The 2014 Volkswagen XL1 looks like a car of the future, but it sounds like a car from the past.
A body as streamlined as a fish, tires as thin as a motorbike's, gullwing doors and a tail tapering like a tadpole's give this car an otherworldly look that's as startling as the sound of its engine. But instead of the low hum or jetlike whoosh that you'd expect from a car so dramatic, you hear the lumpy putterings of a lawnmower.
And that's because there's a tiny twin-cylinder diesel engine beneath that insectlike rear end, whose jumpy idle has you wondering whether this car's mechanicals are entirely as they should be. They are, of course. The 47-horsepower 800cc engine is part of an ingenious, lightweight bundle of parts designed with a challenging mission in mind.
The mission is Dr. Ferdinand Piech's. The VW boss challenged his engineers more than a decade ago to develop a practical, everyday 1-liter car for the showroom. In case you're wondering, "1 liter," in this case, has nothing to do with engine displacement. Rather, it refers to a car that can travel 100 kilometers — or 62 miles — on a single liter of fuel. This is how fuel consumption is measured in mainland Europe, with 1 liter equivalent to 0.26 gallon and a spectacular 240-mpg fuel consumption.Read Article
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**The 2013 Geneva Motor Show Photo Galleries are sponsored by Fiat
2013 Geneva Motor Show Photo Gallery