Posted Sep 1st 2014 5:00PM
According to a report in Autocar, Volkswagen might have more in mind for the XL1 than mining it for advances to grace the next-generation Golf. Aiming to fight the Honda FCEV due for public consumption next year, we're told VW executives have put a four-door, four-seater version of the XL1 - it could be called XL2 - on the drawing board. The impetus is said to come from the top, with VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch intent on staying in the deep end of "super-efficent vehicles."
Autocar suspects the necessary changes could raise the weight of the car from 1,749 pounds (793 kilograms) to 2,068 pounds (938 kilograms), which would make it four pounds less than the 2,072-pound (940-kilogram) Up! we drove a few years ago. Crucially, however, the mag thinks the extra capacity wouldn't change the two-seater's 310-mile (500-kilometre) per-gallon rating, with tech tweaks and the aerodynamic benefit of a longer car offsetting the weight. Speculation is that the back seats would be staggered like the fronts in order to maintain the XL1's overall profile.
We recently heard about another XL1 variant that's gone off the radar entirely, the Ducati-engined XLR that we thought we'd see at the Geneva Motor Show and that was said to be going into production, so this one could go the same way. The biggest hurdle to making such an idea a reality, though, could be the price: the current XL1 costs 110,000 euros ($159,400). If VW really is going to compete with the Honda FCEV and the Toyota FCV - $70,000 in Japan - that might be where it wants to start.