Lightweight and low drag are hallmarks of great sportscar design. But when paired with a super-efficient, hybrid powertrain, you have the Volkswagen's XL1 that has been formally introduced in Geneva today.

When the 1,700-lb, carbon-fiber-bodied two-seater hits the road, its claimed 261 miles per gallon will make it the world's most-fuel-efficient production car. Though "production car" might be a stretch since VW said in a February press release that the XL1 would be built using "handcrafting-like production methods." We translate that to mean you won't be seeing many of these cars on the road. Though no one at VW has mentioned pricing yet, early rumors suggested a six-figure price tag.

That's supercar budget for a vehicle that has a 47-horsepower, two-cylinder diesel engine and a 27hp electric motor. With numbers like that, owners can expect 0-62 mph times of 12.7 seconds and top speed near 100 mph.

No new information was released in Geneva so we still don't know how many XL1s will be built or when interested buyers can start placing their orders. Still, we invite you to check out the high-res images live from VW's annual pre-show event above.


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  • 79 Comments
      Deslock
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lots of comments to the effect of "why would anyone pay so much money when they can instead get an R8, Porsche, etc" and "The price defeats the purpose of mass distribution". This car isn't intended to be mass produced nor is it intended to be cross-shopped with high end sports cars/exotics. Some will pay a lot for performance or luxury or collect-ability/uniqueness or high tech or efficiency. This is lacking for the first couple (well at least the first one) but has plenty of the last couple. I'm not a VW fan, but attaining such low emissions and fuel consumption is an incredible accomplishment in a street-worthy car, even if it's expensive and only a two seater.
      Gene Markel
      • 1 Year Ago
      Reminiscent of the 1993 GM ultralight
      MrMonkaroo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is that a window within a window I see? Brings back memories of the Subaru SVX. http://cars-database.com/data_images/models/subaru-svx/subaru-svx-02.jpg
      George Voll
      • 1 Year Ago
      Comparing the XL1 to Edison2s vehicle is like comparing apples to a POS.
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Quarter mile in 12.7? No, 60 in 12.7. Oh!
      Drew
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thank you for making a car that the normal consumer could use, but not sell it to them, morons.
        KyleR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Drew
        You understand that this is more of a proof-of-concept than a legitimate vehicle for the masses, right? It may be years before any of this tech can be implemented on a mass-produced level, but it's a sign that the tech itself can be done.
        artso06
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Drew
        Drew, thank you for taking for granted the modern development process of products...(sarcasm)...Technology doesn't magically get created over night. It grows, through time and trials. This is a great step for the VW to prove something of the future so, all those know it all, "morons", CAN purchase it.
      audisp0rta4
      • 1 Year Ago
      No thank you. If I really wanted a sleek looking VW with a 6 figure price tag, I'd just get an Audi R8. I have a feeling I'm not alone with this mindset.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @audisp0rta4
        so this car is not for you...we get it. this car is simply one technical showcase. the experience and developments like the drive train will soon be available in small, afordable cars like the up!
        spa2nky1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @audisp0rta4
        Sadly...you're not the only person with that mindset and I'm getting sick of comments like this. If a car is built for fuel efficiency don't compare it to a performance car with a 12 city/19 highway economy rating ffs...
          William
          • 1 Year Ago
          @spa2nky1
          I think we can assume this technology to make its way into other vehicles at a lower price. "Early adopters" that always pay more do us us and the manufacturers of various technologies by paying back R&D costs early. I'm all for it.
          stumpy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @spa2nky1
          Audisp0rta4 has a point. I LOVE electric vehicles and drive a LEAF myself. But if the biggest selling point of a vehicle is its efficiency (and efficiency and frugality usually go hand in hand) then why would I dole out six figures for that when I could plop down the same money on an a Porsche 918, Tesla Model S, and maybe Audi R8 E-tron??? The people who are going to be attracted to 250 mpg are not going to have the six figures laying around to spend on the car. The reason why the cars I mentioned would be more popular is because all have a sub 5 second 0-60 sprint... the XL1 has a 30 second 0-60 time. With the Porsche, Tesla, or Audi you're not sacrificing performance for gains in efficiency.
      LaurieB
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's beyond stupid... the business case for this car has shot it in the foot before it's even gone on sale. Does anyone who has $100,000 to spend on a hand-made low volume niche car ACTUALLY want to buy something that is absolutely left for dead by even a $25,000 Scion FRS, just because it has 261 mpg? The FRS has a combined MPG of 25, so the difference is an extra 236 miles for every gallon. At $4 a gallon, the cost difference equates to 18,750 gallons of fuel. At 25 MPG that will take 468,750 miles before the VW breaks even. Unless they're planning to only sell it to Hollywood types that want to appear like they're doing something good for the environment, this thing needs to be mass-produced and around $30,000 to make any sense at all..... The Prius worked because it wasn't THAT much more than a comparable sized car...
        Rob Mahrt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @LaurieB
        I would assume the goal here is to make a handful of these these to test production capabilities on carbon fiber and to say "We created the most fuel efficient car in the world, more than 5 times as efficient than the toyota Prius." Make 10 of them, give one away, inspire R&D toward this end... how much is spent to advance auto racing, maybe we can inspire some sort of competition in the fuel efficieny realm that would provide much more value world wide then the money focused on autoracing, IMO.
          jpadow
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rob Mahrt
          exactly.
          Echo Delta
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Rob Mahrt
          they did not create the most efficient car in the world - what is its kWh/mile , when you factor all the energy that goes into producing those gallons of gas? The car by design kicks efficiency problems upstream the fuel chain. 0/10 would not buy - unless I was into collecting historical oddities with a sense of humor and money was no object.
      czwegers
      • 1 Year Ago
      The first car I drove was an EV1. This is an EV1 shape. Therefor I want one.
      sfblog
      • 1 Year Ago
      Didn't GM make this car 20 years ago?
        Rob Mahrt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sfblog
        Ha, it does look like a cloan though, except in carbon fiber and hybrid vs EV but yea.. looks very much the same.. 20 years later.
        Hello, Brian
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sfblog
        Um...no. That was an EV. This is a hybrid.
      wayne
      • 1 Year Ago
      the best car at Geneva so far
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      No side mirrors and thus not street legal. (Even though that law should be changed to allow cameras to suffice.)
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        [blocked]
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