Volkswagen’s XL1 goes from legend to reality, reportedly gets 261 MPG

VW XL1 side view

When in 2009 we first learned about the Volkswagen XL1 in early prototype form, we thought it was a bit of a myth. Then called the L1, we figured the 261-MPG concept vehicle was on par with the 100-MPG carburetor our grandfathers used to talk about, the one the government was reportedly withholding. When friends and colleagues would ask us about the hyper mileage Volkswagen they’d heard about, we would assure them they’d never see one outside a museum.

Now, however, we’re left eating crow because Volkswagen is really going to sell this unicorn of a car.

The extremely efficient XL1 is powered by a diesel plug-in hybrid system. The engine is a 1.0-liter two-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 47 horsepower. That tiny diesel is mated to a 27-horsepower electric motor, which is bolted to VW’s seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The XL1 is capable of an emissions-free, electric only range of 32 miles from the initial electric charge. The result, as you already know, is a European combined fuel economy rating of 261 MPG.

Interestingly, at a constant 62 MPH cruising speed, the XL1 only requires 8.3 horsepower to propel itself forward. To hit that 62 MPH, the XL1 will need 12.3 seconds from a dead standstill. Although the XL1 is most efficient at 62, its stop speed isn’t far off at 99 MPH.

The XL1 doesn’t simply benefit from a highly efficient powertrain; it also has the most aerodynamic body of any production car ever with a drag co-efficient of only 0.19. Additionally, the XL1 is very, very light weighing only 1953 pounds thanks to its carbon fiber construction.

Unlike the previous L1 concept, the XL1 can seat two passengers in a slightly graduated seating arrangement – not too dissimilar from normal coupes.

Volkswagen has said the XL1 will go into limited production for select markets. A Volkswagen representative has informed us that the brand has no current plans to offer the XL1 in the States. In addition, VW has also not announced any pricing. When we learn more, we’ll be sure to update accordingly.

Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.