Kia on Tuesday unveiled a striking concept that previews several elements of the Korean automaker's future plans.

Called the Futuron, a portmanteau of “future” and “on,” the concept was unveiled at the China International Import Expo currently underway in Shanghai and may just hint at a coupe-like SUV in the works.

Kia described the concept as a sports car on an SUV platform, and that certainly appears to be the case based on the sleek, sexy design. Unfortunately, there are no performance specs to back up the sporty looks, though Kia did mention a battery-electric powertrain, all-wheel drive, and a low center of gravity.

Kia Futuron Concept

Kia Futuron Concept

A glass roof lets plenty of light into the cabin where the front seats can be almost fully reclined. Yes, there's still a steering wheel, but Kia said the driver will have the option to kick back and let the car do the driving in most scenarios. Kia together with Hyundai are known to be working on self-driving cars with Level 4 and Level 5 capability on the SAE scale. This means vehicles that can drive themselves, in restricted areas in the case of Level 4 and at the same capacity as a human driver for Level 5.

While self-driving capability is likely some years away still, elements of the Futuron's exterior design could make it onto future Kias much sooner than you think. The nose of the car, with its multi-LED slight signature, referred to as the Star Cloud, is said to represent a new Tiger Face design motif destined for future Kia EVs. The new design is an evolution of Kia's signature Tiger Nose grille, crafted for a world where cars no longer need grilles.

The Futuron is an impressive design. Athletic, modern, and at the same time elegant, it points to an exciting future for Kia cars. Let's hope the lines don't get watered down too much in the transition to production.