NEW YORK - In an auto show full of production cars and "world debuts" of new trim levels, Kia provided a refreshing break from the monotonous parade of cars that money can actually buy. Called the KMS-4, the Kia concept coupe is tantalizing in its potential.
Interestingly, Kia bills the KMS-4 as an economy car. Roughly the size of a Mitsubishi Eclipse, the coupe comes with a not-so-outlandish, 2.0-liter, DOHC four-cylinder engine. The engine develops 151 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 114 foot-pounds of torque at 4500 rpm. With a curb weight of less than 2,000 pounds, performance might be impressive. Sticking to the econo-car theme, the KMS-4 even comes with low-cost drum brakes for the rear wheels.
A few concept-car features keep the KMS-4 a fantasy. With an all-glass roof, Kia gives new meaning to the term "greenhouse." How to bring this car to production? Replace the glass roof with traditional steel, lose the costly Ferrari-like paddle shift levers and GPS navigation system, and you’ve got a surprisingly attainable car.
If parent company Hyundai has any plans to expand the Kia brand, the KMS-4 is the perfect move. Futuristic styling, compact engine for good fuel economy, four-wheel independent suspension for sporty handling: all qualities that would make the KMS-4 sell. Direct competition for the Hyundai Tiburon is the reason it won’t.