There are some cars that feature unique door concepts. And then there’s the KTM X-BOW GT-XR1. A super sportscar that has more in common with a jet fighter than with a conventional road vehicle, something that becomes clear as soon as you get behind the wheel. The fastest KTM on four wheels does not have any conventional doors. Instead, it features a kind of pilot’s cockpit, the electromechanical jet fighter canopy. It’s certainly a spectacular look for any KTM X-BOW GT-XR owner, but the automatically opening and closing canopy also offers a number of useful benefits in everyday use. What’s more, it’s also a core element of arguably the safest cockpit of any road-going vehicle.
1 Fuel consumption combined (WLTP): 9.1 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions combined (WLTP): 214 g/km, emissions classification: EURO 6D
Ultra-light and incredibly stable
The roof structure of the jet fighter canopy, combined with the carbon monocoque – both of which are made from high-strength, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre – makes the driver cell in the KTM X-BOW GT-XR one of the safest in any road car. The canopy's reinforced internal frame replaces the conventional roll cage used in motorsport. Official roof strength tests performed by testing institute TÜV Rheinland showed that the jet fighter canopy, which weighs just under 50 kilograms, was able to withstand a weight of 11 tonnes. This is more than seven times of the vehicle’s own gross weight. In the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) FMVSS 216a standard on roof thicknesses, the canopy has the highest possible resistance rating. If the car ends up on its roof, the driver can exit the canopy through openings built into the side of the canopy, which are comparable to side doors.
Getting in and out – with a wow factor
Despite its high level of durability, the jet fighter canopy offers all the benefits of a conventional car roof. “Our mission was to develop a roof structure that benefits performance on the race track while remaining as functional as possible for everyday driving,” explains Lukas Barth, Product Management Team Leader at KTM. “We are delighted with the result and have also created a wow effect at the same time.” The wow effect comes as soon as you see how the jet fighter canopy opens and closes. Powered by two powerful electric motors and controlled by an artistically designed lifting arm made by 3D printing, the roof hovers majestically and almost weightlessly over the super sportscar.
Thanks to the soft-close function, closing the system is a gentle affair. The canopy can be conveniently controlled by the car key, a button in the cockpit and external “door handles” on both sides. Passengers who leave something in the way of a closing canopy, or catch their hand in it, need not worry. The integrated anti-trap mechanism prevents the canopy from closing and damaging personal possessions or worse. A secondary emergency mechanism also allows the canopy to be opened manually. This emergency release is active when the vehicle is in use and is deactivated when the vehicle is locked.
Despite the aerodynamic narrow and flat form with minimal front surface compared to other super sportscars, the windscreen is made from genuine safety glass. “That was challenging for a number of reasons,” Barth continues. “We had to ensure that the view through the windscreen was perfectly clear, despite the curvature of the glass. Achieving this while keeping the glass stressless meant that we had to keep the windscreen convex-only. All concave elements are transferred to the carbon frame. These are the little details that made the development process as challenging as it was.” This allows the advantages of glass, which include high scratch resistance and an optimal view from the KTM X-BOW GT-XR cockpit, to be combined with the uncompromising performance of a super sportscar.
When it comes to ensuring an extensive view of the road or track ahead, the jet fighter canopy also offers another unrivalled advantage: optimal front and side visibility thanks to extremely narrow A pillars. And when you have to check what’s behind you, you can simply use the smart rear-view camera monitor system.
The new KTM X-BOW GT-XR can be ordered now and starts at €284,900 (plus country-specific taxes and import duties). By means of European small series approval, the vehicle is available and approved for street-legal use throughout Europe.