Volkswagen Showcases 261 MPG 2013 XL1 Diesel Hybrid

Volkswagen has lifted the curtain off of the production version of the revolutionary 2013 XL1 diesel hybrid car which promises to bring world class efficiency and fuel savings in a diesel powered wrapper when it makes its official debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Building on the overall styling theme that was set in place by the original 1 Liter concept car back in 2002, The production XL1 is a classic example of function over form styling and features items such as covered rear wheel arches and other aerodynamic enhancements which allow the XL1 to slip through the air, while gullwing doors and futuristic styling elements give the car a unique look that is unmatched by the company’s other offerings. Taking a page out of the first generation Honda Insight’s playbook, the XL1’s rear track is much narrower than the front’s, giving the car a tadpole-like appearance which further aides its aerodynamic efficiency and allows the car to have a drag coefficient of just 0.189. Volkswagen claims that this figure makes the XL1 the  most aerodynamically efficient car that has ever been created.

Unlike the bold exterior styling, the interior of the 2013 Volkswagen XL1 goes for a simpler design theme with extensive use of carbon fiber to cut down on weight, especially on the steering wheel – which is partially made out of the lightweight material. The dashboard also features a small touchscreen that allows the car’s occupants to operate the built-in infotainment system and to access vital information for multiple aspects of the car such as the drivetrain and other components. The occupants will also experience a unique seating arraignment when spending time in the XL1; it is arraigned virtually side-by-side with the driver and the passenger positions only slightly offset from one another, similar to the seating in a Toyota/Scion iQ. This particular seating setup is more feasible and production-friendly than the bold tandem style arraignment that was a key highlight of the original concept car’s interior. To compensate for the lack of a formal rear window, Volkswagen engineers have eschewed external door mirrors in favor of small cameras that transmit images to the driver via small video screens located in the door panels.

Performance for the XL1 comes from a transversely mounted two cylinder TDI turbo-diesel engine which is placed in the rear of the XL1 and is good for a modest 48 horsepower. The engine works together with a 27 horsepower electric motor that is located in the torque converter assembly to produce 75 net horsepower, which allows the XL1 to hit 60 mph in 12.7 seconds before topping out at an even 100 mph. The engines muscle is channeled to the XL1’s drive wheels through a seven speed dual clutch DSG automatic gearbox which promises to deliver smooth shifts while enhancing the car’s fuel economy. As a neat bonus, the electric motor features an all-electric mode which allows the XL1 to go up to 31 miles on electric power alone before the battery needs to be recharged. Volkswagen claims that when both engines are working together, the XL1 is capable of achieving an impressive 261 mpg in European mixed cycle driving while only emitting an equally noteworthy 21 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Look for the 2013 Volkswagen XL1 to make its official debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March, with a limited production run expected to begin at the company’s Osnabruck Germany facility sometime afterward. Expect pricing information as well as official production numbers to be released closer to the XL1’s arrival at a Volkswagen dealership near you. In the meantime, we at Autosavant look forward to seeing the XL1 in person and perhaps driving this futuristic hybrid.

Author: Carl Malek

Carl Malek is Autosavant’s resident German car fanatic and follower of all things General Motors. Carl first entered the world of automotive journalism as a freelance photographer during his freshman year of college before making the switch to automotive writing several years later. Carl developed an interest in cars at an early age, which helped him overcome the challenges of a learning disability in mathematics. In addition to writing for Autosavant community, Carl also contributes to many car forums and enjoys attending automotive events in the Metro Detroit area with his family. Carl’s message for others with learning disorders is to believe in yourself, be persistent, and face all challenges head on.

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