VW XL1 at production stage

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Volkswagen has shown a production version of its ultra frugal XL1 ahead of the distinctive new two-seater’s public premiere at the Geneva motor show on March 5.

This vehicle has been running in prototype form for a couple of years, and most people thought it was just a marketing exercise.  Supposedly the world’s most fuel efficient road car, it gains its low consumption figures on the use of exotic construction materials, a low weight, a compact plug-in diesel electric hybrid driveline and slippery aerodynamics to deliver a combined cycle fuel consumption of 0.9 L/100 km on the European test cycle – a figure, Volkswagen contends, provides the XL1 with a theoretical range of more than 500 km on its 10 liter fuel tank.

World’s most fuel efficient.World’s most fuel efficient.

The XL1 is set to enter limited production alongside the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet and Porsche Boxster at the former Karmann factory in Osnabruck, Germany next month.

The XL1 is lower than the recently unveiled second-generation Porsche Cayman.  Entry to the cabin is via butterfly style doors hinged within the windscreen pillar.  Inside, the new XL1 is a two seater, with the seats staggered slightly to free up shoulder room.

To get down to 795 kg, the XL1 uses carbon-fibre reinforced plastic just 1.2 mm thick for the body, a windscreen with glass that is 3.2 mm thick, a dashboard supported by a wood fiber material 1.4 mm thick and magnesium wheels.

VW itself states that it will make 50 of these cars and then review the demand.  Don’t expect to see one soon!