Don't expect the production version of the XL1 concept, which returned a claimed 261.3 mpg, to come cheap.

Though it boasts futuristic looks and a focus on fuel economy that might seem too extreme for production, Volkswagen has confirmed that the plug-in hybrid XL1, first shown in concept form at the Qatar auto show, will indeed reach buyers starting in 2013.

"We will start small series production by 2013 - in Germany," said Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn.

Following in the footsteps of the One-Liter and L1 concept cars, the XL1 concept featured an extremely sleek body and an almost impossibly low coefficient of drag figure of just 0.186. Checking in at 156.3 inches long, 46.6 inches tall and weighing only 1,650 pounds, the the car was a decidedly trim two-seater.

The most striking feature of the XL1 concept, however, was its claimed fuel efficiency of 0.9 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers, which translates to an EPA rating of 261.3 mpg.

Helping to return those figures was the combination of a 47 horsepower 0.8L two-cylinder diesel engine along with a 27 horsepower electric motor. Allied with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the plug-in hybrid was far from quick but posted a zero-to-60 mph time of 11.9 seconds, which was respectable given its focus on fuel efficiency.

No word on how much the XL1's drivetrain or bodywork can be expected to change for production. Initial reports speculated that the car would be built in a limited run of about 100 units, which makes sense given that the car's lightweight construction and fuel-saving technology will likely conspire to put the price far out of reach of many consumers.


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