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VW’s XL1 hypermiler went to Italy and brought back a souvenir … from Ducati

Forget hypermiling. Volkswagen has designed a performance version of its XL1 powered by a Ducati engine.

The Volkswagen XL1 is back in the news, and this time it’s brought a friend: the Ferrari of the motorcycle world, Ducati.

The XL1 was originally designed as the ultimate eco car, with initial reports claiming 261 mpg. This unbelievable claim turned out to be just that, because in initial testing it only managed 160 mpg. That said, being able to get from Digital Trends headquarters in Portland to Seattle’s Space Needle on $5 of gas is still pretty impressive. I am glad, however, VW has decided to see how fast it can make the XL1 get there.

As part of the VW Group’s campaign to purchase every other company that makes vehicles, it acquired Ducati in April of 2012. This stupendously complicated series of transactions that technically made the Italian superbike maker a subsidiary of Audi is starting to bear fruit.

VW XL1 with Ducati engine cropped

The German tabloid Die Bild-Zeitung recently released news that VW designed a performance version of the XL1 called the ‘XL1 Sport,’ fitted with the 190-horsepower 1.2 liter two-cylinder engine from its amazing Panigale sport bike. That may not sound like that much but remember the XL1 only weighs 1750 pounds. To put that in perspective, it’s just slightly less than the starting line of my beloved Seattle Seahawks.

What’s more; the XL1 is reputedly the slipperiest production car ever made with a drag coefficient of only 0.19. That’s less drag than you find on most fish, and certainly a lot less than all those linemen.

With this kind of power, aerodynamics, and lightweight bodywork, the XL1 could very easily be a baby supercar that still gets 60 plus mpg. Besides it looks like what you would expect an Audi R8 to give birth to if it made love to a light cycle from Tron.

Personally, I really hope the folks at Volkswagen make this happen. How often do you get the technical brilliance a German hypermiler married to passion and danger of a fire-spitting Italian superbike?

Let’s just hope VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech is a Digital Trends reader.

Top image courtesy of Die Bild-Zeitung

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