If you’re in the market for one of the most efficient hybrids ever built, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than the VW XL1. This limited-production VW hybrid was built with the same passion and engineering excellence found in hypercars, except rather than focus on performance, the team pursued all out efficiency. With a limited run of only 200 road-going cars, the XL1 is one of the rarest VW’s ever built.
The VW XL1 may not look that exciting at first glance, but once you learn more about the engineering under the skin, things start to shift. The VW XL1 is the most aerodynamic car ever built and one of the lightest thanks to obsessive attention to weight savings. The XL1 is built with extensive use of carbon fiber used to build the carbon tub, body panels, and to trim the interior.
Power comes from a plug-in hybrid drivetrain the features a 2-cylinder turbo diesel engine that acts as both a generator and drive component. Total power output is only 68 horsepower (51 kW) and 100 lb-ft (140 Nm) of torque from the combined 0.8-liter diesel engine and electric motor. This unique drivetrain is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for lightning-fast shifts to keep the engine at its most efficient rev range.
The VW XL1 may not be the most exciting supercar ever built, but the amount of engineering effort used to make this car as efficient as possible makes it an incredibly interesting machine. Many of the learnings from the VW XL1 can be seen across VW’s lineup of ever more efficient vehicles making this a worthy investment despite the limited production and sales. Efficiency may not be exciting, but this level of engineering effort deserves to be celebrated.