Find of the Day: This VW XL1 Gets 260 Miles Per Gallon but Has Only Driven 10


The lead-up to the production XL1 started with two separate prototype generations. In 2002 Volkswagen debuted a concept called the VW 1-Litre. While not intended for production, this prototype served as the basis for a second generation that was more production-ready. The second model, known as the L1, debuted in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. But consumers’ hopes for production of the L1 were short-lived, as the XL1 we see here was announced in 2011.

After a couple of years of decision making, XL1 production began in 2013. Volkswagen stated it would build just 250 total cars — the company would retain 50 examples and sell the remaining 200 units to eager, efficient customers.

Unlike prior versions featuring tandem seating, the XL1 adopted a more traditional and consumer-friendly side-by-side seating position. Butterfly doors allow access to an interior which looks surprisingly normal for a vehicle of this type.


A diesel plug-in hybrid, the XL1 uses a two-cylinder, 0.8-liter turbodiesel engine working in connection with a hybrid battery. The fueled engine produces 47 horsepower, with the electric motor providing an additional 27 horses.

Despite the slight power figures and engine size, the XL1 is not all that slow. 0-62 mph arrives in 11.9 seconds, with a top speed of 98 miles per hour. Considering the efficiency achieved here, this performance seems quite an achievement. Credit these figures to the low drag coefficient of 0.189, and a weight figure of 1,753 pounds. For reference, that weight is quite close to a VW Beetle from the 1950s.

The XL1 is rear-drive, and the seven-speed DSG transmission is not the CVT your author expected.

For scale, the XL1 is roughly the size of a VW Polo, but with a much lower roof. Even children are taller than the XL1, which is just 46.6 inches in height.

This particular example just popped up at a dealer in England with just 10 miles on the odometer. That means it has the same fuel in the tank as it did in the factory, assuming Volkswagen put four ounces of diesel in it. Original asking price in 2013 was $146,000. The dealer is asking $131,646, which is quite a bit of depreciation after 10 miles of use.

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