Kia KOUP design concept revealed In New York

Thursday, 20 March 2008

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’.




Illustrating the shape and evolution of future Kia vehicles, the simple yet bold and aggressive KOUP exterior is complemented by its realistic and sleek interior design.  Originating from the Kia Motors America Design Centre in Irvine, California, the 2008 Kia KOUP concept embodies Kia’s philosophy of balanced proportions and fluid design set to evoke an emotional driving experience.      


Vehicle Type

Two-door, four-seat coupe concept

Powertrain Layout

Front engine, transversely mounted


Brembo cross-drilled and ventilated discs all round


Front:  Fully independent with MacPherson struts
Rear:  Fully independent



19-inch, twin five-spoke polished aluminium and carbon fibre


245/40 ZR19-inch

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION                                                                                                                          


Theta II four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine, with twin scroll turbocharger, GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection), aluminium cylinder block


290 bhp


289 lb/ft @ 2000-4000 rpm


Six-speed sequential with steering-column paddle shifters for manual sequential gear selection

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS/COLOR                                                                                


4485 mm


1845 mm


1428 mm


2650 mm

Track [front and rear]

1536 mm

UNIQUE FEATURES                                                                                                          


Painted in Ceramic Red
Smart key entry (with push button start ignition)
Prominent front and rear wheel arches for a strong, lowered stance
Large-diameter 19-inch alloy wheels
LED headlamp lenses
Dual-chrome exhaust tips set within rear diffuser
Carbon fibre enhanced headlamp lenses, chin spoiler, door mirrors, lower valence, rear bumper insert and functional diffuser

Ultrasuede seat finish
Carbon fibre trim panels
Automatic climate control air-conditioning system
Three-spoke steering wheel with audio, mobile phone and cruise controls
Steering column-integrated gear change paddle shifters
‘Juke box’ audio system with eight speakers, including two large rear deck speakers
Built-in Bluetooth-enabled navigation system with Map On Demand (MOD)
Leather covered centre console with armrest and storage compartment
Neoprene flooring

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Continuous Damping Control (CDC)
ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
Traction Control System (TCS)
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Adaptive front lighting

Notes to editors

Please note the embargo for this press release is 14:00 20 March 2008

For further information on Kia please visit or contact:

Stephen Kitson Communications Director
Direct dial                     01932 832075

Sue Mulcaster              Senior Press Officer
Direct dial                     01932 832073

Jon Walsh                    Senior Press Officer
Direct dial                     01932 832071

Anne Almeida               Press Officer
Direct dial                     01932 832072

Krystyna Kozlowska    Press Office Administrator
Direct dial                     01932 832079

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