Kia unveiled its new KOUP concept car this morning at the New York International Auto Show following last night's spotting by ace spy photographer Brenda Priddy. The KOUP's production status hasn't been confirmed, but the concept was clearly a thinly veiled production-ready car.
The KOUP - along with the freshly revised 2009 Optima sedan - signals a new design direction for Kia that's expected to carry over into the rest of the line's models. A simple, low grill, angular headlamps and integrated fog lamps are part of the new design language which "leaps into the future and doesn't look back," according to Kia designer Tom Kearns.
Kearns said that Kia intends to "create vehicles that are truly adventurous" and that the KOUP allowed "the young design team to stretch themselves."
Kia aims the KOUP at driving enthusiasts, so it's no surprise that underhood is a twin screw turbocharged version of the 2.0 liter Theta II four cylinder. With new direct injection, the motor puts out an impressive 289 lb-ft. of torque and 290 horsepower. Kia wouldn't confirm production plans for the motor, but if Hyundai's turbocharged Genesis coupe is any indication, the Korean company is serious about turbochargers.
The show car's interior looked almost production-ready, a rare thing for concept cars from Kia, which usually look more like design exercises. Triple gauges, Bluetooth and a navigation system are all likely to show up on production Kias. Two-tone seats and carbon fiber detailing give the KOUP a sporty appearance.
It's hard to know what Kia's plans are for production, but the KOUP looks a lot closer to reality than the recently unveiled Kee. Kearns confirmed that the KOUP is a "production-ready design that could find its way to production."
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