XL1 doubles up on seats to become XL2, but the hyper-miling 310mpg rating of today's car won't be affected
17 August 2014

Volkswagen has a four-seat version of its XL1 hybrid on the drawing board.

The current, two-door, two-seat model is in limited production, but Autocar understands that VW bosses are now considering building a second version that will accommodate four adults.

Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of the Volkswagen Group supervisory board, instigated the project to build a car that was capable of travelling 100km (62 miles) on one litre of fuel. That has culminated in the production version of the XL1, which is officially rated at 310mpg.

It is said that Piech is very keen to see VW remain at the cutting edge of what the company calls ‘super-efficient vehicles’ and wants to take the concept a step further, especially with the super-aero Honda FCV fuel-cell car set to go on sale at the start of 2015.

According to sources, much of the XL1 technology will be carried over into a new car – particularly the front and rear subframes and suspension and braking systems – although the central body structure would have to be totally rethought.

The XL1’s carbon tub would have to be replaced from scratch, but the staggered seating would remain because this is an essential element of keeping the car narrow and reducing its frontal area. 

The new model – possibly called XL2 – would have to have two rear doors, which would most likely be rear-hinged like those on the BMW i3

It is also likely that the current 800cc twin-cylinder diesel engine (which delivers 47bhp) and the electric motor (27bhp) would have to be upgraded with more power, although VW would aim to retain the same overall efficiency. The 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery would also probably be enlarged.

Today’s car weighs just 795kg. A further pair of bucket seats will add 80kg and the extended centre cell and extra doors another 50kg or so. The XL1’s electrical system (105kg) is likely to remain unchanged for the four-seater and the weight of the drivetrain (227kg) could rise because of a marginally bigger battery.

The whole car is likely to come in at about 940kg, making it only slightly lighter than a VW Up city car. However, increasing the length should marginally improve aerodynamic performance and further optimisation of the drivetrain should allow the car’s rating to remain at 310mpg.

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Our Verdict

Volkswagen XL1

New 313mpg hybrid points the way to making cars cheaper to use

Join the debate


17 August 2014
Surely in a car like this where weight is everything, you'd form the rear seats from scallops in the tubs and add cushioning, meaning maybe 5-10kg per seat? You'd lose the ability to recline those seats, but who cares?

17 August 2014
.... and that thing is this; Tatra

18 August 2014
Inspired by the sales-charts-bursting success of the XL1, the only way forward for the VW is to fix it with 4 seats. If only VW spent as much money on R&D as they do on PR, we would surely have a car that can compete with the latest innovations in the rest of the world.

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