There is no way that Volkswagen can prove their claim that the new 1-liter concept vehicle, the L1, is truly "the most fuel-efficient automobile in the world," but that isn't stopping them from using the phrase to describe the second version of a car that has been making the rounds since 2002. The new 1-liter car – so named because it burns 1.38 liters of diesel per 100 km (rounding down from 1.38 to 1 is acceptable, right?) – that will be on display in Frankfurt features a carbon fiber/plastic body and weighs just 380 kilograms.
The L1's CO2 emissions are crazy low – just 36 grams per kilometer – from a hybrid TDI and 10 kW electric motor powerplant. The 0.8-liter TDI unit was derived from the 1.6 TDI that is making its debut in Frankfurt in the new Golf BlueMotion and Passat BlueMotion. Top speed is 100 mph. The tandem seats are accessible from a hinged roof cover. The L1 has two driving modes – eco and sport – and, of course, features Auto Start-Stop. What does all this get you? An astonishing 170 mpg (U.S.).
If the car looks a bit slippery to you, you're not alone. The L1 has a Cd 0.195. While this concept retains some of the fanciful design and joy of the 2002 model, VW is calling the L1 "revolutionary yet close to production readiness" and is talking about 2013 as a possible production date. Want one?