Driving into the future with Volkswagen’s XL1 The National — Volkswagen XL1

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Volkswagen XL1

Driving into the future Volkswagen#x2019;s XL1

The United Arab is full to bursting with Name a piece of modern and, chances are, see one valet-parked outside a shopping or tearing down a motorway at speed. Either that or posed in along JBR Walk in where the pace is so slow the drivers are usually overtaken by The Dubai police use Bugattis, Ferraris and all the rest. But even haven#x2019;t got one of these and, it is a supercar, but not as we know it.

Volkswagen#x2019;s XL1 has all the of a supercar. It#x2019;s extremely with a roof that about reaches your when you#x2019;re stood to it. It has its turbocharged engine mounted just behind the heads of its #x2014; just like proper supercar. Its shape is to slice through the air with the of resistance. It has only two seats and is impractical. At around Dh600,000, expensive. It#x2019;s rare, with only 200 planned for It#x2019;s formed out of carbon polymer (lighter and stronger steel, so it#x2019;s incredibly and other exotic materials magnesium and, crucially for supercar paradise, it turns like only an alien could. It#x2019;s a supercar in sense. Or is it?

There are two very differences between the XL1 and what we in region would deem to be a Firstly, there#x2019;s the small of performance. The XL1#x2019;s engine is by diesel fuel and it#x2019;s half of that fitted to diminutive Polo. That#x2019;s it#x2019;s possessed of only two which together displace a puny 800cc (or 0.8L). The difference is in its consumption. The XL1, to its design, construction and hybrid uses less than one of fuel every 100km.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the world#x2019;s most economical car and it#x2019;s here. Here as in right now; here as in you can into a Volkswagen showroom and order one #xad;yourself.

Andreas was one of the engineers who#x2019;s been the project since its inception at the of Ferdinand Pi#xeb;ch, the former of the Volkswagen group, back in He#x2019;s in Dubai to act as product and guardian, meaning that can drive it on public roads him in the passenger seat, and he#x2019;s very proud of what has achieved.

#x201c;In many this car is similar to the Bugatti he says. I shoot him a quizzical #x201c;I mean in that the absolute pinnacle of engineering we as a company are capable of right It#x2019;s an extreme car, just that it#x2019;s the of the Veyron. But the technology and the design are #xad;important.#x201d;

Actually, once of the XL1 stops next year, it be rarer than a Veyron, won#x2019;t cease being until 450 cars have sold. The Veyron#x2019;s design lies in its ability to warp the continuum and still be able to be by your grandmother. It#x2019;s a trailblazer, but how many others continue in its wake? I can#x2019;t of any right now. But the XL1 demonstrates so radical technology that actually reach future cars that it merits our attention. This is a veritable laboratory on wheels and even (who, incidentally, also up with the Veyron concept) his dream of a #x201c;one-litre#x201d; car was impossible, himself to perhaps one that instead, travel for 100km on two of fuel. The finished result trounces his initial demands.

At The we take every opportunity to cars that do less to our precious planet and that#x2019;s why here, on a rather warm morning, being shown an example of the car that could the way we see automobiles forever.

It#x2019;s tiny. I mean on a scale I#x2019;ve never seen on a car that can accommodate two adults. Its frontal area is only two-thirds of that by a Polo and the rear is even Keller explains that #x201c;teardrop#x201d; shape, which rearward, makes for a more profile #x2014; the XL1 boasts a coefficient of 0.189. When introduced its 100, back in it was (if only one door mirror was the world#x2019;s most aerodynamic car, with a figure of And, while these won#x2019;t mean much to the motorists, they do make a heap of difference to the way a car drives and

I made mention earlier of the this project was started: When the formidable Pi#xeb;ch down the gauntlet, the company#x2019;s and engineers immediately set about a carbon-fibre bodied special tandem seating and a single-piston In 2002, he drove to a VW shareholders in Hamburg in the prototype, in his last appearance as chairman, and even managed to beat the fuel-consumption that he had set his engineers. But still he not foresee a time when a car this could be produced for

He#x2019;d proved a point, and after he left his job, the was basically forgotten about. however, Pi#xeb;ch#x2019;s replacement, Winterkorn, along with head of R D, Ulrich Hackenberg, it and developed the twin-cylinder hybrid L1, appeared at the Frankfurt Motor in 2009. Hackenberg had, by rejected the tandem seating as to buyers, but Pi#xeb;ch came up the idea of a staggered arrangement, to the width increase that have resulted from a seating arrangement.

Keller says that the XL1 has been honed and refined the input of potential customers, so the result has a better chance of the required number of buyers. And a stunning machine, no matter I look.

The seats themselves are from the same stuff as the carbon fibre. Which that they#x2019;re light and strong. The cabin is quite yet stylish. #x201c;There had to be some comforts,#x201d; says Keller, we#x2019;ve done everything to keep the weight down. The air for instance, is powered by a smaller than is usual, so it might get a bit hot in during the UAE#x2019;s summer. the gearbox, which is a twin-clutch has been rehoused in a magnesium because it#x2019;s incredibly #x2014; the entire car only 795 kilograms. The tyres are narrow to down the rolling resistance and the are covered by wheel spats aid streamlining. You will also there are no exterior #xad;mirrors.#x201d;


right. There#x2019;s nothing to the XL1#x2019;s aerodynamic efficiency, but are somewhat essential for driving on roads. #x201c;There are two rear-facing fitted into either of the car,#x201d; he explains, #x201c;and the images are fed to screens in the doors.#x201d; remarkable stuff #x2014; far the imaginations of the most fervent devotees. If it could take off and hover above ground of using those narrow I would believe it. It can#x2019;t then again, that is probably just around the

But here and now, the XL1 can be used on the Any road. So it#x2019;s time to see how it and what the people of Dubai of it.

As with some other cars, when you switch on the XL1 it no sound, so long as there#x2019;s at 50 per cent charge in its on-board pack. Unlike other however, there#x2019;s absolutely no noise thanks to that exterior. It#x2019;s surreal, gliding.

When the engine cut in, which is not very often, it some rather strange partly because of the fuel but this simply adds to the of wonder while piloting it. speaking of wonder, that#x2019;s evidently on the minds of anyone who us. Drivers swerve even than usual as they try to get a shot on their mobile Kids point and stare; a bus of construction workers sounds its and its occupants look on, amazed, as we#x2019;ve just landed another planet. It#x2019;s being the centre of so much but it#x2019;s understandable, and when we come to a rest the crowds swarming, asking questions, more photos, posing in of it and trying to peek inside. If a pulled up alongside now, would give it a second #x2014; the XL1 makes everything ordinary.

The sense of theatre is heightened by opening its doors. hinged on the upper A-pillars and upwards on gas struts #x2014; else would have a total let-down. The driving is no let-down, either, with steering feel (Keller that power assistance weight #x2014; and anyway it need it, with such wheels and low weight) and the car nips with ease, despite its drivetrain specification deficiencies. easily up to the task of urban although it sits incredibly low to the surface and I wouldn#x2019;t fancy the UAE#x2019;s more severe humps in it.

But we simply cannot compare the XL1 to any car. It is Volkswagen#x2019;s interpretation of the future could possibly like and shows us all that, the naysayers and the environmentalists lambasting the car the automobile has exactly that: a

And that future has arrived.

Volkswagen XL1

unfortunate that, in this of the world, there#x2019;s scant in fuel-efficient vehicles. Cars consume the least also to (usually) be small and that against the grain with motorists here, who seem content with cars are as big as houses. They#x2019;re also by small engines, often by diesel #x2014; a fuel few even know about #x2014; or they#x2019;re hybrids the XL1, mixing small efficiency with battery to offer drastic fuel

Are you still awake? Good, it#x2019;s high time we looked at the way in which we consume the precious resources and how we pollute the air we all share. And our choice of car reflects the that we have as individuals. If we care about our impact on the we won#x2019;t be driving huge and vehicles. We just won#x2019;t.

The

How, then, are manufacturers around the problem of marketing more responsible offerings? has supplied hybrid cars to at two of Dubai#x2019;s taxi-fleet operators, many tonnes of airborne dioxide in the process, while its arm, Lexus, has started its hybrids as the top-of-the-range models, to the gunnels with lots of technology.

Did you know that Porsche is testing the waters with its diesel and hybrid and Panameras? Volkswagen, too, has trialling diesel models and is feedback from customers and the as an evaluation on whether or not to bring here as part of its permanent

BMW, as you will read in regular Motoring pages week (turn to page will be selling its i8 supercar very soon.

These are all steps, granted, but they are in the direction. The more that we see and about fuel-efficient transport, the that it will become a thing for us to consider #x2014; the that we each have on the that we all inhabit.

Doing bit

Even if we#x2019;re not in the market for a new there are things we can do to make our vehicles more efficient.

tyres at the correct pressures, inputs with our brakes and gentler driving styles and servicing #x2014; everyone from these things.

is inevitable, no matter how we look at it. just that the tide has turning against the car for some now and, against all the odds, it just survive thanks to the efforts of the people who design and them.

Volkswagen XL1
Volkswagen XL1
Volkswagen XL1
Volkswagen XL1

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