Think the Toyota Prius is a fuel miser? Volkswagen's new super-efficient concept car makes it look like a Ford Excursion. The sleek, ultra light, gull-winged, two-seat plug-in hybrid Volkswagen XL1 prototype is good for -- not making this up -- 0.9 liters per 100 km in fuel consumption. Since metric figures mean about as much to American readers as me writing in Klingon, I'll put it in more familiar terms: 261.3 mpg. Got your attention now? The best part is that Volkswagen is dead serious about eventually delivering a production "one liter car" (a car that consumes 1 liter of fuel or less per 100 kilometers). The XL1 is a big step toward that reality. Here's how it puts up those gaudy figures..
You might think that a car with a combined 74 horsepower from its gas engine and electric motor would come up short on performance, but the XL1 is capable of making the run from zero to 62 miles per hour in just under 12 seconds. Top speed is 160 km/h (just about 100 mph). Both are entirely reasonable figures, especially when you consider that the car is capable of getting 260 mpg.
It's an exciting concept, and Volkswagen makes it clear that it has reached a point where production costs would not be prohibitive. We may be only a few years away from seeing a production version of the "one liter car" concept, and if that's the case, we may need to redefine our notion of what a supercar is.
For a better look at the exterior styling and design features, we've posted some b-roll video (there's no audio) of the Volkswagen XL1 below. In a rather obvious tweak to the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, VW unveiled the XL1 at the Qatar Motor Show this week. For more photos, check out the gallery at Autoblog, where you can see the interior as well.
UPDATE: The Truth About Cars reports that Volkswagen will, in fact, build a (very) limited run of XL1s -- 100 cars. No pricing has been announced yet. Germany will get it first, followed by the United States and China.