What happens when you combine the futuristic powertrain from the Volkswagen XL1 with the practical Volkswagen Up! city car? At the 2013 Tokyo auto show, Volkswagen is providing a glimpse at that possibility with the Twin-Up! concept car.
On the outside, the concept is a standard Volkswagen Up! four-door hatchback, and the only physical modification is that Volkswagen has lengthened the city car's front clip by 1.2 inches. In front is the drive unit from the Volkswagen XL1, consisting of a 0.8-liter two-cylinder diesel engine, a 35-kW electric motor, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The car's energy storage, which consists of an 8.7-gallon fuel tank, a 12-volt accessory battery, and an 8.6-kWh lithium-ion pack, are hidden beneath the trunk floor.
Just like the Volkswagen XL1, the Twin-Up! is a plug-in hybrid, so it can operate for short periods of time in all-electric model. Despite the fact that the 2657-pound concept car is about 1000 pounds heavier than the Volkswagen XL1, the Twin-Up! can nonetheless travel 31 miles at speeds up to 78 mph on electrical power alone. When using the diesel engine and battery, Volkswagen claims combined fuel economy of 214 mpg in European testing. At the same time, 0-to-62-mph takes a lengthy 15.7 seconds and the Twin-Up! is limited to just 87 mph.
On the outside, the Volkswagen Twin-Up! is painted Sparking White and has special blue flakes in the paint to provide a shimmering effect in sunlight; on the inside, blue colors are designed to highlight Volkswagen's "Think Blue" mantra. The engine bay is totally concealed by a matte-black cover, save for a few carefully positioned user service points. The interior has a new digital instrument cluster, a touchscreen infotainment system, and digital dual-zone climate control system.
Volkswagen hints that it is researching whether it would be feasible to put the four-seat Twin-Up! concept into production, and it's certainly possible that we'll see more plug-in hybrid models once series production of the Volkswagen XL1 hits its stride. That car, with its futuristic coupe-like body, is limited to just 250 sales and will only available in Europe.