In the late 2000s, Volkswagen toyed with the idea of a super-efficient vehicle powered by a plug-in hybrid two-cylinder diesel engine. The limited-production vehicle was called the XL1 and it was pegged to be the most fuel-efficient car ever made.
The year 2013 came and then VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech announced a two-pot-powered sports car that's built for performance. That one was called the XL Sport Concept, and its engine was touted as the world's most powerful two-cylinder engine.
Unfortunately, that car was stillborn and remained a concept, but Petersen Automotive Museum tries to revisit the sports car's greatness in a deep-dive video.
Gallery: Volkswagen XL Sport is a quick yet frugal Ducati-powered concept
Sourced from a Ducati 1199 Superleggera, the XL Sport's reputable V-Twin engine revved up to 11,000 rpm and made up to 197 bhp (147 kilowatts). While that latter number wasn't exactly exceptional for sports coupes, we all have to remember that the XL Sport comes with body panels made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). This kept the weight low at a measly 890 kilograms (1,962 pounds) – so light that Petersen Automotive Museum calls it the lightest modern sports car.
That fact allowed the XL Sport to tout performance numbers like a 0-62 mile-per-hour (0-100 kilometre-per-hour) sprint of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h).
The VW XL Sport boasted other performance bits such as a dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox, titanium connecting rods, pushrod rear suspension, desmodromic valve gear, ceramic brakes, and various magnesium-alloy components. It also had a pair of wing doors that added pizzazz to the whole package.
Can you imagine the XL Sport Concept as a production vehicle? I know we do and it would have been a solid addition to the VW lineup back then. Then again, that's impossible now with the automaker's current foray into electrification. Oh, what could have been.