Volkswagen XL Sport Combines Efficiency With Performance


Spawned from the same creative minds that gave us the 264 MPG Volkswagen XL1 comes the Volkswagen XL Sport. That extra word denotes an entirely different car wrapped around the shared idea that lightweight and amazing aerodynamics can make up for a lack of power.

The XL Sport was designed in conjunction with Ducati, which provided the V-Twin engine that makes 197 horsepower in the two-seat Vdub. The engine can rev to an incredible 11,000 RPM and puts power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Volkswagen claims this combination lets the XL Sport zip from 0 to 62 MPH in 5.8 seconds and to a top speed of 168 MPH.

While it might not win many drag races, the high top speed can be attributed to a low curb weight via a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) monocoque chassis. While Volkswagen hasn’t specified just how little the XL Sport weighs, the standard XL1 tips the scales at just 1,800-lbs, including a lithium-ion battery pack, electric motor, and two-cylinder turbodiesel.

As with the production model, aerodynamics play a huge role in the efficiency of the XL Sport, and the XL Sport has a slippery drag coefficient of 0.258. Features like wheelarch vents, an extendable rear spoiler, and a smooth underbody mean it takes less torque to shove the vehicle forward, which is great because the V-Twin engine only makes about 99 lb-ft of pushing power. Volkswagen didn’t give its concept a fuel economy rating, because that’s not what this concept is about. This concept is more about the aerodynamic lessons Volkswagen has learned from its work on the XL1.

Is it production bound? Volkswagen isn’t ready to say, though there are similar rumors for an efficient sedan also inspired by the XL1. Could the XL line become to VW what the Prius is to Toyota? Not with a $169,000 price tag it won’t, though the lessons learned are absolutely influencing Volkswagen’s work on future vehicles, and one day we may look back on the XL1 Sport concept as the herald of things to come.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.