KTM X-Bow GT | Spotted

KTM launched the X-Bow at the Geneva show in 2008. It made an immediate impression. The Austrian bike manufacturer had a reputation for doing things right, and the car it developed in conjunction with Italian chassis maker Dallara was no exception. Perhaps it wasn't everyone's cup of tea - the Audi-donated turbocharged 2.0-litre unit isn't necessarily the engine you'd choose for a track car - but it's built around a carbon-fibre tub, makes a Caterham 7 look positively staid and is as potent as its sub 800kg kerbweight suggests.

It is also, in the finest tradition of its 'ready to race' mantra, remarkably uncompromising. The original X-Bow had no windscreen, no windows, no doors and practically no creature comforts beyond its race seats. Not exactly unheard of in the ultra-lightweight genre (the clamber over the sills to get in is certainly familiar from elsewhere) but a few years of customer feedback probably made it clear to KTM that a modicum more usability would go a long way.

Consequently, in 2013, it delivered the GT version. Granted, it's hard to think of an occasion where those letters were applied so loosely, but the manufacturer had duly delivered a way of keeping the airflow from its owners' eyelids. The solution, naturally enough, was to return the windscreen and (sort of) doors it had opted to exclude the first time around. Except of course 'return' is the wrong word because KTM had to gently re-engineer the car to accept the new components.

The resulting glasshouse is not what you'd call easy on the eye. And the new A pillars are said to impinge on the driver's ability to clearly see the front wheels. But the additions were as well-built as the structure they were mounted to, and saved its occupants the bother of wearing full face helmets. There was more, too. The GT featured a heater, some novel luggage solutions and - incredibly - a roof, which did nothing to reduce the mild silliness of the car's appearance, but kept the rain out once the usual zip and strap-based torture was overcome.

KTM even went to the trouble of tweaking the powertrain for better drivability; modestly lowering the R's output to 285hp while introducing a little more torque sooner. All the effort inevitably came at a cost to the model's kerbweight - the GT gaining 57kg over glass-less versions - but the buyers finally gained a X-Bow better suited to real-world perils of road driving.

Just how many took advantage of the option is hard to say, although our advertiser's suggestion that today's Spotted accounts for one of just two GTs in the UK suggests that the factory was not overwhelmed by demand. (If the claim is accurate, it would appear the 'other' car is for sale on PH at the moment as well.) Regardless, the comfort-orientated X-Bow proved no less idiosyncratic than the original, and remains a testament to KTM's meticulous, if quirky, way of doing things. Worth the plunge at Β£58k? Well, that's for you to decide...

Engine: 1,984cc, 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 285@6,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 310@3,200rpm
MPG: 34.0
CO2: 189g/km
First registered: 2015
Recorded mileage: 5,000
Price new: Β£73,000
Yours for: Β£57,995

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Comments (16) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sidesauce 22 Aug 2019

    It may drive really well but Jesus, that's ugly!!!!

  • thelostboy 22 Aug 2019

    Looks far better in standard form. Same as when people ruin Atoms with wings. Purer is better!

  • cookie1600 22 Aug 2019

    "Think the standard X-Bow a bit too windy? The GT4 version is for you..."

    £22k more, but oh my goodness it looks worth every penny of that extra!


    Edited by cookie1600 on Thursday 22 August 10:08

  • Dave Hedgehog 22 Aug 2019

    cookie1600 said:
    "Think the standard X-Bow a bit too windy? The GT4 version is for you...

    £22k more, but of my goodness it looks worth every penny of that extra!
    definitely the way to do

    the article does not help in that the first picture is absolutely the worst possible angle to take a wide angle shot of that screen

  • TartanPaint 22 Aug 2019


    It didn't work on the Zenos. It doesn't work on the x-bow.

    Just stick a bloody helmet on if you're a bit chilly.

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