Rare Volkswagen XL-1 Sighting – Video


Volkswagen wanted to build the most efficient car possible with the technology of the time. Its economy is still impressive.

At a price of 110,000 euros ($150,000 at that period’s exchange rates) and a limited run of 200 units, the Volkswagen XL1 never amounted to more than a curiosity in the plug-in car segment. Seeing one on the road is a rare experience, and the lozenge-shaped coupe doesn’t look out of place driving with a fleet of Porsches and Ferraris in this video.


The XL1 was a supercar, but instead of focusing on speed, the emphasis was on efficiency.

The little two-seater achieved still-astounding fuel efficiency of 261 miles per gallon US. The plug-in hybrid combined a two-cylinder diesel engine making just 47 horsepower (35 kilowatts) and an electric motor with 27 hp (20 kW). A 5.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-hour battery provided power for the system and allowed for an electric-only range of 31 miles (50 km)

VW built each XL1 by hand. Exotic materials like ceramic brake discs and a carbon fiber body kept the weight down to 1,753 pounds (795 kilograms). To reduce drag, the designers used a teardrop shape with an exterior that tapered inward toward the rear.

The emphasis on economy didn’t allow for neck-snapping performance on the road. The sprint to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) required a sluggish 12.7 seconds, and a speed limiter only allowed the XL1 to reach 99.4 mph (160 kph)

The XL1 remains pricey on the second-hand market. For example, a VW dealer in Newcastle, England, has had one for sale for 99,999 pounds ($133,000) for several months. The car has covered just 10 miles (16 kilometers) since new.

Rumors around the time of the XL1’s release pointed to the possibility of a sporty version called the XL Sport. It would have used a Ducati-sourced 1.2-liter twin with 188 hp (140 kW) and 91 lb-ft (123 Nm).

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Source: Automotive Mike via YouTube

Categories: Volkswagen


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12 Comments on "Rare Volkswagen XL-1 Sighting – Video"

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Fascinating vehicle…Few interesting tidbits:
Engineers were upset VW Exec mandated the use of the not-aero-friendly standard VW emblems…
Had to a have a center gap in the taillight to be legal…
One of the few vehicles that comes with cameras instead of mirrors, illegal in most countries but is legal in Germany…

The question all ev enthusiasts are wondering is…¿What could achieve de XL-1 if we remove the engine and refill the chassis only with batteries?

Another VW Big Flop…

What great advances they have made in 4 years. Not!

Yeah. A shame they didn’t do it as a full EV. On the plus side, it probably is their least filthy diesel. 🙂

+1L 😉

The XL1 is the most extreme example of engineering for a specific end in a production, street-legal car that I’ve ever read about. And that’s being rather generous about the term “production car”, as only 250 units were made.

Everything in this car was sacrificed for extreme fuel efficiency. Reviews say that the car has loud engine noise inside, the ride is rough and uncomfortable, and the two seats are significantly offset, with the passenger’s seat moved several inches farther back than the driver’s seat, preventing normal two-way conversation between those sitting in the seats.

Mr. Google says the car does have an “electric air-con/heater” which I suppose means a heat pump for cabin heating and cooling; but I’m not even sure it has such “luxuries” as a radio.

It’s an interesting example of extreme engineering, but it seems to me you’d have to be a masochist to use one as your daily driver!

The VW XL1 was a concept shoebox designed to impress the media. Nothing more.
It’s uncomfortable, impractical, slow, expensive, and doesn’t even achieve the claimed performance.

The 1L/100km (256mpg) figure which gives the car it’s name is achieved using the NEDC plug-in hybrid test cycle score, and is not representative of the actual consumption. (it’s a broken measurement system under which the Volt achieves 1,2L/100km)

In addition, the hybrid engine uses a VW diesel ice part and was the height of VW’s marketing push for “clean” diesels right before the dieselgate scandal.

None of the XL1’s core ideas was usable in real cars.
This car was a pure PR stunt.

2 seats and you can’t roll down the driver window to order your starbucks? It will never sell even for $10 bucks.

In time, they’ll end up in science museums.

And I’m sure Jay Leno will have one.

That is one ugly looking car! Geesh!?

It’s interesting as an engineering challenge but I don’t see the point. For less money on could buy a Model S and for a LOT less money one can buy a Bolt. Either one would be far more practical and fun to drive than that VW monstrosity.