Rumors: Spy Shots—The VW XL1

By Doran Dal Pra

March 19, 2013

We are in the midst of an interesting dichotomy in automotive history—on the one hand, companies like Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Bugatti are producing the fastest and most powerful vehicles the world has ever seen. And on the other, rising gas prices and increasing concern over emissions and fuel economy have given rise to ever cleaner and ever greener cars and technology. Both approaches are pushing our understanding of what's possible into a new realm, and when it reaches production, VW's XL1 will lead the way into further uncharted waters.

Caught by the spy photographers over at Autoblog, this pre-production XL1 prototype was snapped during some winter testing. Under the XL1's distinct Tron-like bodywork beats a 1.0-liter two-cylinder TDI engine that is mated to an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries. This diminutive powerplant shouldn't be responsible for moving a lot of weight—the concept car only weighed 1,753 pounds—and the net result should be about 235 miles per gallon (can you say fuel sipper?)
The XL1 was first introduced at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show as the Formula XL1, and if it materializes as rumored, it will be far and away the most efficient road car ever created. Please, VW, make this car!