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VW XL1 (2013) 314mpg eco-car heads for production

By Ollie Kew

First Official Pictures

26 February 2013 09:30

VW supremo Ferdinand Piech has kept his promise of putting the XL1 super-eco car into production. VW has confirmed the 313mpg XL1 will be built in limited numbers, around 50 of which are earmarked for UK sale. It's an expensive way to save money on fuel though: projected prices for the XL1 run into six figures.

Why is the VW XL1 so pricey?

Because an awful lot of R&D money has been invested in its decade-long inception, and thanks to the XL1's expensive carbonfibre construction. To reduce weight, the car's monocoque chassis and 1.2mm-thick body panels are carbon - the body weighs 230kg. The entire car tips the scales at 795kg.

The cabin seats two occupants, slightly offset to reduce the width of the car and cut drag. At 3888mm long, 1665mm wide and 1153mm tall, the XL1 is around the same length and width as a VW Polo supermini, but stands 129mm lower than a Porsche Boxster.

So, just how eco-friendly is the VW XL1?

Then headline 314mpg figure is brought about by the car's range-extender powertrain. Behind the cabin sits a 0.8-litre two-cylinder turbodiesel engine, developing 47bhp and sending drive via a seven-speed DSG gearbox to the rear wheels. There's also a 27bhp electric motor juiced by a 5.5kWh battery that you can charge from a regular mains socket.

Performance isn't as sluggish as you might think, given the XL1's low-consumption brief. VW claims the XL1 hits 62mph in 12.7sec and reaches a limited top speed of 99mph. That super-slippery body (the drag coeffecient is 0.189 - a world record) is thanks to features like a flat underbody, rear-view cameras instead of bulky mirrors  and faired-in rear wheels. 

Fill the tiny 10-litre fuel tank and VW claims the XL1 has a range of 310 miles, including 31 miles of electric motor power alone. CO2 emissions are a tiny 27g/km when the engine is running.

Any other VW XL1 info?

Aluminium suspension components and carbon ceramic disc brakes are also employed to save weight. And should you resolve to take your XL1 shopping, you'll find 120 litres of cargo space inside - for strictly lightweight purchases, naturally.