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❝ The X-Bow is more ‘karty’ than any road car in recent memory. It’s absolutely terrific ❞

∆ chassis because it’s more agile, as well it might be, given that the car weighs less than 600kg as standard. There are loads of seat, trim and weather gear options, and I’d be inclined to tick most of them, to make the Seven as usable as it can be for as much of the year as possible. I hadn’t driven a GT variant of the X-Bow before, but the car brought to us by Grant Smith, who bought it from KTM London in Tunbridge Wells (08448 099 943), is an immaculate example. This GT isn’t far from its 281bhp standard form, but there are about £5k of options on it, namely a bigger front splitter and the vast rear spoiler. Beyond that, Smith has made a few modifications himself. It has a £250


induction kit, which makes it a touch louder than standard, he has fitted an alarm and, having found the gearbox to be getting a touch warm on track days, which is primarily what the car is used for, he has fitted a blower near to it with a thermal switch. When it arrives, the X-Bow has its diddy hood in place; apparently it tries to fly off at cruising speeds. Smith has added strips of Velcro around the edge of the hood and the top of the windscreen, which means it now stays put for as long as you like. However, the X-Bow is better experienced with the hood down, at which point I can scarcely believe how little wind buffeting there is. The standard X-Bow is one of the world’s least refined cars because of

the buffeting, but with the screen in place, the problem all but disappears. I don’t think I’ve driven a convertible that does it better, in fact. Freed from the assault, it’s now much easier to focus on the things the KTM does well. Its ride is tight and composed and it steers beautifully: linearly, positively, with masses of feedback. I suspect this is improved by Smith’s fitment of sticky, trackfocused Toyo Proxes instead of the standard road-biased tyres. There’s still a little turbo lag, but the induction kit means the aural experience is less dominated by fizz and whoosh from the turbocharger. And the car corners incredibly keenly. There’s some progressiveness to the way it handles – bags of grip

is followed by an unsettling of the rear – and the X-Bow remains a car whose balance you’ve got to respect. It’s more ‘karty’ than any road car in recent memory, and in this specification it’s bang on; I enjoyed Smith’s X-Bow GT more than I’ve enjoyed any other KTM in the past. It’s absolutely terrific. And then there’s the Caterham, which does what Caterhams do, only at warp speed. The response of the supercharged 2.0-litre engine is brisker than the KTM’s, and its handling balance is more instantly adjustable for that reason. If you’re in the mid-range and above, any gear in the five-speed gearbox is plenty to adjust its line on the throttle. It steers brilliantly, too, although