It felt quite odd driving down a busy dual carriageway in the rain with a car with no rear view mirror and no wing mirrors. Luckily I had cameras (or e-mirrors) in place of the wing mirrors which conjured up an accurate picture of the traffic behind me on small screens to my right and left.
As I glided round a busy roundabout other drivers strained their necks and even took photos as I cruised into the distance. No I haven’t bought a super car via AA Cars but I had been test driving the Volkswagen XL1 which they claim to be the most fuel-efficient production car in the world.
This futuristic two-seat diesel electric hybrid is claimed to achieve fuel consumption of 313 mpg. Now we all know that some manufacturer’s fuel consumption figures are difficult to achieve in the real world but even if you only got 25% of this fuel consumption it would still be amazing.
This car was the vision of Professor Dr Ferdinand Piech at VW who, as early as 2000, set the goal of bringing a production car to market that was practical yet offered a low fuel consumption of one litre per 100 km (or 282 mpg). In the XL1 this has become an amazing reality.
The car was actually great to drive and I tested it on country roads, fast dual carriageways and indeed on the many roundabouts that make up Milton Keynes. It is a similar length to a VW Polo yet lower than a Porsche Boxster. It is made of a special carbon fibre reinforced polymer but is safe as well as lightweight.
The XL1 is aerodynamically optimised, adopting the classic ‘tear drop’ shape. I also loved the gull-wing doors which give you more space to get into such a low car without bending your head. It does a respectable 0-62mph in 12.7 seconds and the top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph.
I think I was still drooling over the car when I pulled in and did an ITV interview. The interview was fine but the when transmitted they failed to say who I was. So if you saw it I am not masquerading as a VW spokesman…but if it meant driving this car every day I really won’t mind it.