Austria’s KTM Aims at Extreme Sports Car Market
By Andy Bannister
A welcome new addition to the ranks of Europe’s low-volume sports car makers is KTM of Austria, which will start selling its new X-Bow 2-seater later this year.
KTM is a motorcycle manufacturer with a history going back 50 years. The KTM X-Bow (it is pronounced Crossbow) is a new departure for the company, however, described as an “extreme sports car”.
It makes its British debut this week at the Autosport International Racing Car Show in Birmingham, with the first UK deliveries expected this summer at a cost of around £38,000 ($76,000).
To develop its futuristic-looking street racer, KTM has harnessed the know-how of respected development partners such as Audi and Dallara. The result is a street-homologated sports car with racing technology, such as an avant-garde, carbon fibre monocoque.
Thanks to the basic version’s light weight and the 240hp Audi 2-litre FSI turbo engine, the performance of the X-Bow outstrips cars with twice the power. The KTM can reach 0 to 100 mph in 8.5 seconds.
The Austrian sports car is the latest of a number of recently-launched racing machines which are road legal and offer the very barest minimum of creature comforts in favour of ultimate performance and handling. With no doors, roof or windscreen KTM says driving the X-Bow is the nearest thing to recreating on four wheels the experience of riding a motorcycle.
Whilst the Alpine country isn’t one of the best-known for auto manufacturing, the KTM is certainly not the first car to hail from this part of the world. In former years Steyr-Puch and Austro-Daimler were well-known Austrian marques.
More recently the Magna Steyr plant in Graz has been involved in plenty of development work on niche models for various manufacturers and has been contracted to produce a variety of cars for companies including Saab, Mercedes, Chrysler and BMW.
Back at KTM, X-Bow production will start properly later this year, with the first deliveries to customers soon after. The company says it will reach the maximum annual production capacity of about 1000 units as soon as possible, with most sales confined to countries in the European Union.
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