VW XL Sport Screams to 11,000 RPM With Ducati Power

VW XL Sport Screams to 11,000 RPM With Ducati Power

Following Volkswagen’s acquisition of Ducati, you had to know it was only a matter of time until their marriage produced a child with a VW badge.

And here at the Paris Motor Show, that’s exactly what we’re getting a first look at: the Volkswagen XL Sport. You might remember the XL 1, the super-efficient car that put saving fuel first, almost to a fault. The company only built a handful of them before calling it quits, or so it seemed.

This is the XL Sport, a two-cylinder sports car that borrows aerodynamics from the XL-1 and its engine from the Ducati 1199 Superleggera sport bike. That means this thing makes 197 hp and winds out to a mind-bending 11,000 RPM! It also weighs (1,962) less than 2,000 lbs.

Of course, we’re talking about a motorcycle engine so that means a crazy bore to stroke ratio, short crankshaft strokes and only 99 lb-ft of peak torque. That’s OK for a bike, but it means off-the-line acceleration for the XL Sport is a far cry from supercar territory.

2014 Paris Motor Show Coverage

Power gets from the two-cylinder engine to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and VW says the 60 MPH sprint takes a respectable 5.7 seconds.

The cabin is similar to what you would find in the XL1, but now there’s a digital gauge cluster with performance readouts like a lap timer and oil pressure gauge. Paddle shifters sit just behind the wheel, and the windows are made of polycarbonate and fixed in place to save weight.

By itself, that’s really not very impressive. After all, that’s only a hair quicker than, say, the Ford Focus ST. But thankfully, that isn’t the whole story. Rather than slapping a better engine into the XL1, Volkswagen revised the chassis, gave it a serious sport suspension and ceramic brakes.

It’s also considerably longer and wider than that car to accommodate for the powertrain and high top speed.

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GALLERY: Volkswagen XL Sport Live Photos


GALLERY: Volkswagen XL Sport Official Images


Discuss this story at our Volkswagen forum

  • johnls39 .

    What an ugly concept.

  • Luke Vandezande

    Don’t like it? I’m not head over heels for the styling, but the idea of a Ducati-powered VW is pretty cool.

  • smartacus

    Rear half looks Enzo
    Front end looks XL1
    Door windows look SVX
    Side mirrors inspired by GoPro®

  • Rickers

    Honestly, that performance is pretty lame.

  • Felix James

    I love the front end, but not the long back.

  • Jack McLovin

    Looks great, like an old flatnose Porsche. It’s not clear to me if it’s still a hybrid. If not how does the weight go up so much from replacing a diesel motor, electric motor(s) and batteries with a relatively small bike motor from a “superlight” motorcycle?

  • Mark S

    11,000rpm, will sound like a scalded cat – like the old S2000 vtec on steroids! Like the super weight, sounds like it has the suspension and brakes, best of all RWD. 5.7 sec is totally fine for a canyon carver. Make it with manual as an option (please)!


    VW should concentrate on making their car engines reliable. VW please leave the motocycle world alone. It does NOT need you.


    Although on second thoughts if you want to own a motocycle that is unreliable, plagued with electrical problems and requires you to take it to the dealers just to change a bulb, then I have no doubt that VW could produce this.