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December 15, 2006

By Dave Abrahams

Mattighofen, Austria – Motorcycle company KTM has released these pictures of its first four-wheeler... a two-seat, mid-engined sports car to be called the X-Bow (pronounced "crossbow") that will be shown at the 2007 Geneva auto show.

It was developed in collaboration with Audi (it was labelled at first as the Audi Crossbow) and will be powered by that company's two-litre, turbocharged TFSI engine which is rated at 156kW in standard tune but can be tuned to 240kW.

The X-Bow weighs less than 700kg, which translates to electrifying performance; KTM quotes a 0-100km/h "comfortably less than four seconds" in standard trim!

A six-speed manual gearbox will be standard but a paddle-shift DSG transmission will be offered at extra cost The X-bow weighs less than 700kg, which translates to electrifying performance.

It's built around a carbon fibre monocoque made using a new production process developed with Italian racing-car manufacturer Dallara; the tub weighs only 70kg but includes an impact-absorbing "crash box" in the nose and integral roll-over bars.

KTM's Dutch subsidiary White Power will provide the suspension and industry leader Brembo the brakes. Audi will also offer a limited–slip differential "particularly for drivers who want to engage in certain activities on racing circuits".

The styling is by Austrian design house Kiska, the company responsible for styling of KTM motorcycles (and its corporate image) for nearly 15 years.

The technical elegance of the carbon-fibre chassis is used as a design element, as are some suspension components In order to keep the weight down, some 'comfort features' have been omitted . Even the slim, double mounting stems for the two outer mirrors were designed to emphasise the lightweight concept while the rear view is dominated by a big central tailpipe and full-width diffuser.

No compromise

Some "comfort features" have been omitted to reduce weight – the X-Bow has no sound system or air-conditioning.

Its low weight makes power-steering unnecessary and the windscreen is only 70mm high so needs no wipers or demisters. The sloping sides of the vehicle make it possible to get in and out without doors and the immense strength of the chassis and four-point safety harnesses make crash bags redundant.

KTM's performance nutters have also deliberately rejected any electronic driving aids. The X-Bow, they say, "is designed as a piece of high-tech sports equipment for experienced customers" who like to do their own driving.

Innovative accessories

Since there's no roof, driver and passenger are exposed to the elements as if on a motorcycle, so KTM has put together a bike-orientated accessory catalogue for the X-Bow. Italian bikewear specialist Dainese has developed special overalls, with integrated entertainment and communication systems. There's also a crash helmet styled to match the car; it's not required by law but recommended by KTM.

There will be dedicated storage spaces for two helmets in the car and a light tonneau cover will be provided to cover the cockpit when the car is parked.

Geneva premiere

The X-Bow will be shown at the Geneva auto show in March 2007; 100 pre-production units will be built by Dallara and sold by KTM during 2007 at a base price of about €40 000.

If reaction to the first series justifies further production KTM will possibly build a projected 500 units a year in Austria to be sold through dedicated dealers in (possibly) Germany, Finland, Greece, Britain, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Switzerland.

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