BERLIN: The eco-hyper-pod XL Sport, having superbike’s engine and sports-car, is the 200 millionth car produced by the VW Group.
A genuine exotic in every regard, it manages to make fuel economy exciting, and the driving experience itself is pure. The car is light, has no power steering, a brilliantly simple interior, and is a throwback in terms of road and steering feel. It’s brilliant, and it uses almost no gas.
Given that the original fuel-sipper version was so engaging, an XL-based car with more power and no record-chasing efficiency conceits to worry about would be downright fun. And with the debut of this XL Sport concept, VW takes us a step closer to that eventuality.
It’s longer and wider than the XL1, and in terms of footprint, the rear track equals the front track (the XL1 body narrows toward the rear).
The 197-hp two-seater is powered by the same 99 lb-ft, 90-degree V-twin found in the Ducati 1199 Superleggera sportbike. It redlines at 11,000 rpm and is mated to a 7-speed DSG. The run from 0–62 mph (100 km/h) takes 5.7 seconds, and the XL Sport will keep on running until it reaches its top speed of 168 mph.
Like the XL1, this too is a featherweight, featuring a CFRP monocoque and high-strength steel subframes. It tips the scales at 1962 lbs. The front suspension features pullrod actuation for the dampers, while the rear has a pushrod setup.
Carbon-ceramic brakes hide behind the car’s 18-inch magnesium-alloy wheels, which are shod in 205/40 rubber in front and 265/35 meats in back. Other fun factoid: the mechanism for the rear wing is swiped from the Lamborghini Aventador.
The cockpit carries forward the XL1’s beautiful simplicity while incorporating new elements like a lap timer. Will VW build it? We’d guess yes. This is an extremely fleshed out concept that writes a second chapter for the XL story. Will we ever see it here? The answer to that, sadly, is likely no.