Sleek motorcycle-engined concept produces 197bhp from its 1199cc engine, which can rev to 11,000rpm
1 October 2014

Volkswagen has revealed a high-performance Ducati-engined version of the XL1, named the XL Sport, at the Paris motor show.

The mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive XL Sport concept, which is the 200 millionth car produced by Volkswagen, is powered by the Italian motorcycle company’s V-twin engine, which is the world's most powerful two-cylinder motorcycle engine.

Ducati is part of the Volkswagen Group, having been bought by Audi in 2012.

The engine is derived from that found in the 1199 Panigale Superleggera. Installed in the sleek XL Sport, it produces 197bhp, has a top speed of more than 167mph and revs to a maximum of 11,000rpm.

This engine, together with a seven-speed DSG transmission, launches the sports car from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and revs up to 11,000rpm.

Although the car bears a close resemblance to the super-frugal XL1, some major design aspects have been developed completely from scratch. The XL Sport weighs 890kg and has a drag coefficient of 0.258. Volkswagen claims these factors combine to make it the fastest car in the world for its power output.

For example, the XL Sport has a number of special aerodynamic tweaks including special air curtains, wheel arch air outlets, an optimised underbody, a diffuser that reduces aerodynamic lift and adaptive exhaust heat vents integrated in the rear lid.

The concept car is slightly longer and wider than the XL1 with a length of 4291mm, width of 1847mm and height of 1152mm. It has a 2424mm wheelbase, longer than the XL1, significantly wider wings and larger wheels.

The extendible rear spoiler is powered by the same apparatus unit as in the Lamborghini Aventador. It also has adaptive waste heat vents incorporated in the rear hatch – the louvres opens and closes automatically as required to conduct excess engine heat away. The air supply for cooling the Ducati engine is via vents in the rear wings.

It has a carbonfibre tub like XL1, with steel space frames at either end to hold the suspension. They are supplementary to the carbonfibre tub and aluminium crash structures. The suspension consists of a double wishbone front axle with the dampers connected below in a pull-rod configuration, and a double wishbone rear axle with the dampers connected above in a push rod configuration.

The tyres are 205/40 R18 at the front and 265/35 R18 and the rear, and the wheels are made from forged magnesium, which brings a total weight reduction of 23.9kg compared with aluminium wheels.

Like the XL1, many parts of the XL Sport's body are manufactured in carbon-reinforced polymer (CFRP), with a monocoque featuring slightly offset seats for the driver and passenger.

The interior boasts a number of changes over the standard XL1, such as a digital instrument cluster, with an individual lap time and oil pressure display. A flat carbonfibre part that extends the top of the instrument cluster covering to eliminate reflections in the windscreen.

“The XL Sport is based on the XL1, our lightweight efficiency champion with an extremely low drag coefficient and excellent aerodynamics. We’ve improved the aerodynamics but maintained the sporty look,” said a Volkswagen spokesman. “It has a heart made by Ducati.”

Volkswagen describes the XL1's interior as "highly influenced by motorsport". There’s no word on whether Volkswagen intends to put the striking car into production, but last year the manufacturer stated its intention to build one example of the car to gauge reaction.

The German manufacturer is expected to reveal more details of the concept at its Paris motor show press conference at 0850hrs tomorrow.

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Our Verdict

Volkswagen XL1

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

1 October 2014
The car in picture number two, has a certain Lamborghini quality about it. Edit: Picture corrected.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

1 October 2014
Thanks Frightmare Bob - all of the blue cars made our eyes go funny...

1 October 2014
Looks brilliant. Now make it!

1 October 2014
The XLS has uncanny resemblance with the new Audi TT in some pictures. I'm glad to see Volkswagen (or is it Audi) managed to extract such a looker out of their wasteful XL1 project. At a reasonable price this car makes a whole lot of sense.

2 October 2014
... but with that engine, and at this weight - this car should be quite a lot of fun. Much better looking to boot. Though probably it will be quite expensive. Perhaps as much as 40.000.

2 October 2014
But VW isn't going to build it. At low volumes, this car would cost several times the price of a (relatively) mass produced Porsche Cayman - and who would pay that for a car that is slower, noisier, less practical and which doesn't have an illustrious heritage? But I'm glad that VW has built this concept. It just shows what could be possible and is an excellent way of getting people on to its motor show stand.

2 October 2014
Could this be VW's answer to the Honda S660 concept and the new Mazda MX-5? A battle in the mini sportscar class is about to start very soon...

2 October 2014
...or is this one god-awful looking machine? Starts off well at the front but that rear overhang throws the proportions out and all that metal over the rear haunches. And you know if VW were to do a limited production run, the price would be outrageous!

2 October 2014
not sure what crash protection levels would be in this but I'm almost disappointed at the weight - 900kg is a lot for something powered by a motorbike engine. It may have the same issues as the RX-8 - looks pretty but no torque to speak of so have to rev the nuts off it (which admittedly would probably sound great) but wouldn't give any feeling of speed. If this had come in at 500-600kg it could have been a lot more interesting, and agree with erly5 - if they ever made it the price would be horrendous.

2 October 2014
From the three-quarter front it looks a bit like a Group 4 Alpine A110 a friend once owned. Surely cars like this are more relevant than 400-900hp sportscars with performance accessible only on tracks? I have never been to a track day, but I would guess that there are more impecunious enthusiasts with tweaked 3 Series' than handy wheelmen with Aventadors.

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