Volkswagen announced today it is producing its futuristic-looking, fully functional carbon-fiber two-seater vehicle that is expected to return 261 mpg. Volkswagen will name it the XL1, the same name as it has held since VW first showed it, and many speculated it might never be more than a concept.

In Volkswagen’s own words, the XL1 is the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, with a European combined fuel consumption rating of 261 mpg.

VW_XL1_Rear-668Powered by a diesel plug-in hybrid system, this two-seat vehicle can cover up to 32 miles all-electric mode.

While it looks like a concept car, the XL1 is actually a real production car. VW did not confirm exact production previsions, but did say production numbers will be low and that the two-seater will be initially only available in Europe.

The XL1 follows pure sports-car design principles: light weight (1953 pounds), very low aerodynamics drag (Cd 0.19), and a low center of gravity. Volkswagen said the XL1 has the ability to cruise down the road at a constant 62 mph while using just 8.3 horsepower.

In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kilowatt-hour to cover more than a kilometer.

The plug-in hybrid system consists of a 47 horsepower two-cylinder TDI engine, a 27 horsepower electric motor, a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a lithium-ion battery.

VW_XL1_Ill-668With the 261 mpg fuel consumption figure, Volkswagen wants to show what is technically feasible in the automotive industry.

The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

Conceptually, the XL1 represents the third evolutionary stage of Volkswagen’s 1-liter car strategy.

When the new millennium was ushered in, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, currently Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, formulated the visionary goal of putting into production a practical car that had combined fuel consumption of one liter per 100 kilometer (235 mpg). The XL1 is the vehicle that brings this vision to reality.

Volkswagen’s engineers and designers came up with a body design which delivers more everyday utility than the two previous prototypes. In the L1, the 1-liter car that was shown in 2002 and 2009, the driver and passenger sat in a tandem arrangement for optimal aerodynamics; in the XL1, the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like a conventional vehicle.


Size-wise, the XL1 is 153.1 inches long, 65.6 in wide, and 45.4 in low. By comparison, a Volkswagen Polo is slightly longer (156.3 in) and wider (66.2 in), but is significantly taller at 57.6 inches. Even a sports car like today’s Porsche Boxster is 5.1 inches taller.

Volkswagen called the XL1 a car of the future, built for today.