Remember our previous report about the Ducati-powered XL1? Well, like all projects initiated, approved or touched by Ferdinand Piech, it will materialize. According to high-ranking insiders from the VW Group, the performance-version of the XL1 will likely be called the XLR and will feature a two-cylinder petrol engine from the Ducati 1199 Panigale superbike.
VW’s head of R&D, Hans-Jakob Neusser, told Autocar that engineering, development and testing of the Ducati-engined XL1 is well underway. “Yes, we are working on it internally. It is a very special project,” Neusser said. Although he declined to confirm when the new car would be revealed, chances are it could debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, possibly followed by a small production run.
While the VW XL1 features a rear-mounted plug-in diesel-electric hybrid powertrain developing 68hp and 139 Nm (103 lb-ft) of torque, the XLR will ditch the diesel for a high-revving 1.2-liter two-cylinder petrol engine which on the Ducati 1199 Panigale bike develops 187 hp at 10,750 rpm and 123 Nm (91 lb-ft) of torque at 9,000 rpm.
Piech previewed the XLR at the end of September during a lecture at the Vienna University of Technology. The executive said the Ducati-powered car will be lighter than the XL1 and will probably lose the covered rear wheel design. With or without it, let's hope VW decides to build the XLR and maybe price it lower than the XL1 - if that's not too much trouble...
By Dan Mihalascu