KTM builds a car, the X-Bow. This comes after Bombardier builds the Can-Am Spyder, a road going 3 wheeler and Buell says they’re going to race Rotax powered motocross bikes. You have to wonder what else is cooking in some of those back rooms.
Since the beginning of the new century, KTM, as the world market leader in the offroad segment has successively expanded its range of business activities into the street segment. The first step into the automotive sector is therefore a logical extension of this strategy. With the X-Bow, KTM can offer all those who do not have a motorcycle license a driving experience that is typical for the brand.
They concentrated on the functional and left out what they considered non essential components. What’s left out? Not present are sound system, air conditioner, roof, doors, windshield wipers, power steering, electronic driving aids of any sort, and because of the carbon fiber chassis and 4 point harness, no airbag is necessary.
What do you get? You get a carbon fiber monocoque chassis driven by an Audi supplied turbo 4 cylinder with an output of 220 hp in the basic version, a 300 hp version will be available. The entire car weighs just 1540 pounds which means acceleration will be brisk, 0-60 comfortably under 4 seconds.
The open environment and no creature comforts means you wear a specially designed driving suit from Dainese.
These garments will take over some of the comfort functions that are usually available with a vehicle with a roof – for example entertainment and communication systems. These functions are directly integrated into the clothing, which will also naturally serve as protection against cold and windy weather.
An important part of the custom-made driver equipment will be a helmet specially designed for this project. Wearing of the helmet is not required by law but is recommended by KTM. In this way the X-Bow also represents a bridge to a motorcycle. Special storage space is also provided for these two helmets.
The images here are of the scale model used for wind tunnel testing, the actual car will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Race car specialists, Dallara, will build 100 units. Then, depending on reaction, KTM plans small series production of 500 units per year in Austria. “According to the present situation, sales offices for the X-Bow could be considered for the following countries: Germany, Finland, Greece, Britain, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Switzerland.” No mention of any sales in the U.S.
This is an interesting way of spreading business across more than one market segment and KTM looks like they’ve done a very nice job. If this is a bridge from motorcycle to car, I wonder what they would build if they finish crossing the bridge.
More photos below: