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by Tim Beissmann

The most fuel-efficient car in the world, the Volkswagen XL1, has been revealed ahead of its official unveiling at next month’s 2013 Geneva motor show.

Volkswagen claims the futuristic two-seater is the first ever production car powered by an internal combustion engine to use less than one litre of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle.

The revolutionary Volkswagen XL1 teams a super-fuel-efficient diesel plug-in hybrid propulsion system with slippery aerodynamics and a lightweight body to return an official fuel consumption rating of 0.9L/100km and average CO2 emissions of just 21g/km.

Volkswagen claims the XL1 can operate in zero-emission pure-electric mode for up to 50km and has a total range in excess of 500km despite featuring only a 10-litre fuel tank.

The Volkswagen XL1’s hybrid system comprises a 35kW/120Nm 0.8-litre two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, a 20kW/140Nm electric motor and a 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends a maximum of 51kW/140Nm to the rear wheels, enough to propel the XL1 from 0-100km/h in 12.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 160km/h.

At 3888mm long, 1665mm wide and 1153mm tall, the Volkswagen XL1’s roof sits almost 35cm closer to the ground than that of the otherwise similarly sized Volkswagen Polo city car.

The XL1’s carbonfibre reinforced polymer body contributes just 230kg to the car’s total 795kg mass – which makes it 85kg lighter than the pint-sized Volkswagen Up! three-door. The drive unit (227kg), running gear (153kg), electrical system (105kg) and equipment (80kg) make up the remaining 565kg.

The XL1’s gullwing doors feature rear-facing cameras in place of conventional side mirrors, with real-time images displayed in screens mounted in the door liners.

Low-rolling resistance tyres wrap around 15-inch magnesium wheels at the front, while aero-aiding covers hide 16-inch wheels at the rear.

The Volkswagen XL1 will be produced in Osnabruck, Germany, alongside the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet and Porsche Boxster.

Volkswagen will initially build 50 cars that have been approved for use in Europe, and reports suggest future vehicles will be built to order in low numbers. The German car maker has given no indication of pricing at this stage.

The Volkswagen XL1 will debut in Geneva on March 5.




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