It’s going to take something pretty extraordinary to beat the new Volkswagen XL1 in the Fuel Efficiency Wars. The futuristic two door boasts an incredible 261 MPG with a plug-in hybrid diesel powertrain, and perhaps even more amazingly, Volkswagen has announced this week that they will enter the XL1 into production.
Volkswagen haven’t said how many they’ll make or how much it will cost, but expect a pricetag well over $100,000 for the low-slung coupe that uses every new technology the company has to offer. The Volkswagen XL1 combines a curb weight of just 1,753 lbs., the lowest drag coefficient (Cd 0.19) ever in a production car, and a low center of gravity to almost literally slice through the air.
With all that aerodynamic goodness, very little strain is placed on the Volkswagen XL1 powertrain system. A 1.0L, two-cylinder TDI engine needs only 47 horsepower and is matched to a 27-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion battery.
At its most efficient, the XL1 can be driven for up to 32 miles on pure electric power alone. At their fastest, they can bring the Volkswagen XL1 from 0-60mph in 12.7 seconds with a top speed of 99mph. Not exactly blinding speed, but for a car that’s five times better efficiency than the feared 2025 CAFE mandate of 54.5 MPG, it’s downright IndyCar fast.
Space is tight inside the gullwinged-coupe, with passenger seats slightly staggered to fit inside the cockpit. There is also no rear window, so say goodbye to visibility. Still, expect buyers to rush to the Volkswagen XL1 if for no other reason than to reward VW for reaching their lofty goals, and to own a piece of history.
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