VW’s 260 MPG Diesel Hybrid XL1

Volkswagen’s very impressive XL1 is the poster child for mpg to the max.  We’ve been following this car’s development program for years now, hearing that it was a production-intent program but fairly skeptical that a vehicle with such a stratospheric fuel efficiency target could ever be built, at least beyond the prototype stage

Yet, here we are. VW is moving beyond development and will be producing the limited-production carbon fiber car at its Osnabrück plant in Germany.

The sleek and innovative XL1 boasts an array of features that tantalize the imagination, like that magic 261 mpg fuel economy rating. It weighs just 1753 pounds and has a 0.19 Cd, the lowest drag coefficient of any production car.

And performance? Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is just over 12 seconds and top speed is 99 mph, enabled by a plug-in diesel-electric hybrid powertrain using a 47 hp two-cylinder TDI engine, a 27 hp electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries, and a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

VW says it will build 250 of the super-efficient XL1, which of course is barely enough to whet the appetite of a mpg-hungry market, but is enough to prove the point that such a car is do-able. These are destined mostly for the automaker’s home market. While a small number of these will be brought to the U.S. for testing, there is no intent to market the car on our shores.

Even as the XL1 plies highways at the hands of those privileged enough to claim one, this pretty incredible vehicle will be influencing vehicle development programs at VW in some pretty big ways for years to come.