Like much of the auto press, we'll be at next week's Chicago Auto Show to see the covers come off the concepts and production cars.

While Chicago has traditionally been a truck show, at least one maker is unveiling a concept for a small and economical--but still sporty and cool--compact car.

The Kia Track'ster Concept, as it's called and punctuated, is essentially a two-door coupe version of the very popular Kia Soul "small box" compact vehicle.

So far, Kia has released only a single teaser sketch (above) of what it calls the "ultimate performance" version of the Soul.

[UPDATE, Mon, Feb 6: Kia has now released a second teaser, below.]

The image shows the concept's low profile, slit-like window line, and three-door hatchback configuration.

Kia has completely redesigned its lineup over the past few years, with a European-inflected design language that focuses on clear shapes and a distinctive grille with pinched upper and lower edges.

Now, the company appears to be evolving its styling idiom to include sportier proportions and crisper, more distinct shapes and accent lines.

Second teaser for 2012 Kia Track-ster Concept

Second teaser for 2012 Kia Track-ster Concept

Kia hasn't said anything yet about the concept's mechanicals; the 2012 Kia Soul comes with a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. There's also a 164-hp, 2.0-liter option, and new for this year, the transmission offerings are a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic.

But we wonder whether the Track'ster Concept might be fitted with the turbocharged 201-hp, 1.6-liter direct-injection engine found in the 2012 Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Follow all our news from Chicago next week on our dedicated auto show page.


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