At the recent annual meeting of the Volkswagen Group board, Chairman Ferdinand Piech rolled up in the XL1, his latest one-liter car pet project. Actually, Piech did the same thing a decade ago but back then, he had done it with the L1 concept car. Piece had driven from Wolfsburg to the board meeting for almost 100 miles to Hamburg, Germany.
Ursula, Piech’s wife and supervisory board member, also attended the meeting together with David McAllister, the Minister President of the German state of Lower Saxony.
Powering the two XL1 cars is a plug-in hybrid system that features a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a 48-hp, two-cylinder diesel engine mated to an electric motor, which delivers an extra 27 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque.
When using the electric motor alone, the X1 can be driven for up to 22 miles. Furthermore, the XL1 has a weight of only 1753 pounds due to the generous use of carbon fiber.
The XL1 isn’t very fast but it offers precise steering and a sufficient amount of power when driven on normal roads. Volkswagen asserts that going from zero to 62mph takes 11.9 seconds. This car comes with amazing agility due to its slippery aerodynamics, direct steering, and its low weight due to the carbon fiber-reinforced polymer construction.
When the diesel engine is under heavy throttle, it kicks on loudly. That’s because sound deadening adds a lot to the weight and so the XL1 doesn’t have it.
Volkswagen hasn’t changed its initial plan for a limited run of XL1s to be on sale by 2013. But then, it’s possible the two-cylinder diesel may not carry over into production. Rather, it’s possible that it would be equipped with a direct-injected, turbocharged gasoline two-cylinder.