Volkswagen’s 261 MPGe XL1 Will Go Into Production

FEB 21 2013 BY JAY COLE 16

VW’s assault on the plug-in market continues with the announcement that the production-intent version of the  XL1  will make its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Nothing Says Pricey Like Gullwing Doors

Nothing Says Pricey Like Gullwing Doors

Volkswagen says that the XL1 will be most fuel-efficient car on the plant, with a UK rating of 313 MPG, or 261 MPGe here in the US, although the eventual US MPGe figure will be lower given the discrepancies between the EPA and the European NEDC testing system. 

Based on other vehicles rated on both systems, we can fairly accurate assess that the US efficiency number will be around 175 MPGe; still far and away ahead of the EPA’s current leader, the Scion iQ EV at 121 MPGe.

The futuristic looking 2 seater from VW has a plug-in hybrid power-train that comprises utilizes a .8L two-cylinder TDI diesel engine that puts out 47hp, and a 20kW electric motor, good for 27HP via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. 

XL1 Interior

XL1 Interior

The car’s two passengers sit slightly askew from each other due to the narrowness of the vehicle, and entry to the car is via ‘gullwing’ doors.

Helping the XL1 achieve it’s amazing efficiency is the small sizing of the car, as it is very, very small (just 65.5 inches wide and 45.5 inches tall), with a body made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer.  Aerodynamics of the car come in at a Cd rating of just 0.18.  Total weight?  1,753 pounds.

VW says that the top speed of the XL1 is 98 mph, and 0-62 mph comes up in 12.7 seconds.   Like other plug-in hybrids, the XL1 has the ability to travel using just electricity, for about 31 miles.

No pricing is yet available on the car, but production is expected to be very limited, so we estimate a price between $80,000-$95,000, and to look for VW to probably only lease the car.

On who would buy such a vehicle, project leader, Holger Boch said, “The people who buy it will be people who like technology and who like being seen in a low-CO2 car.”

We do not anticipate adding it to our monthly plug-in sales scorecard anytime soon.

Full XL1 gallery below (double click):


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16 Comments on "Volkswagen’s 261 MPGe XL1 Will Go Into Production"

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Please… no wheel-well covers. I know they are great for reducing drag but they make the cars so ugly nobody will buy them.

I’d buy them. Go to to see the extents folks go
to aero their car for 1-5 more mpg. I’ve scoured the world
– literally to find alloy wheels that were aero, light and affordable.
Besides “Mooneyes” – the lakester salt flat wheel
covers so stylish in the ’50s – there are really no options. Toyota
does showcar EVs and hybrids with great-looking aero wheels
with vents for brake cleaning and under-car air exit….Sadly
they don’t make production and we get mundane spokes and
In my mind, a flat, aero alloy cover is beautiful and functional,

I tracked down an aero wheel manufactured in the ’70s. They
just don’t exist anymore. In Japan, I found some aftermarket
Prius wheels that were dished in, but very aero – the price
would mean I would have to sell my firstborn!!!! 😮

I don’t like the laker-moon-eye covers because they round
outward and look dated on modern designs. Wheels like
Volt’s are not direction-specific, so all the hype about
them being designed in a wind tunnel are bogus – flip it
over and it has flat sides barking at the wind….Manufacturers
make wheels non-direction specific for cost reasons.

plz no wheel-well covers

Its the new look, also 12″ tires are coming back soon, its what the kids want.. I hope the covers are hinged, you pull on the bottom and they swing up and stay there for cleaning or tire replacement.

Future advertising campaign for this car:

“When you’re rich, and it’s way too cold to drive a motorcycle, we give you….the XL1”

$100k hypermiling vehicle…I couldn’t imagine a smaller niche market. They should top it off with a no HVAC version to really save weight/boost the mileage.

I’ve followed the development of this VW and it makes
the first versions of i3 and i8 showcars look…uhhh…practical!

It’s carbon composite construction and impractical elements
make it puff pastry in the EV or auto world. I predict it’ll
never make it to NA and if it does, expect huge costs
for a very impractical car.

If it does make it here – expect very little carbon fiber, a
bigger diesel, more conventional seating and nix
the gullwing doors. In other words – NOTHING like
what you see here.

Shades of the original Honda Insight and GM’s EV1. I think it’s kind of cool but I won’t be lining up to buy one.

Original Insight. I was thinking the same thing George.

“VW says that the top speed of the XL1 is 98 mph, and 0-62 mph comes up in 12.7 seconds. … the XL1 has the ability to travel using just electricity, for about 31 miles… we estimate a price between $80,000-$95,000…”

Ummm what? Is this a joke? Slower top speed than a Volt, slower 0-60, and less AER, but don’t worry, it’s double the cost!

I thought this was an Onion article at first.

Jay, is this real or photoshop magic. Looks like you blended an insight and ev1 together..

This is a joke article right?? $95, 000, why so cheap for the EV retro look?

Perhaps VW is attempting to get all the millionaire uber-nerds together in one place so they can destroy them.

Looks great – they should use normal materials, no exponentialy costraising carbon wing door flux-compensators. Would be a nice eco sport/funcar for sub 30k$.

Did the world really needed the Bugatti Veyron? No, but that didn’t stopped them to sell a few hundreds and make history on the way. Same story here.

Unfortunately, only leftist, bicyclist, environmentalists, like myself, want sensible cars. Most people want the suicidal, monstrosities they have always driven. We are doomed as a society. Our kids will pay for our greed, and stupidity.