Volkswagen XL1

You’re looking at what will be the world’s most fuel-efficient and most aerodynamic production car when it hits the streets – the Volkswagen XL1. It’s been officially confirmed for production, with the production-ready car scheduled to appear at next month’s Geneva show.

The Volkswagen XL1’s plug-in hybrid powertrain sees a 47 hp 800 cc twin-cylinder TDI collaborating with a 27 hp electric motor, the latter fed by a nose-mounted 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery (can be recharged through regenerative braking). Transmission is handled by a seven-speed DSG.

Fuel consumption is quoted at an almost-unbelievable 0.9 litres per 100 km, while CO2 emissions stand at just 21 grams per km. VW says the car can travel on electricity alone for 50 km; if the 10 litre fuel tank (doesn’t need a big tank now, does it?) is filled up, the range jumps to nearly 500 km.

Volkswagen XL1

You’d suppose performance would be nonexistent. But a 12.7-second century sprint time and a top speed that’s limited to 160 km/h are definitely not to be scoffed at. The car rides on double wishbones up front and a semi-trailing link out back, and features ceramic brake discs and carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) anti-roll bars.

Moreover, the Volkswagen XL1 can cruise at a constant 100 km/h using just 8.4 PS, and in all-electric mode, needs less than 0.1 kWh to travel over 1.0 km. Its lightweight carbon fibre body contributes to a sub-800 kg kerb weight and a drag coefficient of only 0.189.

In terms of dimensions, the car measures 3.89 metres long, 1.67 metres wide and 1.15 metres tall (shorter than a Polo, lower than a Boxster), with a wheelbase of 2.22 metres.

Volkswagen XL1

The company will build a first batch of 50 cars at its Osnabrück, Germany plant; after which it’ll be on an on-demand basis. No word on price, although “handcrafting-like production methods” are mentioned, so you and I know it’s not going to be cheap.

The Volkswagen XL1 is the third iteration of a project that began with the 1-litre concept of 2002. It was first unveiled as a concept at the Qatar motor show in 2011.