The holy grail among economy geeks is the “1-litre” car, a vehicle that can travel 100 kilometres on just 1 litre of fuel. The XL1 is VW’s third 1-litre protoytpe, and it’s both the most practical and the least thirsty. VW claims it returns 0,9 litres/100 km, but of course, there’s a catch: the XL1 is a plug-in hybrid – like GM’s Volt – so its fuel use is supplemented by electrons. Still, it’s an exceedingly efficient package, with a small 35-kW diesel engine, a 20-kW electric motor and a 230-kg carbon-fi bre chassis. On electric power, it’s positively sluggish, but with all guns blazing, the XL1 can run to 100 km/h in about 12 seconds. It’s no sports car, but the 795-kg weight and low centre of gravity combine for nimble handling. The best part: VW is hinting that it might actually sell production versions of the XL1 by 2014. – Andrew English
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