The ultra-lightweight, eco-minded Volkswagen XL1 may find a new mission as a performance machine called the Volkswagen XL Sport according to reports from Auto Express and Le Blog Auto. These reports say that Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Pïech showed plans for this vehicle while speaking in Vienna.
The proposed Volkswagen XL Sport would replace the XL1’s diesel-electric hybrid powertrain with a two-cylinder, 187-hp engine from a Ducati superbike. Volkswagen brand Audi purchased Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati last year. Although 187 hp doesn’t sound like much, the XL Sport could weigh even less than the XL1’s 1753 lbs thanks to the removal of batteries and electric motors. This would make for a serious power-to-weight ratio and a potential 0-60mph sprint of around four seconds. This low weight and small engine combination could also make for still impressive fuel economy—although the proposed XL Sport could not touch the Volkswagen XL1’s unimpeachable 235 mpg, the Ducati-engined XL Sport could still achieve lofty ratings.
Our European correspondent Georg Kacher reported on similar rumors after the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, saying that the XL1’s basic platform and carbon-fiber construction could spawn multiple vehicles including a performance Volkswagen variant as well as models from Audi and Porsche. Instead of a Ducati engine, though, Kacher speculated that the Volkswagen version would use a 1.2-liter three-cylinder producing around 110 hp. After driving the Volkswagen XL1 earlier this year, Kacher also reported that the XL Sport, which was called XR1 at the time, would return about 70 mpg and, unlike the fuel-sipping XL1, could be sold in the U.S.
We don’t know when or if the Volkswagen XL Sport will make it to production, but if it does it’s likely to be produced in limited numbers. Keep an eye out for future news on variants of the Volkswagen XL1.