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

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

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.

GALLERY: Volkswagen XL Sport Live Photos

GALLERY: Volkswagen XL Sport Official Images

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Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/112531385961538774338?rel=author">Google+</A>.

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2 of 9 comments
  • BUSABRY BUSABRY on Oct 04, 2014

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

  • BUSABRY BUSABRY on Oct 04, 2014

    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.