Volkswagen XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle

This is an article about a rather extraordinary little car, the Volkswagen XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle. Our client wanted his new car to have the very best start in life so selected our New Car Detail with GTechniq C1 & EXO coatings applied throughout. Of course, there is nothing ordinary about the Auto Curators service, but given the rarity and interesting facts behind this car, we thought it would make an interesting feature on it’s own.

Believe it or not, the man responsible for this project is the same person responsible for bringing the Bugatti Veyron to market, Prof. Dr Ferdinand Piëch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG. He had a vision of making a super efficient car, practical enough to use every day, but could reach the magic 100km per litre of fuel target.

The XL1 is designed to do just that, and has become the world’s most efficient liquid fuelled production car. There are just 200 of them in the world, and only 2 in this specially blended colour. This was the first one, painted in the bespoke colour for our client, the other belongs to Dr Piëch who wanted the same when he saw it in production!

The car seats 2 people and is propelled by a hybrid electric drivetrain. The electric motor, with 27ps, can take the car up to 50km on it’s own, from a full charge. Once depleted, the 48ps, twin cylinder, twin turbo 800cc diesel engine takes over. It has the world’s lowest liquid fuelled CO2 figure of just 21g/km, and the most aerodynamic car (lowest drag coefficient) of any road going production car.


The monocoque chassis and body panels mean that it is extremely light, just 795kg. The panels themselves are a technological break through, the exterior skin being just 1.2mm thick, lightweight and very strong. VW have developed a material called Carbon Fibre Reinforced Poylmer (CFRP). The main advantage of this material is the ability to manufacture it in an automated process, therefore it can be produced at higher quantities and lower prices than the very labour intensive prepreg process used to make carbon fibre panels normally. This has huge positive implications for cars of the future, as reducing weight has a massive impact on overall economy. The whole body of this car weighs just 230kg.


The car is limited to 99mph, with a zero-60mph time of around 12.5 seconds. Plenty quick enough for every day use, and sitting in it the Volkswagen family DNA is very evident, sharing much of the switchgear as a Golf. The main difference is that instead of drag inducing wing mirrors bolted to the outside, two discrete, military grade cameras are faired into the doors, feeding a camera screen on each door card, displaying the same as a wing mirror would.

A fascinating vehicle to experience, and quite funny to see it parked in the garage next to another ‘gull wing’ vehicle, the beautiful Mercedes 300SL featured here, itself an engineering masterpiece of it’s era.