The Volkswagen XL1 – Introduction to the Future of Motoring

Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche and current chairman of Volkswagen Group, seems like a man who likes to get things done. His work includes design work on the Le Mans-winning and record-setting Porsche 917, the iconic Audi Quattro and insisting on the development of the Bugatti Veyron. It’s easy to see, therefore, that he’s been rather ambitious over the years, but not content with developing some of the most iconic racing machines in the history of motorsport, he’s turned his attention the other way – towards building an extraordinarily efficient, yet practical machine for the road.

Enter the Volkswagen XL1. This sleek, futuristic car is the culmination of about ten years of development from Wolfsburg and is the third iteration in Volkswagen’s so-called “1-litre car” project. Like the previous iteration, the L1, the XL1 uses a parallel hybrid system using a 0.8L two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine producing 47 horsepower and an electric engine with 27 horsepower. All of this pushes a sleek, two-seat body weighing 795kg, made from carbon-fibre reinforced polymer.

The effect of all of this is astonishing. Despite being able to hit almost 100mph, and do so efficiently, the car still gets a reported 313mpg on the combined cycle and produces a mere 24g/km of carbon dioxide. This won’t come cheap, though – Top Gear Magazine reports that Volkswagen plan to make no more than about 6,000 XL1s a year, and at a cost of about £30,000. However, with the technology being more promising than most other hybrid systems, and being able to be transferred to other cars in Volkswagen’s range, you’d better believe that I’ll be keeping my eyes on this.