The principles behind a car designed for performance and a car designed for fuel efficiency are similar; both need to be light weight and aerodynamic, which is why Volkswagen is investigating adapting its fuel efficiency-focused XL1 into a vehicle tuned for performance.
According to Automobile, the XL1 is so low volume and priced so high that it will not be approved for sale in the US, though a sports car with a cheaper price tag might actually be a feasible product for this market.
Fuel economy won’t be as much of a priority for the XR1, though VW believes that they can still make the car capable of 70 mpg. The most likely engine to power the car is a 220-hp, 2.0-liter sourced from the Golf GTI.
“A four-cylinder looks like the most promising option,” a VW insider told Automobile. “It is hardly bigger, not much heavier, and barely more expensive to produce than a three. It gives us more options in terms of power and torque. Its part-load consumption is actually quite low. A new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic good for up to [250 lb-ft] of torque would be the perfect match for this engine.”
To make the XR1 lighter, the electric motor and battery pack will be pulled out, though to save money, VW will have to use aluminum instead of magnesium for the wheels, steel brakes in place of carbon fiber, and real glass rather than polycarbonate side windows, all of which will add some pounds back onto the car. A wider body along with a wider front and rear track is also said to be in the works for the XR1.
When all is said and done, the XR1 is likely to weigh about 1875 lbs, and have a sub-five second 0 to 60 mph time.
The XR1 is still being tested, though Volkswagen has yet to formally approve the project.
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