Meet The KTM X-Bow GT-XR: A 174-MPH Racer For The Road

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This feat of engineering is bristling with innovation.

After numerous teasers and spy shots, KTM has finally lifted the lid on its all-new X-Bow GT-XR. Based on the proven underpinnings of the X-Bow GT2 racer, the boutique automaker describes it as "the closest you can get to a purebred race car in a road-legal vehicle." That's not just marketing nonsense, either - this is a phenomenal machine.

The lightweight chassis is remarkable and provides the newcomer with most of its agility. Fashioned out of carbon fiber, KTM claims it is one of the lightest and safest examples in the industry and boasts the highest level of torsional stiffness ever seen in a road car. In fact, the safety cell tips the scales at a mere 196 pounds.

As we've previously reported, the X-Bow GT-XR is powered by the same engine found in the Audi RS3. However, KTM has turned up the wick by improving the 2.5-liter five-cylinder mill. The turbocharged motor now produces a muscular 493 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque - not bad for a car with a dry weight of 2,491 lbs. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a Volkswagen Group-sourced seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.


This translates into startling straight-line performance. The GT-XR dispatches 62 mph in a rapid 3.4 seconds before running out of steam at 174 mph. But a car such as this is about so much more than on-paper figures. Underneath the dramatically styled bodywork, clever engineering abounds.

Let's start with the tubular steel rear frame. Not only does it promote rigidity but, thanks to clever packaging, ensures the best possible protection in the event of a crash. It also serves as a mounting point for the transmission, engine unit, and rear suspension. Speaking of which, the GT-XR employs specially designed Sachs suspension which has been tuned to provide immense levels of grip. Drivers can also adjust the ride height at the front and rear if they wish.

The ABS-equipped braking system is particularly impressive. Fashioned out of aluminum, the monoblock fixed design boasts eight calipers per piston at the rear. The design allows cool air to flow through, ensuring optimum performance at all times. KTM promises remarkable stopping power and longevity but notes an even lighter (and stronger) ceramic system is available as an option. Stability control is standard.


The striking exterior is equal parts form and function. The bodywork is made entirely of carbon fiber and adds to the overall rigidity and stiffness. KTM says the lightweight material hints at the vehicle's potential and KTM's motorsport prowess. Should the Carbon Clear Glossy finish do nothing for you, the Austrian automaker will happily paint the GT-XR in your choice of Electronic Orange, Smoke Grey, or Pearl White Gloss. Custom colors are, of course, available for an unspecified cost.

The extraordinary shape allows the GT-XR to cut through the air with minimal resistance. Rear downforce comes courtesy of a carbon fiber rear wing, which is said to deliver plenty of stability at high speed. This new development is aided by all sorts of clever trickery, including a streamlined front end, and "a floor section designed to maximize ground effect." Naturally, there's a rear diffuser too.


However, the KTM's aerodynamic party piece has to be the AirCurtain system. The front spoiler creates vortices that are routed around the floor, which creates a seal of air beneath the vehicle, sucking it into the road.

KTM hasn't forgotten that this is a road car, and has included myriad features. Austere and focused it may be, but the cabin has creature comforts such as air-conditioning, power-assisted steering, and a rear-view camera. There's even a fully-integrated sound system with Bluetooth, should you tire of the raucous five-pot soundtrack.

It won't fill the role of the family SUV, but with 5.6 cubic feet of trunk space, the KTM GT-XR will easily swallow two (very small) overnight bags for an impromptu trip up the mountain. You won't have to worry about an excessive thirst for fuel, either. The Audi-sourced engine isn't exactly fuel efficient, but thanks to the lightweight construction and a massive 25.3-gallon gas tank, the automaker claims the GT-XR is capable of traveling up to 620 miles on a single tank.


We've saved the coolest bit for last. The electric canopy makes hopping in and out of the GT-XR an occasion, with a dramatic fighter jet-inspired design sure to turn heads. The canopy can be controlled via the remote and includes a soft-close function. The main point is safety; the company claims it can handle six times the weight of the car.

You're probably salivating at this point, wondering what the GT-XR costs. Well, you best have some deep pockets, because KTM requires €284,900 (approx $282,000) in return for its masterpiece. Even if you have that sort of money, don't expect to get your hands on one immediately. Approximately 100 X-Bow units leave the factory every year, which means anxious buyers will have to practice patience.

Still, it does seem to be worth the wait, and we're excited to see one carving down a tricky mountain pass in the coming months.


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