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KTM X-Bow: The Concept and Realization

Exclusive lightweight sportscars with aggressive design

Oct 28, 2008
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During the autumn of 2005, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer and Gerald Kiska, CEO and founder of the KISKA design studio, met for a routine meeting in Salzburg. The result was the beginnings of a visionary, seminal automobile project. Against the background of the worrying state of the European motorcycle market - fewer drivers held a motorcycle licence compared to earlier years - were the brightening prospects of a widening window of opportunity appearing in the market for 'pure' sportscars. Sportscars that, with a clear vision aligned to the KTM philosophy, 'ready to race', and clever engineering, might be able to deliver the excitement and immediacy of motorcycling - on four wheels rather than two.

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The meeting was a success and the lightweight, high-performance KTM X-Bow was conceived. The 'fathers' of X-Bow moved quickly, commissioning an in-house 'test mule' to prove the validity of their concept and, in January 2006, began talking with Italian racing car- and sportscar specialist Dallara about the feasibility of KTM's plan for developing such a road car. KTM celebrated the world premiere of its first-ever car at the Geneva Motor Show in 2007 when the X-Bow was officially born. The company sounded out the exclusive lightweight sportscar market with an aggressive design and a spectacular concept, complete with carbon fibre monocoque and the minimum of purist fittings.

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Extensive market research was undertaken and, following an overwhelmingly positive response from sportscar enthusiasts and motoring media all around the world, the decision was made to go ahead with further development for the series production model of the KTM X-Bow. On the anniversary of that world premiere, KTM exhibited the production-ready version of the KTM X-Bow for the first time at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. From this point on, progress was rapid. KTM had already started building a production plant in the Austrian 'motor city', Graz, and at the same time as the Automobile Salon in Geneva, assembly of the first prototype cars began. Series production started on 16 June, the first customer took delivery of his X-Bow on 5 August.

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At the end of September 2008, the next milestone in KTM's young car division was reached: the first KTM X-Bow 'Race', a fully FIA homologated GT4 Sports Light racing car, rolled off the assembly line in Graz. This new 'Race' model incorporates all the lessons learned during the X-Bow's first season of professional motorsport in Europe. Compared to the standard road car, the X-Bow 'Race' features 30 modified or new components. The 'Race' model costs ?82.900 ex-works and excluding national taxes - and customer deliveries are scheduled to begin in January 2009.

Mid-engined two-seater open extreme sports car
Carbon composite monocoque with transverse mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive and fully independent suspension
Engine Make
Turbo-charged, 4-cylinder petrol with direct fuel injection
1984 cc / 2.0-litres
Bore & Stroke
82.5 x 92.8 mm
Max power
240 ps (177 kW) at 5500 rpm
Max torque
310 Nm (229 lb ft) from 2000 to 5500 rpm
16 (4 per cylinder)
Cast iron block, aluminium alloy cylinder head
Emissions class
Euro 4 compliant
6-speed manual

Acceleration from standstill
0 to 50 mph 2.86 sec [0 to 80 km/h]0 to 62 mph 3.90 sec [0 to 100 km/h]0 to 75 mph 5.27 sec [0 to 120 km/h]0 to 87 mph 6.61 sec [0 to 140 km/h]0 to 99 mph 8.51 sec [0 to 160 km/h]



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