Nitrous boosted KTM X-Bow vs McLaren Elva vs Hyundai Ioniq 5 N drag race

Estimated read time 4 min read

Who needs windows anyway? That was the theory when McLaren decided to lop the roof and windscreen off the Elva – a car inspired by Bruce McLaren’s open-top race cars from the 1960s.

Same story over at KTM. It wanted a car to match the experience of riding a motorbike… with a seat. It too features minimal roofing and windows in lieu of a ridiculously fast vehicle that delivers that ‘wind in the hair’ experience. This one is a little bit more special though – more on that shortly.

We’re going to go drag racing with these two to figure out which is quickest. The quickest will then go up against the Korean missile – the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.

Last time we went head-to-head with an 1800hp muscle car and the Hyundai reigned supreme. So let’s see how it goes today.

Thanks again to Hyundai for helping cover the cost of putting this series together – it’s MEGA expensive to do, so without support it wouldn’t have happened, you can read more about that here.

The cars

The McLaren Elva is the fifth car in the McLaren Ultimate Series – it follows the F1, P1, Senna and Speedtail, and aims to deliver ridiculous performance in a unique body with a limited production run of just 149 units globally.

Priced at just over $2.5 million when new, the Elva is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 that produces 600kW of power and 800Nm of torque. It’s an absolute weapon that claims to go from 0-100km/h in under 3.0 seconds.

It has a top speed of 328km/h (how that’s even humanly possible with a human behind the wheel is beyond me) and weighs around 1200kg (the power to weight is insane).

It’s going head-to-head with the KTM X-Bow. But it’s not any KTM X-Bow – this one has an engine upgrade that comes courtesy of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine from a Volkswagen Golf R.

While the Golf R sends torque through four wheels, this KTM X-Bow is rear-wheel drive and also has a little extra oomph thanks to a tank of nitrous – just because it wasn’t powerful enough already.

It makes 350kW of power (470hp) and weighs just 900kg. Unlike the McLaren, which uses an automatic transmission, the KTM has a manual gearbox.

The attainable challenger

Priced from $111,000 before on-road costs, the fully electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 N uses a dual-motor all-wheel drive electric powertrain producing 448kW of power and 740Nm of torque.

Those outputs increase to 478kW and 770Nm with the N Grin Boost function – which can be mated to the launch control function as well. It has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds with the N Grin Boost function active.

It also has a bunch of other functions like the ability to destroy tyres, make engine sounds, and even pulse fictional gear shifts to make it feel like an internal-combustion car with a DCT.

The results

Before we jump into the results, I cannot tell you how insane the feeling of doing 240km/h with no roof or windscreen is.

You’re constantly eating all manner of bugs, while the car – and your head – is moving around with cross winds. It’s just crazy.

Also crazy is the McLaren’s acceleration. It weighs just 1200kg and has 600kW of power. The accelerates like you wouldn’t believe and is constantly fighting for traction.

Likewise the KTM, when it hooks up it goes; but before that, it’s constantly grappling for grip as the engine is feeding torque through the driveline with the constant addition of nitrous through the rev band.

Vehicle 0-100km/h 80-120km/h 1/4 mile 0-200km/h
McLaren Elva 3.80s 1.66s 10.71s @ 232.08km/h 8.45s
KTM X-Bow 4.39s 2.27s 11.90s @ 190.61km/h
Hyundai Ioniq 5 N 3.52s 1.86s 11.32s @ 195.92km/h

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