The X-Bow (pronounced crossbow) is a minimalistic, ultra-lightweight sports car developed by Austrian motorcycle builder KTM. Intended for the most hardcore of enthusiasts, the mid-engined X-Bow is essentially a racecar for the street complete with blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling and few creature comforts.
With jagged, angular body panels an exposed suspension and carbon fiber chassis, the X-Bow's aggressive looks hint at its explosive performance potential. Weight is kept to a minimum by means of a carbon fiber monocoque that incorporates a bolt-on carbon-fiber crash box up front and an aluminum subframe that carries the suspension and powertrain out back. Overall, the X-Bow checks in at about 1,800 pounds.
The Street is the "base model" of the X-Bow range, which also includes the X-Bow Clubsport and the X-Bow R. It is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter Audi inline-four that produces 240 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 5,500 rpm. That's enough to rocket the flyweight X-Bow from zero-to-60 mpg in under four seconds. The only available transmission is a traditional six-speed manual. A standard limited-slip differential helps to optimize traction in the rear-wheel-drive X-Bow.
The X-Bow's interior is a spartan affair with few concessions to comfort. A centrally-mounted screen contains speed and engine rpm information, while other cabin features include adjustable pedals, an adjustable and detachable steering wheel (which features buttons for the turn signals and headlights) and a keyless go system.
Potential buyers take note: the X-Bow comes with neither a windshield nor any manner of temporary roof panel to protect against the elements.
Looking for a small, lightweight performance car with almost no electronic devices to sully the connection between man and machine? Besides the X-Bow, options worth considering include the Ariel Atom 3, the Lotus Elise and, on the larger, more conventional end of the spectrum, the Mazda MX-5 Miata.