Volkswagen XL1 spied

The world's most fuel efficient car is spotted testing ahead of its on sale date in 2013

VW is keeping its promise to put the world's most fuel efficient car into production. The XL1 concept, first shown at the Qatar Motor Show in January last year, can return 313mpg, and you'll be able to buy one next year.

Speaking at the concept's unveiling last year, VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn confirmed the XL1 would be going into limited production and on sale by 2013 - and these spy shots prove that the project is still on schedule.

Judging by these pictures, very little has beeen changed in terms of how the XL1 will look. Shutlines in the roof show the gullwing doors have been retained, while the slot-like headlights and full-width rear tail-light are all identical. The only obvious changes are the rear wheels which are now exposed - they were covered up for aerodynamic reasons on the concept - and a set of conventional wing mirrors has been fitted.

Although the same length and width as a VW Polo, the two-seater XL1 is much lower to the ground to help reduce drag. It's also constructed from a cocktail of lightweight materials, including a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic bodyshell, magnesium wheels and carbon-ceramic brakes. In fact, only 23 per cent of the 795kg kerbweight is made up from steel or iron.

Propulsion comes from plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 47bhp 800cc two-cylinder diesel engine, a 27bhp electric motor and a seven-speed DSG gearbox. The electric motor can work on its own for around 22 miles, or in tandem with the diesel engine to maximise range and performance.

Expect to to see the production XL1 later this year, with sales starting in 2013 priced from around £30,000.

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