The common man won't be getting 261 mpg anytime soon after all.
The Volkswagen XL1 was never going to be a serious rival for the Prius. The ultralight and ultra-aerodynamic plug-in diesel hybrid uses a boatload of exotic technology and materials in order to achieve its record-setting 261 mpg. This was a pretty strong clue that the car would be expensive, and VW's plan to build just 250 units was a further indicator. Well, now the German publication Wirtschafts Woche has published a projected price of €110,000, or roughly $146,000.
That is a pretty serious price, even after you take into consideration the money that will be saved on fuel. But that's not what the XL1 is about. It's a technological showcase, and those who will be plunking down the big bucks for one will be those with a strong need for conspicuous conservation. VW's R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg was quoted saying "The car is more a lighthouse than a business model." This makes sense because although the car is obviously impractical as any sort of a mainstream vehicle, it really is quite an impressive piece of technology.