Such excitement behind the release of the KTM X-Bow, isn’t there? Considering the rarity with which it’ll be seen and the likelihood that most people who catch a visual will be at the side of a racetrack, it’s easy to figure that KTM’s background in motorcycles and work with Audi on a car is part of the reason for the enthusiasm and hype.
And, as evo points out in issue 123, “The X-Bow is arguably the most extraordinary object with four wheels ever to be seen on a road”. So then, why did evo say on the cover of the magazine that the KTM X-Bow “misses the target”? The X-Bow, of all cars, is an evo sort of car, isn’t it?
“It’s seriously and effortlessly quick, properly stuck down, remarkably easy to drive and, well, strangely underwhelming,” writes David Vivian. Of the shifter, Vivian says “the throws are family-car long and feel incongruously ponderous in a superlight road racer”. Ah, there’s plenty positive, but if you were expecting rave reviews, KTM bosses, evo wasn’t the place to read. “… let things get too out of shape and the momentum of the engine will take over and you quickly discover there isn’t enough steering lock to gather it up. Yet – and for better or worse, this seems to be the X-Bow’s defining characteristic – the sense of drama and excitement is much less heightened.”
John Barker said that the X-Bow is “too good”. Well, to be honest, he explained it more thoroughly. “In terms of what it does and how it deals with different road surfaces, it’s outstanding. But,” he continued, “perhaps the baby has exited stage left along with the bath water. Cars like this are about excitement, a quick hit of adrenalin, and I think this is too good, disguises speed too well.”
Referring to the Ariel Atom Supercharged, a vehicle many would consider to be KTM’s natural progenitor, Vivian writes: “And this is the crucial difference between it and the KTM. The X-Bow’s manners are keen to flatter, all-but guaranteeing that your heart won’t end up in your mouth. The Atom, which has a more softly sprung and reactive chassis, forces you to face up to the consequences of ill-judged actions, makes you worry that a few millimetres too much throttle, a momentary lapse of steering finesse and failure to accurately read the road surface might be punishable with genuine danger.”
Thus, it sounds as though evo has made the KTM X-Bow out to be the Toyota Camry of the mad trackday cars. Well, the Camry that’s dressed like a mad trackday car capable of accelerating like nobody’s business and gripping the road like a newborn grips your finger.
One KTM X-Bow gallery can be seen with a click over to evo’s stats from issue 123. The other, found below, is of the KTM X-Bow race version.