The upcoming 2011 KTM X-Bow R delivers everything you expect from a real sports car. Equipped with a powerful, yet compact engine made by Audi, the vehicle is as agile as a mosquito, and looks as sexy as a Japanese superbike. So far, its only problem seems to be excessive curb weight that makes this car less competitive when compared to some other vehicles designed with truck day enthusiasts in mind. Well, I hope that at least the next iteration of the Crossbow will come with a more inspiring engine that will allow to make its power to weight ratio look more compelling.
Although initially announced more than three years ago, the 2008 KTM X-Bow R has never seen the road. Blame the financial crisis for that. Now, it seems that the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer is actually going to start producing the feather light street legal race car.
At this time, judging by KTM’s web-site, you can order one of five versions of the X-Bow: Street, Clubsport, Superlight, GT4 and ROC. All versions of the car sport the same 2.0-liter 240hp / 310 Nm four-cylinders Audi TFSI engine and tip the scales at roughly 800kg (give or take 15 kilos depending on a particular model.)
Weighing around 790 kilos, the 2011 KTM X-Bow R will feature the Audi S3-outsourced four-banger, but its maximum power will peak at more impressive 300hp.
Of course, even with this power boost, the X-Bow R still sucks a great deal when compared either to the Caterham Superlight R500 or the dirt-cheap Ariel Atom 3.
Its main problem is not only lack of horses under its carbon fiber hood (the Atom 3’s most powerful engine produces the same 300bhp of raw power and the Caterham R500 is even less powerful with its 263bhp 2.0-liter Duratec engine,) but its abundance of weight. While the Atom 3 sports as low as 2.1 kg per bhp and the R500 is rated at 1.92 kg per bhp, the Austrian toy loads 2.63 kilos on each of its German horses.
This high power-to-weight ratio not only hurts the vehicle’s dynamics, making it slower to start and longer to break, but also makes cornering a lot more difficult job with each of the extra 300 kilos trying to pull you out from the road and into a ditch.
KTM tried to address this issue with new engine setup that makes it sit “considerably” lower, but I am afraid that the only real solution of the problem lies under the hood of the Audi R8 V10 supercar.
The KTM X-Bow R will be available with a pair of additional customization packages: a street-legal “Sport” and a track-oriented “Race.” Although some of the parts included in both packages will be available with the older versions of the car via KTM’s PowerParts program, the rest of them will be reserved exclusively for the “R.”
So far, it is not clear whether the car will be offered in the U.S. However, if you have a KTM dealership in your town, there is a good chance that they will be able to ship one of this on order. Price is yet to be revealed.
See also: KTM X-Bow (Crossbow) to debut in Geneva