The KTM X-Bow offers eccentric looks and sharp handling but it's an expensive first effort from the motorcycle maker
What is it?
This is the AMD KTM X-Bow, a tuned version of the Austrian hardcore sports car. Now, the standard KTM X-Bow is a lovely car, but there are a couple of things we’d change. First, its exquisite carbon construction makes it very expensive. Second, it wouldn’t hurt it to have a bit more poke.
AMD Technik, Essex-based tuner of most things, and especially those with a Volkswagen engine (the KTM uses VW’s 2.0-litre turbo motor in tweaked Golf GTI form), aims to sort the second part with the AMD KTM X-Bow.
By changing the turbo (for the same as the Audi S3’s), the fuel pump and injectors, exhaust, intake manifold and ECU mapping, AMD has upped the power from 237bhp to 365bhp (restrained to a round 350bhp for our drive).
What’s it like?
In the dry, I’m sure the AMD KTM X-Bow is brilliant. On intermediate tyres, in pouring rain and across standing water through Paddock Hill bend at Brands Hatch, it’s mildly terrifying.
Certainly there is now no shortage of urge. The 790kg X-Bow feels (on a dowsed track) just as punchy as a supercharged Lotus 2-Eleven or a Caterham R500. Maybe even more so, because the turbo whooshes and fizzes power early in the range.
Delivery is still fairly progressive – it was the front tyres’ aversion to standing water, rather than the application of power, that gave the AMD KTM X-Bow most of its grip-related issues at Brands. The exhaust is much raspier, too.
Should I buy one?
Only go for it if you really want a more powerful KTM. The AMD mods add more than five grand to the KTM’s list price (variable because it’s in euros). In the dry I’ve no doubt they get the most from a fundamentally well sorted chassis. But I still feel a Lotus 2-Eleven does it better for less.