In the auto industry, the phrase ‘never say never’ rings true like Sunday morning gospel. Even if the whole situation seems unlikely, it still doesn’t mean that slim chances won’t ever happen.
Take this reported new partnership for example. Whispers are getting louder in the auto circles of a potential project that would involve two brands joining forces: Fiat’s in-house tuning firm, Abarth and the Austrian brand KTM.
From what we’ve heard, the reported tie-up between the two companies will center on a particular car that will be released in 2013. No details were mentioned on what kind of car it actually is, but it was mentioned that it could be something along the likes of an Audi-powered mid-engined two-seater that uses a rolling chassis, similar to what is found in the current X-Bow. Abarth is reportedly also working on putting in a new 1.8-liter version of Fiat’s MultiAir turbocharged petrol engine that’s capable of producing power in excess of 200 horsepower. The Italian tuning house is likewise expected to add some new features, including a unique bodyshell that will be built around the X-Bow’s current carbon fiber monocoque platform. This would make it, at the very least, a little more user-friendly and usable as a standard road car.
The expected price tag on the car is somewhere around £42,000 – £50,000 ($67,000 - $75,000) and it could hit the streets as soon as 2013.
The KTM X-Bow made history ever since 2007 when it was officially unveiled. The X-Bow is powered by a Audi TFSI engine that develops 220 hp. The performance values of the KTM X-Bow outstrip those of super-sport cars with more than twice the power. With a deadweight of approx. 700 kilos, the KTM X-Bow accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.9 sec. It can hit a top speed of 135 mph.
But this was just the beginning; KTM is preparing two new versions for the X-Bow. Both R and T are characterized by important changes from base. The first one, the X-Bow T will go on sale next year and will have the same small engine as in the original. It will develop a total of 300 hp and 400 Nm of torque.
The second one, the R version, will go on sale in 2012. KTM revealed nothing about this version, but it is known that it will feature a new windshield to divert air over the cockpit.
The Austrian based two wheeled off road racing specialists at KTM are making a play to become more competitive on the track with all four wheels gripping the tarmac when it unleashes the open air lightweight X-BOW GT4 race car into the category for the 2010 racing season. The new X-BOW GT4 has just finished its first round of on track action where the test session turned into an all out competition this past weekend at the 2009 British GT championship with driver Reinhard Kofler behind the wheel.
After sweeping the first three places in the final round of the GT4 European Cup at Nogaro, the sports car builder decided to upgrade the KTM X-BOW so that it could step out of the restricted Super Sport category and begin competing with the big boys, something that was shown when Mr. Kofler qualified just .45 seconds behind the larger and more powerful MTECH GT3 spec Ferrari F430 Scuderia. The X-BOW GT4 is powered by a 2.0 Liter TFSI four cylinder Audi engine and features a few improved aerodynamic pieces as well as a new cooling system to go along with the new chassis.
KTM’s U.K. manager, Jeff Lau said that
"While we have enjoyed success in the Supersport class, it’s not been as popular as the British or European organizers had anticipated. KTM in Austria therefore took the decision to develop a full GT4-specification X-BOW for the 2010 season. The objective for KTM is to position X-Bow as the leading contender in British and European GT4 racing next year, while also being cost-effective," targeting entry level GT racing teams for next season.
KTM has long been one of the premier motorcycle brands in Europe and with their success, it seemed like venturing into producing vehicles of the four-wheeled persuasion would be seamless.
Their first offering, the X-Bow track car was supposed to be the car that would put KTM on the map as an up-and-coming car manufacturer. And while the car is a must-have by all accounts, the global financial crisis has proven to be a much stiffer opponent than any of them ever considered.
After a promising start that compelled KTM to double their production – from 500 cars to 1000 - because of high interest at the car. But with the economy taking a surprising nose dive, all those who showed previous interest suddenly didn’t have the money – or was being thriftier – to pay for it.
As a result of the supply far outstripping the demand for the car, KTM has only sold 80 of the said X-Bow’s, which has forced the company to cease production until they sell off the remaining cars sitting idly at their factory in Graz, Austria.
It’s an auspicious debut for KTM’s venture into the four-wheeled market; even more bittersweet considering the car held such high promise before the economy had to ruin everything.
When your 240 HP light weight sports car is not enough, take it to ABT Sportsline and they will make it even more powerful! This is the case with the KTM X-BOW that is powered by an Audi sourced 2.0 Liter TSI four cylinder engine. The tuner is offering an upgrade package that will increase the car’s out put all the way up to 300 HP. With all this power, the X-BOW can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.5 seconds – compared to 3.9 seconds in the 240 HP version, all for only £5,300.
It has been a while since Top Speed has reported anything about the KTM X-Bow, open air sports car with room for two. Unfortunately, the X-Bow that we are talking about today met its match when the driver took a curve too fast, dropping one wheel onto the grass and then subsequently lost control. The X-Bow went end over end three times before coming to rest with the shiny side up, albeit a little dirty.
The KTM X-Bow has a niche carved out for itself amongst speed junkies and lightweight performance driving enthusiasts. Similar to other minimalist sports cars like the Caterham and Ariel Atom, the X-Bow gets its appeal by being a stripped down racer offering an extremely favorable power to weight ratio and a wind in your face, formula type experience.
Now, modern passenger cars are loaded with safety features that rob gas mileage and ruin a vehicle’s nimble nature all in the name of saving lives. So when we look at lightweight roadsters like the KTM X-Bow, we have to wonder just how safe these fun to drive vehicles really are. Thankfully, the pilot who shot his X-Bow off the beaten path and then conducted some aerial acrobatics was able to walk away from the incident, although we can’t say the same about the car.
Not many people consider the KTM X-Bow an overweight car, but since KTM has a history in making motorcycles, it felt the spartan car could go on a diet. In honor of the Race of Champions where the X-Bow premiered, KTM has unveiled a limited edition ROC edition.
What makes this car special special is the lightweight all-carbon body, sports exhaust, lightweight alloy wheels, adjustable sports suspension, and a removable multi-function steering wheel. The 2.0-liter Audi-sourced engine making 236 hp remains the same.
The X-Bow ROC costs €69,980 (or $88,200 at the current rates), which represents a €20,000 premium over the base X-Bow. Although the extra cash doesn’t buy more power, it does buy exclusiveness. The ROC will be limited to 30 units.
The second special edition (next to the ROC) revealed by KTM at the Geneva Motor Show is the X-BOW Superlight. As the name says, for this special edition KTM focused on reducing the car’s weight. This was possible mainly because of the chassis made completely of carbon fibre. The X-Bow Superlight will be priced at 79,980 Euro (or a bit over $100.000 at the current rates).
The X-Bow Superlight features a radical construction, without a roof or windscreen, and the omission of air-conditioning and an entertainment system. All this decisions were taken for only one purpose: weight reduction.
Austrian motorbike manufacturer KTM and German tuners ABT Sportsline are now working together to improve the already impressive X-Bow (pronounced crossbow) by becoming a retailer for the lightweight car — including adding performance upgrades. The X-BOW is a carbon fiber clad, lightweight, open air roadster powered by a Volkswagen 2.0 liter TFSI engine producing 240 HP and is capable of accelerating the 790 Kg vehicle from 0-60 MPH (0-100 Km/h) in 3.9 seconds.
An upgraded version from ABT Sportsline is projected to generate 300 HP from the VW four cylinder giving the X-BOW a more favorable power to weight ratio. This would mean that every horsepower will have to move only 5.8 pounds of X-BOW.
The KTM X-BOW blends race car performance with a motorcycle like driving experience, and now that ABT have gotten their hands on a few models stay off the Autobahn for fear of embarrassment.
The KTM X-Bow is the kind of car we love. It’s an engine, a seat, four wheels and a few bolts to keep the whole thing together. Now tuner MTM is giving us something to make our smiles even wider, more power. Its boosting the power from the Audi-sourced 2.0 four cylinder engine from 237 hp to 380 hp. MTM didn’t release 0 to 60 times, but with the sixty percent power improvement, we bet there will be some serious time shaved off the standard X-Bow’s 3.7 second time.
This boosted X-Bow is well above the supercharged Ariel Atom’s 300 hp, so now it may be the king of the hill of spartan sports cars. But this may not last long, a 500 hp Atom rumored to be in development.