Kia just had the global debut of the KOUP concept at the 2008 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The simple yet bold and aggressive KOUP exterior is complemented by its realistic and sleek interior design. Originating from the Kia Motors America Design Center in Irvine, Calif., the KOUP concept embodies Kia’s philosophy of “Exciting and Enabling” with its balanced proportions and fluid design set to evoke an emotional driving experience.
From the tab-shaped and purposeful upper grille to the high-tech and pragmatic headlamps, the front fascia’s form gives the vehicle a bold and aggressive stance. The KOUP features an uncomplicated yet dynamic wedge shape along its sides stemming from its glowing, carbon fiber and black chrome enhanced LED headlamp lenses.
While the KOUP’s overall form is simple and precise, it makes a design statement with positive tension created by a “swoosh” that swoops from the “C” pillar forward, down to the “A” pillar and flares all the way back around to the rear deck lid. A trailing horizontal lip along the deck lid tapers up toward the outer ends to meet up with the swoosh from the beltline. The rocker sill has a distinctive “check mark” shape and prominent wheel flares that give the KOUP a strong, lowered stance.
No element of high-style design is missing in the KOUP concept as illustrated by its greenhouse-integrated, panoramic-view glass with two panels extending from the windshield through the roof to the backlight, 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 greenhouse. To further the performance-inspired appearance with sporty elegance, carbon fiber enhancements accent the KOUP’s chin spoiler, headlamp lenses, cowl panel, side-view mirrors, rear bumper insert and rear diffuser, while flashy twin wheel spokes include carbon fiber inserts paired with an open design to show off the Brembo® calipers and cross-drilled rotors.
The KOUP’s interior hones in on the desires of auto enthusiasts from the inward lean of the dashboard and Supervision instrument panel, enhancing the performance-inspired driving experience to the custom-designed, race-inspired steering wheel in front of a three-gauge instrument cluster. Carbon fiber accents on the shifter plate and seat tilt-adjust mechanism reinforce sporty performance.
Eight speakers, including large rear deck speakers matched to a juke box audio system, further harmonize the driving experience. A built-in Bluetooth-enabled navigation system with Map On Demand (MOD) also are featured.
A true driver’s car, the front seats contrast the rear seats with opposing colors (concrete and black) and patterning. Horizontal, padded silicone bars occupy the seat backs for extra comfort. A convenient smart key with push button start and a six-speed automatic transmission with steering column-mounted paddle shifters completes the package.
Powered by a commanding 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged engine producing 290 horsepower paired with a GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) twin scroll turbocharger for greater power and efficiency, the KOUP delivers astonishing torque of 289 lb-ft at a low 2,000 rpm sustained to 4,000 rpm. Lower grille openings enable additional air intake for extra power.
Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, coil springs and stabilizer bars complement an independent front suspension featuring MacPherson struts and an independent dual link rear suspension. In keeping with the KOUP’s sporty essence, Continuous Damping Control (CDC) for quick movements and sharp turns paired with a sport-tuned, four-wheel independent suspension and strut tower bar offer a tighter grip for more spirited driving.
The large 245/40ZR19 tires complete the KOUP’s impressive package. Also included is adaptive front lighting and cruise control, adding to the KOUP’s advanced safety technology.