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Volkswagen Formula XL1 Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Well, what do you know? When Volkswagen decided to show off the latest version of its so-called one-liter car, the Formula XL1, at the Qatar Motor Show, we wondered out loud whether or not the German automaker would actually manage to put it into production. As it turns out, that's the plan, albeit at a very small scale.

According to Automobilwoche (sub. req'd, via The Truth About Cars), Volkswagen will build 100 XL1s as a small batch of regular production machines... meaning they'll actually be offered for sale to the general populace. No word on what will power the production models, but the concept features a two-cylinder TDI engine, electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. All that fuel-sipping goodness is enough to achieve an astonishing 0.9L/100 km – just over 261 mpg.

Germany will reportedly get first crack at the XL1, followed by the United States and China. Color us surprised that VW actually plans to produce a nearly 300-mpg machine, going to the trouble of putting it through safety and emissions tests and all that goes along with making it legal, for such a small batch of vehicles. Surprised, but pleased, while also a bit skeptical it will ultimately happen. Projects like these are usually the first to get cut when the global economy forces belts to be tightened.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      i know it's not the point, but something that light and slippery would potentially be awesome with a performance engine and suspension.

      so, how bout one for the greenies and one for the meanies?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Some additional numbers from a german magazine:

      - Plug-In-Hybrid using lithium-Ionen-cells
      - 35 km in pure electric mode
      - 10 liters diesel tank =combined range of about 550km
      - 0,8 l tdi 48 hp / 140Nm
      - 0-60: 11,9s
      - 7gear dualclutch transmission
      - Vmax:160 km/h
      - 3,89 m length, 1,67 m wide and only 1,16 m hight
      - weight: 795 kg
      - cW: 0,186 (Porsche 911: 0,29)
      - price will be somewhere around €100.000

      If Mr. Piech wants it it will be built. Simple as that. The Veyron also does not make sense on many levels and he still made it happen. Imho this will be sold to eco-friendly rich people happy to show of the most expensive environmental friendly car in their garage. Fast forward a couple of years with much cheaper carbon fibre production lines and you have the next gen polo.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saying that VW is putting this car "into production" is such hyperbole its not even funny.

      When talking about the car world 100 cars is nothing more than engineering test mules.

      There is absolutely no comparison to this car with something like a Leaf, Volt or Prius. Even the ultra low-volume Tesla has sold a few thousand units.

      I have nothing against VW trying to test out new technology, but don't start saying that this car will be put "into production" because that is very disingenuous.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How much for one? I don't see this being an "affordable" car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, I will have one (if they can actually bring one here) unless Jay Leno beats me to it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No way would I buy a 300 mpg car. But 400 would be worth considering.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm gonna buy it and put a LS3 in it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Its a good-looking design, but if they removed the rear-wheel covers, it would be a great looking car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You are forgetting that VW is not GM. VW's focus is much more long term, rather than on the next quarterly results. It's the only way to run a car company... think long term, stay flexible, and impress people with innovations that they can actually buy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's lower in the market that VW is shooting itself in the foot. Yes, Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini and Bugatti are doing well (though I don't know if they are all making money), but mostly because of the recent explosion in the number of wealthy buyers in countries like China and the middle east, and as an earlier Audi ad pointed out, Audi is the latest fad Luxury marque in the US. Are the sales sustainable? I don't know.

        As for mainstream markets, I see it kind of like this:

        VW = Chevrolet
        Seat = Pontiac
        Skoda = Saturn

        And now VW is stepping all over Audi's toes with products like the Phaeton and Passat CC. Audi is duking it out with BMW and M-B, fighting to be the first to fill smaller and smaller niches.

        All I know is, I am not looking to buy any VW stock.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Buying too many companies that you end up directly competing with."

        I'm sorry, did I miss something? Did GM bring all the companies they purchased into their most successful years ever, or run them into the ground?

        Last I checked Lamorghini, Audi, Bentley and Bugatti are all doing immeasurably better under VW's stewardship then they ever were alone. I really don't know how many times we need to reiterate that VW is not GM. They've never faced sagging sales in their primary market, and they, gasp, have the cash and talent to continue to assault new product niches without cannibalizing their own sales. And when they do misstep (phaeton in north america) their core, most profitable products (A8), don't suffer.

        VW is not GM
        German businesses are run with a perspective at least a decade down the road, not 2 years
        German culture is not American, they're not beholden to share holders, their beholden to succeeding and creating more work in the areas they're located.

        VW. Is. Not. GM.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yep, but as we speak, VW is exactly duplicating the model that got GM into trouble. Buying too many companies that you end up directly competing with. Within the next 5 or 10 years VW will become the snake that tries to swallow itself.

        VW has too many irons in the fire right now. They should call Toyota and ask them how that being #1 thing worked out for them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Zamafir: You're getting it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This also puts them at both ends of the bell curve in terms of fuel consumption, with the Bugatti at one end and the VW XL1 at the other.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Projects like these are usually the first to get cut when the global economy forces belts to be tightened."
      Recently Volkswagen has become known as a company that does things just because they can. A few things that come to mind are the Bugatti Veyron, and the 1.4L Twincharger.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ^this. they've got more talent and resources than anyone and culturally a passion for making the extreme.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't get it either.
      Why go through all that for such a small batch of vehicles?
        • 4 Years Ago
        To the one asking about crash testing.. no there wasn't an exemption. Bugatti had to crash 2 of their cars. Not sure if they both had to be full production cars or just partials.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wonder if car like Lamborghini Ferrari Bugatti really have to pass a crash test, as two vehicles are needed I think to perform front, back and roll over.
        May be for so small number there might be an exception?

        About the two cylinders diesel, I imagine that will be another story and it will need to be certified. (I remember about some kind of lawn mower or rotisserie for BBQ using a Chinese gas engine that was not US certified and the importer had to pay a fine).

        • 4 Years Ago
        it's called a halo car, maybe you're familiar with the concept, small production run to demonstrate excellence in a field, be it fuel economy or performance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        this is VW, the same group that has sold approximately 300 Bugatti Veyrons, i bet those are a little more costly to certify
        • 4 Years Ago
        Here are a few possible reasons:

        - To demonstrate to the public what's possible
        - To uplift the brand image and give it a more green slant
        - To learn how to produce carbon fiber bodies
        - To test this drive train in a small, controllable field
        - To reduce average fleet emissions
        - ...
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