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A Bunch Of Amazing Tech In The Volkswagen XL1 Is Coming To A Golf Near You

Illustration for article titled A Bunch Of Amazing Tech In The Volkswagen XL1 Is Coming To A Golf Near You

I’m a big fan of the Volkswagen XL1 that was officially unveiled at Geneva and I am still considering what I’d offer someone at VW in order to get behind the wheel of one. Do I have to jump out of a balloon?

But in less than 10 years, the Golf of that era might have a lot of the same tech and design touches of that are packed into the limited production XL1. At least that’s what the car’s engineer, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, says.


In an interview with CAR Magazine, Hackenberg proclaims the future really is in plug-in hybrids and we should all get used to that because it gives lower emissions in cities and stop-and-go traffic, while still allowing us to travel long distances without worrying about EV range. The lessons learned from the XL1 are designed to save the internal combustion engine, and even though we marvel at the competency of EVs today, I think we're all in agreement we don't want to see the engine vanish altogether.

What’s more interesting, though, is that the XL1 could be a breakthrough for the use of cameras to monitor blind spots rather than mirrors. The XL1 is a test bed for that technology in production cars and they’re essential to aerodynamics to give it the looks that make me instantly think of the GM EV1. But if the cameras prove successful in real-world situations, side mirrors could start disappearing from new car designs.

Oh, and somehow all of the extra carbon fiber, plug-in tech and cameras aren’t supposed to radically increase the price of a mainstream hatch. It’s the Germans, don’t ask how they do it.

If you’re fascinated by the XL1, check out the interview. Color me skeptical, but if this stuff is available on the Mk 8 Golf GTI, I will be seriously impressed.


Photo: Volkswagen

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Maybe it's because I'm an engineer, but I find this car beautiful and exciting, in a fizzy James May sort of way. It's like the Bugatti Veyron but completely focused on efficiency instead of speed, which to my mind, is just as much of a technical achievement when it's done well. If I lived in Europe (and had the cash), I'd be contacting VW now to see what it would take to get one in my driveway.