Volkswagen’s dream of developing a 235-mpg car (1 liter per 100 kilometers) has finally been realized, as the new XL1 will be making its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. To make things even better, the first details have been released today. Volkswagen describes it as "a spectacular appearance – a car of the future, built for today."

On the exterior, the model remains pretty much identical to the concept unveiled at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show, including those cool gullwing doors. Still, the car is a little bit better than VW hoped, because its fuel consumption goes down to an impressive 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers, or 261 U.S. mpg.

The model will be unveiled next month at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and the first production batch will consist of just 50 units, with any other unit being developed on demand.

Updated 6/27/2014: Volkswagen has announced that the XL1 is ready for launch, and the first car was delivered to a German buyer in May 2014. It is also now available in the UK at £98,515 ($167,736 as of 6/27/2014) on the road.

Hit the jump to read more about the new Volkswagen XL1.

Update History

Updated 02/21/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.

Updated 07/11/2013: The new Volkswagen XL1 will make its British debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. With this occasion, Volkswagen unveiled a series of new images and a new video for the XL1.


2014 Volkswagen XL1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 493641

The production version of the new Volkswagen XL1 brings no major surprises, because almost every detail was already revealed by the concept version and the prototypes that we caught testing. The XL1 features a body made entirely in carbon-fiber reinforced polymer and will adopt the classic "tear drop" shape and is only 1,282 mm (50.47 inches) high.

The XL1 is characterized by electrically controlled air intakes, new headlamps with LED technology and fully covered rear wheels to prevent drag. To make it look even cooler, Volkswagen has also installed scissor-opening doors. The model will also remove the traditional wing mirrors and replaced them with small cameras called e-Mirrors which transmit exterior images to interior displays.


Length 3,888 mm (153.07 inches)
Width 1,665 mm (65.55 inches)
Height 1,282 mm (50.47 inches)
Weight 795 kg (1752 lbs)
Coefficient drag 0.189


2014 Volkswagen XL1 High Resolution Interior
- image 493636

Few changes have also been made on the inside and the biggest one is the seat arrangement. In the concept version the two occupants sat in a tandem arrangement, but in the production version the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, nearly as in a conventional vehicle.

The XL1 can also haul a small amount of cargo, thanks to a 120-liter (4.23 cubic-foot) trunk.


2014 Volkswagen XL1 Drivetrain
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The most amazing part of the new XL1 is its hybrid drivetrain that combines an 800 cc two-cylinder TDI engine that delivers 48-horsepower with an E-Motor that adds another 27 horsepower and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG). The E-motor takes its power from a lithium-ion battery and allows for a driving range of 50 kilometers (31 miles) in all-electric mode.

The model will sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 12.7 seconds and can hit a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph); all this while delivering an astounding fuel economy rating of 313 mpg and a CO2 emission of just 21 g/km.


The 2014 Volkswagen XL1 starts out at £98,515 ($167,736 as of 6/27/2014) in the UK.


Finding a competitor for the XL1 is a real challenge, because its fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km (261 mpg) is a world record. However, we are pretty sure that in the near future things are going to change, but until then the XL1 can enjoy the supremacy on the market. Still, for those of you interested, we can name some pretty successful EV currently available on the market.

Nissan Leaf

2010 Nissan Leaf
- image 313599

When Nissan launched it on the market, no one expected the Leaf will enjoy such a huge success, still time proved us wrong. The Leaf uses an electric motor with an output of 107 horsepower. You can easily see this is a little bit more than the XL1, but Leaf has a driving range of just 100 miles.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

2012 Mitsubishi U.S Spec i-MiEV Exterior
- image 381157

A model that pretty much started the electric industry was the i-MiEV. It uses a 16-kWh battery pack that placed under the rear cargo bay that develops 63 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque. The i-MiEV is also having a driving range of just 100 miles, so the XL1 is pretty much the leader in this case. Or it will be when put on sale.


2014 Volkswagen XL1 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 493626

With its impressive fuel economy of 261 mpg, the new Volkswagen XL1 has set a new world record in the automotive industry. Whether it will really be a successful model or not won’t be known until it’s put on sale, but we are pretty sure that the first 50 units will be sold in no time.

  • Leave it
    • Just 250 units for start
    • We are sure the price will be pretty high
    • Not fast by any stretch


2014 Volkswagen XL1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 493621
  • Volkswagen to produce XL1 at its Osnabrück plant in Germany, using carbonfiber -*technology
  • The XL1 is the most aerodynamic production car ever, with a Cd of 0.19-*
    261 mpg combined fuel consumption was a vision—now it’s a reality

Wolfsburg, Germany - The XL1 from Volkswagen is the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, with a European combined fuel consumption rating of 261 mpg. Thanks to its plug-in hybrid system, this two-seat vehicle can also cover up to 32 miles as a zero-emissions vehicle in all-electric mode.

The XL1 is an automotive standout that follows pure sports-car design principles: light weight (1953 pounds), exceptional aerodynamics (Cd 0.19), and a low center of gravity. This super-efficient Volkswagen thus has the ability to cruise down the road at a constant 62 mph while using just 8.3 horsepower. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover more than a kilometer.

The XL1 emits just 21 g/km of CO2, thanks to its high-tech lightweight design, aerodynamic efficiency, and a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a 47-hp two-cylinder TDI® engine, a 27-hp electric motor, a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a lithium-ion battery. The 261 mpg fuel consumption figure is a record that has not been achieved by any other vehicle to date, showing that Volkswagen is redefining what is technically feasible in the automotive industry. The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

2014 Volkswagen XL1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 493625

Conceptually, the XL1 represents the third evolutionary stage of Volkswagen’s 1-liter car strategy. When the new millennium was ushered in, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, currently Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, formulated the visionary goal of putting into production a practical car that had combined fuel consumption of one liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality.

Despite the tremendous efficiency of the XL1, the engineers and designers successfully came up with a body design which delivers more everyday utility than the two previous prototypes. In the L1, the 1-liter car that was shown in 2002 and 2009, the driver and passenger sat in a tandem arrangement for optimal aerodynamics; in the XL1, the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like a conventional vehicle.

The XL1 is 153.1 inches long, 65.6 in wide, and just 45.4 in tall. By comparison, a Volkswagen Polo is slightly longer (156.3 in) and wider (66.2 in), but is significantly taller (57.6 in). Even a purebred sports car like today’s Porsche Boxster is 5.1 inches taller. The XL1 will look spectacular going down the highway—a car of the future, built for today.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.

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