Built as one of a series of fuel-efficient concepts, the Volkswagen XL1 Concept debuted with a 261 mpg rating and little hope for going into production. But demand and interest was so great that Volkswagen was all but forced to build a limited production run of the so-called “one-liter car”, and unofficial pricing info reveals a starting MSRP of around $145,000 in Germany.
Volkswagen has reportedly already built 50 of these uber-efficient automobiles, with another 200 planned for production. Demand is said to be remarkably high for such a pricey car, especially one without any real performance credentials. This is a fuel-sipper, through and through, using a 1.0 liter turbodiesel mated to a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to achieve up to 261 mpg on the U.S. standard.
But the real key to the Volkswagen XL1’s efficiency is its lightweight and efficient body. The XL1 uses staggered seating, a carbon fiber skin over a magnesium frame, and boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.189 by eliminating things like sideview mirrors and replacing it with video cameras. These clever advances make the XL1 a wind tunnel dream.
Furthermore, the whole package only weighs around 1,750 pounds, which allows the 47 horsepower two-cylinder diesel and 27 horsepower electric motor to easily motivate this fuel-sipper. 0 to 60 mph takes around 12-seconds, and top speed is limited to 98 mph; while not blisteringly fast, it’s certainly livable. All-electric range is limited to just 31 miles, and on diesel aline Volkswagen claims the XL1 can go 120 miles on just a gallon of fuel.
Still, at $145,000, the XL1 isn’t exactly going to save money, though this counters the assertion that Volkswagen would only lease the XL1 rather than sell it. But even though Volkswagen may lose money on each XL1 it sells, the technology and boldness of bringing such a far-out concept to life really sets VW apart from other automakers. Could the next-generation of “supercars” be super-efficient rather than super-fast?