Volkswagen XL1 takes a spin round London before Goodwood appearance + video
Volkswagen’s futuristic XL1, the world’s most fuel-efficient production hybrid car, is currently making an appearance in Britain, both touring round London and featuring at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The two-seat diesel-electric hybrid, which achieves a claimed fuel consumption figure of 313 mpg while emitting just 21 g/km of carbon dioxide, stood out in the UK capital with its white carbon fibre body shell contrasting starkly with the black taxi-cabs and red double-decker buses.
While one XL1 made its way to Goodwood to take pride of place on the Volkswagen stand and make its way up the famous hill climb, another crossed the capital, heading to Buckingham Palace where it will be displayed as part of the Coronation Festival this weekend.
While the ultra-frugal XL1 model looks like a vision of the future, it is in fact already in limited production, although not in right hand drive form. Its body is made largely of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer, while its drivetrain melds a two-cylinder 800 cc diesel engine with an electric motor. It is also low (at 1,282 mm it is lower than a Porsche Boxster) and features scissor-opening doors. It does however have a 120-litre boot.
To achieve the target fuel consumption figure the XL1 was aerodynamically optimised, adopting the classic ‘tear drop’ shape and utilising innovations such as removing traditional wing mirrors and replacing them with small cameras called e-Mirrors which transmit exterior images to interior displays.
The XL1 is manufactured at Volkswagen’s Osnabrück factory in Germany (which also produces the Golf Cabriolet and Porsche Boxster). Unlike these cars, the XL1 is ‘handcrafted’ using small series production processes. An initial production run of 250 XL1 vehicles will be made. Pricing and sales channels are yet to be confirmed.