This, remarkably, is the production version of the Volkswagen XL1, the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, a car we’ll see in Geneva in a little over a week.
Barely changed from the concept version shown at the Qatar motor show two years ago, the production XL1 is the first production result of VW’s 1-liter project – to design a car that uses less than 1l/100km (282.5mpg imperial) – that started with the lozenge-shaped, tandem-seat 2003 1L and the later L1 of 2009. The XL1 actually beats that by sipping just 0.9 liters with CO2 emissions of 21g/km. This is achieved by the use of a two-cylinder diesel engine and a 20kW electric motor hybrid system as well as a weight of 795kg thanks to the extensive use of carbon fiber.
At 3,888mm long, 1,665mm wide and 1,153mm high, the exterior by Maximilian Missoni (incidentally now the exterior design chief at Volvo Cars) is one of the most aerodynamic ever to hit the streets with a Cd of just 0.189. This is partly helped by the use of cameras in place of wing mirrors, which marks a world first in terms of legislation.
Its interior – accessed by supercar-like doors – is a mixture of typical VW sobriety and carbon fiber, with the passenger sat slightly offset from the driver to reduce width and therefore frontal area.