By John Hartley
Here is a truly amazing new sports car - the KTM X-Bow. It is amazing in the way it looks, the way it is made and in its performance. So what is so special about the way it looks? Well, it has open wheels, with cycle type fenders, but you can hardly see them. At the front there is a big cowl which hides the wheels, but beneath that is a narrow chisel nose that is the front of the body, the engine being behind the cockpit.
On top of the engine is a curved cowl that acts as a cover, and provides some downforce at speed. Then, twin radiators are mounted each side of the engine, just behind the cockpit, where they partly conceal the engine and rear wheels. If you look from the back, you can see the rear suspension and a big muffler across the back with the exhaust coming straight out. This mufflers acts as a safety crash member, taking the impact in a crash.
One more thing that is different: the instruments and controls are all mounted in the hub of the steering wheel.
Austrian, with mid-engined layout
So who has produced this unusual sports car? KTM, the Austrian maker of high-performance off road motor bikes. Like KTM motorcycles, the X-Bow is a hot performer, without any creature comforts, and has shaken up the sports car world.
It has a carbon fiber body, made in Italy, which is one reason why this is a lightweight car, although not as light as the Lotus 2-11 or Caterham CSR, two competitors.
What is normal about it? Well, like the Lotus Elise, Exige and 2-11 sports cars the engine is mounted cross-wise in unit with the transaxle behind the cockpit, an arrangement which allows the use of a power train of a mass production front-drive car. In this case, the power train is the Audi two-liter turbo unit, developing 240 bhp.
All about performance without any frills
Like the Caterham and Lotus 2-11, the KTM X-Bow is all about performance. It can reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and 100 mph in 8.5 seconds, which puts it up in the supercar category. For example, The acceleration is faster than the Audi R8, Jaguar XKR or Porsche Carrera S. It is matched by some other ultra-lightweight super sports cars like the Lotus 2-11, and is a little slower than the Caterham CSR, which reaches 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Even so the performance is remarkable.
In some respects, the KTM X-Bow seems inspired by the Caparo T1, although it is slightly heavier and has half the power. Overall, the KTM X-Bow is an amazing addition to the sports car world.
To find out the latest news, and see reviews of top sports cars go to http://www.fast-sportscars.com, which is run by John Hartley.
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Labels: Sports Car