When it enters production later this year, the 314mpg two-seater XL1 will be limited to 250 units, unless the demand is great enough to build more. But that doesn’t mean its technology will be available to a select few – lessons learned in the project will filter down to other models in the range, starting with the Golf plug-in hybrid that goes on sale next year.
“The XL1’s drivetrain is an MQB technology,” Dr Ulrich Hackenberg Volkswagen’s technical chief told us. “It uses a two-cylinder diesel engine but it works with three and four-cylinder engines too.”
The first mass-production car to feature this plug-in technology (albeit with a four-cylinder 1.4 TSI engine) will be the Audi A3 e-tron, on sale early next year. A plug-in version of the Golf, using the exact same 148bhp petrol engine and electric motor combination and capable of 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds, will go on sale a few months later.
“It will have an electric range of 50km [31 miles] and fuel consumption of 1.5l/100km [188mpg] on the European cycle,” Hackenberg revealed. “It’s a big step towards our commitment to average CO2 emission of 95g/km by 2020.”
Hackenberg also confirmed that the up! city car will eventually be fitted with the XL1’s two-cylinder diesel-electric powertrain: “With this two-cylinder hybrid powertrain the up! could get 1.1l/100km [256mpg]. We will definitely realize this.”
The XL1’s camera-based wing mirrors, which project an image onto an interior screen are also set for wider use in the VW range. “Normally we are not allowed these on road car, but we gained special permission because of the safety benefits, “ Hackenberg revealed. “It allows you to zoom in on and highlighted objects behind you, it’s also good for aerodynamics.”