Audi Powers the KTM X-Bow

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April 12, 2007

By: Kris Hansen

Austrian motorcycle company KTM unveiled its all new, street legal (in Europe) X-BOW at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. This machine is very exciting, especially given KTM’s “Ready To Race” philosophy and long running history of producing ultra-high quality motorcycles, and this is the manufacturer’s first attempt at developing a car. What makes this car topical to Audi fans is the Audi-supplied 2.0 TFSI powerplant nestled in the rear.

The Engine: TFSI Technology from Audi

KTM partnered with Audi AG to develop the drivetrain for the X-Bow. The four cylinder TFSI engine mirrors the X-Bow’s engineering philosophy perfectly by featuring lightweight, high-performance and intelligent technologies. The FSI direct injection technology is at the forefront of fuel injection systems and in this case it’s combined with a turbocharger plus aftercooler.

Thanks to FSI the engine utilizes fuel better than competitive powerplants with ordinary intake manifold injection. Put simply that means that this engine gets by on less fuel, providing greater range and cost efficiency. The fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber at between 435 and 1600 PSI. At the same time valves in the intake system create a beneficial swirl pattern in the pressurized charge air as it enters the combustion chamber. The continuously variable intake camshaft ensures optimal cylinder charging at any engine rpm. A pair of balance shafts work together for a quiet, low-vibration operation.

The KTM X-Bow’s long-stroke, four-valve per cylinder Audi engine makes great power: 221 lb/ft of torque peaks at a level between 2200 and 4000 rpm. The peak performance of 220 horsepower is achieved at 5900 rpm. A more powerful engine (somewhere in the 300-horsepower range) is planned down the road.

The power makes its way to the rear wheels via a manual 6-speed conventioal shift transmission, which is also made by Audi and can be equipped with a limited-slip differential if so desired. An optional S tronic (nee DSG) transmission will also be offered later on in production.

KTM also partnered with reknowned chassis builder Dallara on this car, as well as some existing KTM partners such as WP suspension and Brembo brakes.

Depending upon the public reaction to the X-Bow, KTM is considering extending the the X-Bow concept into small-series production. This small-series production would take place in Austria beginning in 2008 and consist of annual production of between 500 and 1000 vehicles. Meanwhile, an efficient distribution structure would also still need to be established. The plan includes a network of around 15 to 20 dealers throughout Europe who not only have experience in motorsports, but also a connection to the Volkswagen network.

A decision will be made whether to begin low volume production of the KTM X-Bow by the end of this month.

KTM expects to import some X-Bows into the USA as offroad-only toys. There is no roof, no windshield and no luggage room, but somehow we don’t think any potential owners of the KTM X-bow will care much about those small details.

If KTM does import the X-Bow we imagine it being the ultimate track day car or autocross competitor. Either way it certainly wouldn’t be street legal out of the box. Stay tuned!


  • KTM X-Bow Photo Gallery
  • Complete 2007 Geneva Motor Show Coverage
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