They did it. They were talking about doing it, but I can't believe they actually did it. Volkswagen has put a mighty Ducati motorcycle into their XL1 eco-minded lightweight, and the result is kind of mind-bending.
VW Group impresario Ferdinand Piëch had been talking about swapping out the 800cc diesel hybrid engine in their carbon fiber-laden, 1,700-pound XL1, and today at the Paris Motor Show, they revealed that it's more than just a crazy fevered Piëch-dream.
According to Car and Driver, XL Sport uses a 200 horsepower "Superquadro" V-twin engine ripped out of the Ducati 1199 Superleggera superbike. It revs to 11,000 RPM, which is something the XL1 definitely does not do.
That 1199cc engine makes the XL1 a bit heavier at 1,962 pounds, but it's still a lightweight. It also benefits from different tires and a revised body with much greater downforce. C&D says it may be "perhaps the lightest and most aerodynamically efficient sports car on the planet."
Volkswagen says this car will hit zero to 60 mph in the mid-5 second range, which isn't supercar fast but is still quick and impressive for the experiment that it is. More notably, it will do 168 mph. Power is directed to the wheels via a seven-speed DSG.
You know, this all reminds me of something McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray said recently — that light weight, not insane horsepower, was the next great frontier for automotive evolution.
If he's right, does that mean the XL is the future of supercars? With an 0-60 time in the 5-second range, we're not there yet, but maybe this is what lies ahead of us.
In the meantime, having driven an XL1, I would very much like to try one with a Ducati engine in the back, thanks very much.