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2009 KTM X-Bow New Lineup Review

March 2009
Filed under: KTM Car News | KTM Headlines
The production version of the KTM X-BOW is celebrating its first birthday. Exactly one year ago, the production version of the KTM X-BOW made its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. To the rapturous applause of media and innumerable prospective buyers, who had given an enthusiastic welcome to the prototype unveiled one year earlier, it was confirmed that practically no changes had been made to the original design. The X-BOW had lost nothing of its radical nature, purist ethos or innovative technology on the way to series production.

Less than two and a half years had passed between the conception of the initial visionary idea by KTM CEO Stefan Pierer and KISKA CEO Gerald Kiska in the autumn of 2005 and the launch of the production model in the spring of 2008 in Geneva. Just six months later, the first customer KTM X-BOW was handed over to a very proud owner in the newly-built manufacturing plant in Graz. Such was the speed of KTM's timescale for the creation of a radical new automobile that even the most optimistic would have found it hard to believe. It was a schedule only made possible by close collaboration with partners such as Dallara and Audi and, more than anything else, by the wholehearted commitment of KTM's employees.

Almost 250 KTM X-BOWs were delivered to customers in the first six months of production and the order book stands at around 400 units. Meanwhile, KTM has moved away from the original plan to sell about 1,000 units per year. "Naturally, the general economic situation not only affects the large car manufacturers", explains KTM CEO Stefan Pierer. "We are also sensing the hesitance to buy that is currently demonstrated by many prospective buyers, both in the motorcycle market as well as with the X-BOW. We have an extremely lean manufacturing structure and can react very quickly to changes in circumstances. Adjusting our sales target from 1,000 units per year to around 600 is an acknowledgement of the current situation. However, at the same time we are intensifying our efforts in the X-BOW field, extending the model cycle and making significant improvements to our service partner network. Furthermore, we are providing an extremely attractive model line-up for 2009 that offers the appropriate vehicle for every prospective buyer's needs at very attractive prices. Moreover, we want customers and potential customers to form an even closer bond with the KTM brand by participating in the X-BOW Trophy and the RaceOrange program as well as by buying our special PowerParts and PowerWear products," concludes Pierer.

KTM is starting the 2009 model year by exhibiting five different X-BOW models at the 79th Geneva Motor Show together with many more new products; from the attractively priced entry-level model, the X-BOW Street (€49.980*), and the X-BOW Clubsport, at €59.980* the perfect entry-level model for the racetrack, to the FIA-homologated race vehicle for professionals, the X-BOW GT4 (€82.900 plus national taxes and import duties). The 2009 range now also includes a further two attractive models: the X-BOW Superlight features all available technologies and radical lightweight construction, and the limited-edition X-BOW ROC, produced in homage to KTM's participation in the most prestigious motorsport event of the year, the '˜Race of Champions'. The ROC model is celebrating its world premiere at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, together with the new X-BOW Street.

In addition, KTM will be providing information on the X-BOW Trophy 2009, the extensive, spectacular RaceOrange program and the PowerParts and PowerWear collections created especially for the X-BOW.

With its aggressive design and immense sporting potential, the X-BOW is a milestone in 50-year history of the KTM brand. At the same time it represents a new benchmark in the small but elite segment of radical lightweight sportscars. This exceptional achievement is the result of its highly original design concept and the fact that for its first car, KTM employed the finest materials, advanced technology and the know-how of respected development partners. The result is a street-homologated sportscar with pedigree motorsport technologies '“ including a cutting edge monocoque made from carbon fibre, identical to those that have become standard in modern Formula 1, for example, because of its weight and safety advantages.

Thanks to the car's light weight and the 177 kW (240 hp) Audi 2.0 TFSI engine, the KTM X-BOW sets new performance standards and outstrips even far more powerful sportscars. Weighing in at around 790 kilograms, it accelerates from a standing start to 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds. At the same time, low fuel consumption (7.9 litres/100 km) and exhaust emissions (187.23 g/km) rival those of powerful compact cars.

But the X-BOW isn't just a racing machine, even if it does achieve spectacular performance on the race track. With its modern technologies and exceptional dynamics, it's also oriented towards sporty drivers who seek a purist driving experience on the road. By foregoing electronic assistance and extraneous, heavy comfort features, the X-BOW offers an unfiltered driving adventure. This is made possible by the double wishbone suspension front and rear, the exposed mechanical components and the unadulterated concept that leaves the X-BOW without a roof, doors or a windscreen. The sportscar's only concession is a 70 mm high, transparent wind deflector. So driving the KTM X-BOW becomes an experience with an immediacy that otherwise can only be felt when riding a motorbike or driving a single-seater racing car.

For the 2009 model year, there is a new X-BOW product line-up '“ with ownership of the new sportscar phenomenon from KTM starting at only 49,980 Euros (plus national taxes and import duties) for the X-BOW Street that, even with its basic configuration, offers the absolute maximum in driving pleasure.

The Street series features in detail
- Carbon fibre monocoque with crash box, both in clear coat finish
- Audi 2.0 TFSI engine with direct fuel injection and 177 kW (240 hp)
- Smooth racing underbody, front splitter and rear diffuser in aluminium composite
- Individually adjustable pedals and adjustable multi-function steering wheel
- '˜Keyless Go' system
- Lacquered alloy wheel rims
- Four-point safety harness

Factory-fitted special options are also available: a removable steering wheel, limited-slip differential or street-homologated semi-slick tyres '“ and of course a wide selection of KTM PowerParts.

When KTM CEO Stefan Pierer and designer Gerald Kiska had the idea for their first four-wheeled vehicle, the objective was soon clear. It stemmed from KTM's company philosophy, which demanded that the X-BOW be a true '˜Ready to Race' product. The revolutionary supersport car had to be equally at home in all driving situations, whether on the road or on the racetrack. As a result, the best specialist partner was selected to turn the radical idea into a reality: Dallara. The famous Italian motorsport and supersport car manufacturer has been victorious with its designs in practically every leading race series around the world. KTM and Dallara defined the key performance targets; and with lateral acceleration of 1.5 g and downforce of around 200 kilograms at 200 km/h, the objective was to set new performance records for production vehicles approved for use on the road.

Naturally, all these requirements were met and the KTM X-BOW Clubsport has proven this to amateurs and professionals alike, both on and off the racetrack. And now there is a special X-BOW, tuned to the needs of all those drivers who enjoy a regular outing on the race circuit. The Clubsport model perfectly combines approval for road use with advanced features for the racetrack. Above all, with regard to safety, it raises the bar on the already-unrivalled standard. The chassis, which already employs formula racing technology with its adjustable shock absorbers (including preload adjusters) in a pushrod arrangement, now offers even greater fine tuning options for ambitious amateur racers and semi-professionals alike, with adjustable stabilisers and pushrods.

But above all, for 59,980 Euros (plus national taxes and import duties), the X-BOW Clubsport offers its owners safety technology from GT motorsport, raising the extremely high level of safety provided by the monocoque even further in several ways. The rollover bars are made from steel and the front rollover protection structure of the monocoque is further enhanced. Side '˜protection drops' have been added, which prevent the wheels of other vehicles becoming entangled, along with a six-point safety harness, emergency stop switch, racing head supports, a fire extinguisher and a dry battery.

Standard Clubsport equipment in detail:
- Carbon fibre racing monocoque with crash box made from visible carbon fibre
- Audi 2.0 TFSI engine with direct fuel injection
- Mechanical limited-slip differential
- Racing underbody and rear diffuser in aluminium composite and carbon fibre front splitter
- Performance suspension with adjustable rebound and compression damping and preload adjuster
- Adjustable pushrods and anti-roll bars front and rear
- Lateral crash guards and steel rollover bar
- Six-point safety harness, racing head supports, steel towing eyes
- Main power kill switch, hand-held fire extinguisher and dry battery
- Individually adjustable pedals
- Adjustable and removable multi-function steering wheel

Weight reduces performance and detracts from the pleasure of driving. That's why you won't find many of the conventional '˜comfort features' in the KTM-X-BOW. The radical construction, without a roof or windscreen, and the omission of air-conditioning and an entertainment system, are all intended to focus the user's concentration on a driving experience that is so pure as to be similar to that of a motorbike. But that's not all: for the first time ever in the history of series-production cars, a chassis made completely of carbon fibre '“ or to be more precise, a carbon fibre monocoque '“ has been employed.

For many years this chassis technology has formed the '˜safety net' in Formula 1 and other single-seater racing formulae, but on the road there have been only a very small number of supersports cars in the very highest price category that have used a carbon fibre monocoque. KTM is proud to be the first company to offer this chassis technology in an affordable form. Together with racing and sportscar manufacturer, Dallara, and carbon fibre specialist, Wethje, the Austrian company has made the lightweight X-BOW a reality.

Carbon fibre, the high-tech material from aerospace and Formula 1, opens up completely new possibilities for sportscar construction that have been extensively exploited in the X-BOW's construction. It combines an incomparably strong structure '“ 35,000 Nm/o despite the open cockpit '“ with extremely low weight (the complete carbon composite monocoque weighs only 90 kilograms) and unrivalled safety. The X-BOW's high-strength survival cell satisfied the stringent demands of the FIA crash tests right from the start.

As the X-BOW Superlight model, this unique sportscar from KTM displays its motorsport-derived technology for all to see. Added to the advanced monocoque, to which is mounted a carbon crash box and inboard pushrod suspension, are the black body panels of visible carbon fibre that give the Superlight its unique, technoid appearance. The flagship model in the X-BOW line-up is comprehensively equipped. For 79,980 Euros (plus national taxes and import duties) this model comes complete with limited-slip differential, lightweight alloy wheels with a single central wheel nut, lap timer and much, much more.

The Superlight series features in detail:
- Carbon fibre monocoque with crash box in clear coat finish
- Audi 2.0 TFSI engine with direct fuel injection and 177 kW (240 hp)
- Smooth racing underbody, front splitter and rear diffuser in carbon composite
- Body panels and wheel covers in carbon fibre
- Individually adjustable pedals
- Adjustable and removable multi-function steering wheel
- '˜Keyless Go' system
- Performance suspension, with adjustable compression and rebound rates, and with preload-adjuster
- Limited-slip differential
- Lacquered light-alloy wheels with single central wheel nut

Motorsport ranks very highly at KTM '“ there's a valid reason behind the company motto '˜Ready to Race'. No wonder that at the same time as planning for series production of the X-BOW, preparations were already being made for deploying the company's first sportscar on the racetrack. As with the standard production vehicle, KTM relied heavily on the extensive experience of Dallara in developing the X-BOW GT4. The racing car was tested for the first time as early as February 2008. The official debut followed in March, along with the compulsory FIA crash test, which was passed at the first attempt. In April, the X-BOW competed in its first official race '“ the legendary '˜Tourist Trophy' at Silverstone '“ not only winning the Super Sport category, but also gaining a place in the top five overall, first time out. Long before the first series X-BOW road cars left the production line, KTM had already registered success on the track. The company could rightly claim that the X-BOW was born on the racetrack and, of course, it adopted important insights from this motorsport involvement into the standard production model. After the successful curtain-raiser at Silverstone, the good results kept coming. The first podium finish followed only a few weeks later with a third in the GT4 overall placings. In the final race of the 2008 season at Nogaro, the X-BOW also earned its first pole position '“ ahead of all other (more powerful) GT4 vehicles. Victory in the Super Sport class had already long been assured; the first three places were taken by three KTM drivers (Christopher Haase, Dennis Retera and Catharina Felser).

Since the beginning of January 2009, KTM has been passing on this successful motorsport technology to its customers. The X-BOW GT4 costs a modest 82,900 Euros (plus national taxes and import duties), while at the same time satisfying the strictest safety requirements. For example, the standard high-strength aluminium rollover bars fitted to the road car are replaced with steel, and the flanks of the vehicle are protected against penetration by particularly sharp objects with an extra layer of Kevlar. Additional special side-impact protection has been mounted between the front and rear wheels to prevent the wheels of other vehicles becoming entangled. The KTM X-BOW GT4 fulfilled FIA crash regulations according to Article 258a at the first attempt and therefore boasts the same safety standards as dedicated open wheel and ALMS vehicles. A 70-litre safety fuel tank, with filler openings on both sides for rapid refuelling, guarantees short turnaround times at pit stops. In addition, the X-BOW GT4 has been fitted with a racing exhaust system, special aerodynamic bumpers and headlight covers, as well as a retuned chassis with adjustable anti-roll bars and pushrods, front and rear.

However, the X-BOW GT4 offers even more advantages over its road-approved standard production variant: above all, the modular superstructure, which allows the vehicle to be repaired as flexibly as a construction kit. In the event of an accident '“ as long as the monocoque remains undamaged and the mounting points are not deformed '“ damaged parts can be replaced in a matter of minutes, normally leaving the X-BOW '˜Ready to Race' again in record time. This '˜modularity' naturally reduces the running costs '“ so important in motor racing. Another important factor in cost reduction is the 240hp TFSI engine from Audi. The two litre unit with turbocharger is not only reliable, it is also extremely economical. Thanks to its modern petrol direct-injection system, the most efficient drive technology currently available that has already proven a great success in the long-distance classic at Le Mans, X-BOW drivers can now also benefit from fewer and shorter pit stops.

Standard equipment in detail:
- Carbon fibre racing monocoque with crash box
- Audi 2.0 TFSI engine with direct fuel injection and 177 kW (240 hp)
- Smooth racing underbody, front splitter and rear diffuser in carbon composite
- Carbon fibre body panels and aerodynamically optimised wheel covers
- Carbon fibre side guards and rear bumper
- Six-point safety harness, steel roll-over bar, racing head guard
- Ignition master switch, fire extinguisher system and steel towing eyes
- Individually adjustable pedals
- Adjustable and removable multi-function steering wheel
- Racing suspension with adjustable pushrods
- Limited-slip differential
- Dry battery

An air-jack system is also available as a factory-fitted option for fast and simple lifting of the vehicle during pit stops.

The '˜Race of Champions' is the crowning highlight of every motorsports year, with the world's best racing and rally drivers at the wheel of different vehicles in exciting head-to-head races infront of thousands of thrilled motorsports fans. Legendary drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Loeb, Tom Kristensen and Matthias Ekström were among those participating in the December 2008 event at London's Wembley Stadium, which also marked the first appearance of the KTM X-BOW.

The organisers, in particular rally legend Michelle Mouton, were fascinated by the revolutionary, lightweight supersports car from Austria. "The X-BOW is an exciting new sportscar '“ it generates an incredible furore with its spectacular design alone," said Mouton, the most successful and best-known female rally driver of all time. And the participating racing drivers were all unanimous in their enthusiasm for the X-BOW. Formula 1 legend David Coulthard commented, "It's an ingenious car concept that also looks quite simply unique." Sebastian Vettel enthused that "Driving the KTM X-BOW is incredible fun," while multiple world rally champion Sebastien Loeb called it simply "a great car!"

Everyone at the young car manufacturer is extremely proud of the X-BOW's performance at the Race of Champions; so much so, it was logical that a special limited-edition series, named '˜Race of Champions', or ROC for short, should be produced. Unique details featuring on the series of 30 units include: exclusive ROC design on the body panels and the weight-saving all-carbon body; the sports exhaust which attracts special attention with its deep sound; specially painted light-weight alloy wheels with a central wheel nut; adjustable sports suspension; and a removable multi-function steering wheel. The price for the ultimate supersports car of champions is 69,980 Euros (plus national taxes and import duties).

The ROC series features in detail
- Carbon fibre monocoque with crash box in clear coat finish
- Audi 2.0 TFSI engine with direct fuel injection
- Smooth racing underbody, front splitter and rear diffuser in carbon composite
- Body panels and wheel covers in carbon fibre
- Exclusive paintwork in ROC design
- Individually adjustable pedals
- Adjustable and removable multi-function steering wheel
- '˜Keyless Go' system
- Performance suspension, with adjustable compression and rebound rates, and with preload-adjuster
- Limited-slip differential
- Lacquered light-alloy wheels with central wheel nut in ROC design
- Plus: Schuberth helmet and X-BOW indoor cover

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