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Volkswagen XL3 Coming in 2018 with 1.4-Liter Hybrid Engine, Will Rival the Prius

It seems everybody is after the Toyota Prius, even Volkswagen, who after that massive emissions scandal is plotting a green comeback with a model called the XL3. Reports from the German media suggest the higher-ups of Europe's still-largest automaker want this car to symbolize a new beginning. What's more, it should come out in 2018, just two years from now.
GTE Vision Gran Turismo Concept 1 photo
When it was revealed three years ago, the XL1 became the most efficient car in the world with a fuel consumption of just 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers (260 mpg US). But there are two problems with it. Firstly, it's powered by a 0.8-liter TDI engine, which doesn't sound like a green solution after the scandal. And secondly, prices started at an eye-watering €111,000 with only 250 cars being built on a carbon fiber tub.

According to Auto Bild, the XL3 will be much cheaper and also a global mass-production car. Like the BMW i cars, it will be stuffed with every advanced technology Volkswagen can muster. Compared to the XL1, the XL3 will also be a bargain at €30,000, but fuel consumption should go up to 3 liters per 100 kilometers. That suggests it's going to be a conventional hybrid, not a plug-in.

Not surprisingly, the powertrain will be loosely based on that of the Golf GTE, with a 1.4-liter turbo engine making 140 PS being combined with a 35 hp electric motor and a small battery. Volkswagen already has such a car, the Jetta Hybrid making a total of 170 horsepower. One significant difference is that the XL3 will have bespoke body design to highlight the unique nature of the drivetrain. We chose the GTE Vision Gran Turismo for our story, but Auto Bild made a rendering you can check out below.

To keep the XL3 as cheap as an average Passat, Volkswagen is not going to use carbon fiber or a bespoke platform. Instead, we're likely to see just how far the MQB architecture can be pushed in the direction of lightness. A 3-liter car is easy to make, but truly rivaling the Prius is not something Volkswagen can breeze through.

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