GENEVA MOTOR SHOW - When a manufacturer of race-winning motorcycles produces their first car, you can expect it to be, well, different.
As KTM boss Stefan Pierer said at the time: “We wanted to take Colin Chapman's idea of a spartan, lightweight sports car reduced to the bare essentials and transfer it into the new millennium - with as many technological innovations as possible.'
And, together with Italian racing-car manufacturer Dallara, composites specialists Wethje and engine partner Audi, what they came up with in only 18 months was extraordinary.
But, five years on, Pierer is the first to admit that the KTM X-Bow is impractical even by Sunday-morning hooligan-tool standards, so here we have the world premiere of the first X-Bow with a windscreen: the KTM X-Bow GT.
ELEGANT FRAMELESS WINSCREEN
Based on the base-model X-Bow R, Pierer has given us a X-Bow that can be enjoyed without a motorcycle helmet, thanks to an elegant, frameless windscreen that wraps around the driver and passenger like a helmet visor.
The engine cover, which now has gill-like ventilation slits, connects extensively with the rear bodywork to make the rear end look considerably chunkier while, from the front, the headlight surrounds have become narrower and the bonnets are attached over the front splitter at a striking angle.
Windscreen and side windows blend seamlessly into each other to create the 'helmet visor' effect, while improving the aerodynamics to create less drag and more downforce.
As on the R, the fixed Recaro seat shells are mounted directly on to carbon-fibre monocoque, as are the Schroth four-point harnesses - the pedal box is adjustable fore and aft, the steering wheel for both height and reach.
REVAMPED COCKPIT FURNITURE
But the centre console has been completely revamped. In place of the engine start button behind the shift lever, there's a set of switches for windscreen wiper, screen wash/wipe, interior ventilation/heating and the windscreen heater, which features very thin, barely visible wires in the glass.
The engine mapping of the two-litre Audi TFSI engine has been revised for the GT, to deliver the same 210kW at 6400rpm, but now with 420Nm at only 3200 revs, taking the 847kg GT from 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds, while averaging only 8.3 litres per 100km.
The standard Audi six-speed manual gearbox has a special short-throw shift mechanism, and limited-slip differential has been retuned to reduce on/off jerking and make the GT more pleasant to drive on the road.
STRAIGHT FROM THE WORLD’S GREAT RACING STABLES
Most of the running gear comes straight from the parts bins of the world's great racing stables. A completely flat three-piece racing underbody, front splitter and rear diffuser generate 100kg of downforce at 200km/h and, depending on the tyres, the X-Bow GT can pull up to 2g of lateral acceleration, more than with any other street-legal production vehicle, according to Pierer.
The WP dampers on the pushrod front suspension and directly mounted rear suspension are adjustable for high and low-speed compression as well as rebound damping, while the Brembo brakes feature four-pot, opposed-piston callipers on 305mm internally ventilated, slotted discs and the rear wheels have twin-piston fixed calipers on 262mm platters - enough to pull the GT down from 100km/h to a standstill in only 32.9 metres.
The X-Bow GT is available to order now at €72 500 (R855 000) ex works; first deliveries are scheduled for late April or early May.