We forgive you for not knowing that Austrian motorcycle giant KTM makes cars. Unless you’re really tuned into the high-performance scene, the KTM X-Bow and all of its iterations have probably slipped right by your feed, like a high-speed drafting pass on a long straightaway. Way back in 2008 KTM introduced this lineup with a vehicle that looked part car part motorcycle. Received with mixed reviews, it wasn’t until Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear tested the X-Bow (say “cross-bow”) that it started to catch people’s eye.
KTM X-Bow in 2021
Propelled by Audi engines from the inception, the KISKA-designed X-Bow line is beginning to gain a foothold in the modern racing zeitgeist. The 2021 lineup features two new models that are sure to whet the appetite of anyone looking to kickstart their venture into auto racing or seriously uplevel their club car. The KTM X-Bow GTX and X-Bow GTX GT2 Concept are drool-inducing, track-ready sports cars that are ready to compete with some of the fastest cars in the world.
The KTM GTX and GT2 have all the looks of a modern racecar, but it’s what is below that sleek shell that counts. Audi makes an amazing engine, and the 2.5-liter five-cylinder TFSI that they use in the X-Bow remains nearly unchanged for these models. Modifying just the injection valves, intake, exhaust, and engine management software, they are able to tease 530 horsepower (600 for GT2) and 479 foot-pounds of torque. With all of that power in a car that weighs 2,310 pounds, you know you’re in for a wild ride.
Transmitting that incredible power to the ground, KTM has integrated an electric gear shifter with a sequential gearbox. Utilizing Le Mans Prototype technology, the manufacturer is able to both protect the gearbox from damage and save significant weight at the same time. A 31-gallon fuel cell ensures that all of that power transmission can go the distance, especially with the Audi engine’s low fuel consumption.
The suspension features push-rods with Sachs dampers, which are highly adjustable both in rebound and compression. Ride height, sag, and axle height are all adjustable based on the undulating nature and off-piste turns of the track you happen to be lapping. Stopping power is provided by a braking system with six-piston calipers in the fore, and 4-piston in the aft. Fourteen-inch rotors on each wheel are sure to bring this thing to a halt rather quickly.
The cockpit of this fighter-jet-with-wheels is really what catches my attention. A suede racing wheel comes integrated with a heads-up display, returning all the key car details back to the driver. Rearview mirrors come in the form of a camera system instead of classic glass mirrors, a technology that should be in every car. A Recaro bucket seat holds the driver in place below the steel roll cage and amidst the carbon monocoque, a combination good enough for the fastest race cars in the world.
The X-Bow GTX and X-Bow GTX GT2 are a wild step forward for KTM. Their hopes of competing in the GT class with the GT2 model aren’t long-off. And the potential for the GTX to come to life at a racetrack near you is a very real possibility as well.
Twenty of the KTM X-Bow GTXs are said to be available for the 2021 season and starting at a price of $270,000. You can expect them to sell very quickly.