Volkswagen has unveiled its XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle (SEV) concept at the Qatar Motor Show. The oddish-looking vehicle, an evolutionary progression of of the 1-Litre car from 2002 and the L1 concept of 2009, pioneers construction techniques, innovative packaging and an advanced plug-in hybrid drivetrain, all of which comes together to offer the XL1 a massive 313 mpg (that’s miles per UK gallon, yes, or if you prefer, 110.9 km per litre) on a combined cycle. Definitely notable numbers.

At the heart of it all is a compact 800 cc TDI two-cylinder common-rail diesel engine developing 47 hp, linked to an electric motor producing 27 hp, resulting in a total of 74 hp – a rather modest output, but more than enough juice to move the light-ish 795 kg kerb weight mass of the XL1.

Weight-wise, the body structure tips in at 230 kg, the drivetrain at 227 kg, the running gear at 153 kg, the interior including a pair of bucket seats at 80 kg and the electrical system at 105 kg. In total, just 23.2% of the car, or 184 kg, is made out of either steel or iron.

To make such weight savings possible, and yet viable for series production, VW developed and patented a new system for the manufacture of the Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) parts on the car, tagged as a Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process. Further weight savings were achieved through the extensive use of lightweight materials including magnesium (wheels), ceramics (brake discs) and aluminium (dampers, steering system, brake calipers).

The hybrid powertrain works with a seven-speed DSG gearbox with an automatic clutch mounted between each unit. The electric motor can either work independently of the TDI engine or in tandem when accelerating – in pure electric mode the XL1 can travel up to 35 km before the diesel engine cuts in.

Other performance specs include a 0-100 kph sprint time of 11.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 160 kph.

VW says that the styling of the XL1 is borne out of functional requirements – easy access to the interior is granted via a pair of elegant scissor doors that hinge on the A-pillar, while the profile of the car has been honed in the wind tunnel, the result being a remarkable 0.186 Cd figure.

Dimension-wise, the XL1’s overall length of 3.97 m and 1.68 m width are similar to those of a VW Polo, but its 1.18 m height brings it into Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder territory. Of course, it manages to offer far, far better fuel consumption.

Gallery after the jump.

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