New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

KTM draws X-Bow on local buyers

2010-07-12 07:37

At nearly R1m with no comfort or convenience features worth mentioning the KTM X-Bow is a very committed ownership proposition. Nothing quite like it though.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer KTM
Model X-Bow
Engine 2l TFSI
Power 177kW @ 5 500r/min
Torque 310Nm @ 2 000 - 5 000r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 3.9 sec
Top Speed 220km/h
Fuel Tank 40l
Fuel Consumption 7.2l/100km
Weight 805kg
Tyres F: 205/40/17 R: 235/40/18
Front Suspension Double-wishbone, adjustible dampers
Rear Suspension Double-wishbone, adjustible dampers
Service Intervals 12 months
Warranty 2 years
Price R995 000
Fans of everything orange, smarting after Sunday’s soccer defeat, can take solace in the news of KTM’s X-Bow being South Africa bound.

The legendary Austrian motorcycle manufacturer’s first road car has been confirmed for local retail, nearly three years after its European debut.

Since entering production nearly 500 X-Bows have been assembled with demand for the open-top performance car remaining strong.

Although the local importing operation for the X-Bow is set to operate as a separate entity from the motorcycle division, potential customers can expect the same levels of KTM build quality.

Two of the four available X-Bow models will be available to local buyers – the Street and Clubsport.

Trackday dream machine

Technically the X-Bow is a pure race circuit machine with the requisite concessions to make it road license legal - turn indicators and side-view mirrors.

It does without a windscreen or windows for instance, and the steering wheel is removable – like a proper race car.

To offer some remnant of wind buffeting protection at speed there is a tiny 70mm tall deflector screen and the steering wheel is only removable when two safety rings (operated by both hand simultaneously) are engaged.

The steering wheel is both height and rake adjustable ensuring outstanding ergonomic driving position alignment. In the absence of a traditional instrument binnacle, all relevant road and vehicle information is relayed courtesy of a digital display in the fascia.

In terms of configuration the X-Bow is powered by a transversely mounted engine sitting amidships and driving the rear wheels. The carbon-fibre monocoque construction essentially comprises three parts, harmonised in a horizontal fashion.

A carbon monocoque tub, made by a German concern (the Wethje Group), forms of the core of the X-Bow, with a radiator and fuel tank attached and the engine residing on an aluminium sub frame to the rear.

KTM contracted single-seater racing experts, Dallara, to aid with the design of the X-Bow’s exceptionally strong chassis – which is claimed to boast F3 racing standards of impact crash safety.

Powering the X-Bow is an Audi sourced, direct-injection 2l turbocharged in-line four producing 177kW and 310Nm.

Drive is apportioned between the rear wheels via a limited slip differential with a six-speed manual transmission regulating speed. With only 800kg of mass to move about, the X-Bow is credited with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.9 sec and a top speed of 220km/h – which should be more than sufficient for its primary objective, which is rapid circuit lapping.

Dynamic harmony and an unmatched level of steering feedback are the X-Bow’s most important selling points.

To render the requisite levels of dynamic purity adjustable double-wishbone suspension at each wheel corner (backed by unassisted Brembo ventilated rotors and callipers) and rack-and-pinion steering devoid of hydraulic (or electric) gearing deliver as uncontaminated a driving experience as possible.

The X-Bow’s outlandish shape and compact dimensions (3.7m bumper-to-bumper, 1.9m across) are kept in check by clever surface airflow management features capable of generating 193kg of down force at 200km/h.

Obviously the X-Bow’s hardcore nature will not appeal to performance car poseurs, aghast at the idea of doing their own brake force modulation or perfecting their heel-and-toe down changing technique. If you love driving quickly and prefer doing so with a full-faced helmet, well then the projected retail price of R995 000 will hardly put you off.

So, if the Lotus Exige is getting a trifle pedestrian in your experience and an Ariel Atom is simply too exposed - why not go for some orange four-wheeled madness from Austria instead?

Is KTM’s X-Bow an over-priced toy or the perfect trackday weapon? Share your thoughts here...

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