to Surprise’.

The two-door KOUP was a surprise reveal at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) and firmly illustrates the shape and evolution of future Kia vehicles.

The simple, bold and aggressive KOUP exterior is complemented by its realistic, practical and sleek four-seat interior design.  ‘The Kia KOUP concept represents the future of the Kia brand and its dynamic vehicles that embody our core philosophies,’ said Tom Kearns, chief designer of Kia Motors America.  ‘Kia is currently designing cars to appeal to driving enthusiasts who want stylish looks and advanced technology.  We believe KOUP delivers that strong appeal.’

KOUP combines balanced proportions and fluid design.  From the purposeful upper grille to the high-tech headlamps, the front-end’s form gives the vehicle a bold and aggressive stance.  An uncluttered yet dynamic wedge-shaped profile stems from carbon fibre and black-chrome LED headlamps.  The short overhangs and a wide stance endorse its well-balanced and responsive character.

One element of the KOUP design which is easy to miss at first glance is the panoramic glass roof with two panels extending from front to rear windscreens, appearing as two parallel pieces of glass - similar to a fighter jet cockpit.  Segregating the glass panels, an interior mood light runs the full length of the roof.

To underline the performance-inspired sporty elegance of KOUP, carbon fibre detailing appears throughout the concept.  The chin spoiler, headlamp cowling, door mirrors, rear bumper insert and rear diffuser all feature the lightweight material.  The 19-inch chrome wheels also feature carbon fibre inserts.  Their open-faced design provides extra brake cooling and a great view of the large Brembo brake callipers and cross-drilled brake discs.

KOUP features a practical interior design which integrates high-style materials including rich and supple seat fabrics in concrete and black colour trims.  The concept’s interior houses four full size seats which are finished in Ultrasuede whilst the floor is trimmed completely in Neoprene.  More race-inspired carbon fibre accents appear around the interior.

High-tech interior details include a convenient smart key with push button start and a six-speed sequential transmission with steering column-mounted gear-shift paddles.  The in-car ‘infotainment’ system features a substantial eight speaker system, including a pair of large rear parcel shelf speakers which are matched to the Kia ‘juke box’ providing the ultimate music flexibility on the move.  A built-in Bluetooth-enabled navigation system with Map On Demand (MOD) includes a number of telematics services.

Power is supplied to the front wheel drive chassis by a 2.0-litre Theta II turbocharged engine producing 290 bhp using GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) technology and a twin scroll turbocharger.  By injecting fuel directly into the cylinders under high pressure, using the Kia GDI system, the intake charge is cooled and combustion is improved.  This type of combustion results in excellent fuel economy and low emissions whilst providing excellent torque - KOUP produces 289 lb ft of torque from 2000 rpm, sustained to 4000 rpm.  The lower front grille openings on the concept help deliver additional cooling air to the engine for extra power.

Dynamic handling comes from fully independent suspension combined with Continuous Damping Control (CDC).  This delivers quick responses to road changes and driver inputs for maximised grip during spirited driving.  Speed sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering adds to the dynamic drive whilst the 245/40 ZR19-inch tyres complete the KOUP’s impressive chassis package.

The KOUP concept features all of the standard safety features offered on many of Kia’s production vehicle line-up including six airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), traction control and CDC.  Adaptive front lighting and cruise control add further to the KOUP’s advanced safety technology.

The KOUP concept underlines Kia’s desire to produce cars which will provide an exciting driving experience partnered with a practical and desirable design, laden with new technology.  KOUP has shown that Kia is living up to its slogan ‘The Power to Surprise’.

Published : 21/03/08 Author : Melanie Carter

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