Volkswagen has announced the price for the energy-efficient XL1, which has now gone on sale in the UK. Only 200 VW XL1s will be built, with up to 30 making their way to deep-pocketed early adopters in the UK.
The XL1 was on show at last weekend’s 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed where it silently whirred up the hill in front of 50,000 spectators on Sunday. The car was designed to be a ‘one-litre car,’ meaning it was specced to gobble just one litre of fuel per 100km – equivalent to 282 miles per gallon. That’s the same as driving from London to Newcastle upon Tyne on one gallon.
But Volkswagen exceeded its target and the production XL1 is claimed to use 0.9 litres per 100km, or 313 miles per gallon on the combined cycle. Don’t expect to get there quickly though; 0-62mph takes 11.9 seconds and top speed is limited to 99mph.
VW XL1: the secrets of its efficiency
Volkswagen has designed the XL1 to be efficient from the ground up. The body is a teardrop shape and basic things like door mirrors have been replaced by small cameras, dubbed e-mirrors, to help achieve the extremely low drag coefficient of 0.189.
The Volkswagen XL1 is powered by a little two-cylinder 47bhp 800cc diesel engine assisted by a 26bhp electric motor which can be used in tandem, or separately, to move the 795kg car along. The electric motor alone is claimed to cover up to 50 miles on battery power alone.
Carbon dioxide emissions are down to 21g/km, meaning the XL1’s free from London’s congestion charge.
Volkswagen XL1: is it worth nearly £100,000?
The VW XL1’s starting price of £98,515 may appear steep. After all, BMW’s i8 costs £99,845 and numerous attractive sports cars fall within that price bracket.
But don’t forget the XL1’s role as a tech pioneer: it’s manufactured from composites, aluminium and other types of unobtanium – and will likely be bought by very early adopters, rather than the mass market. Charging nearly £100k for an eco Volkswagen is merely the price of progress.