This is a car that uncompromisingly furthers the development of the lightweight sports car. Based on the XL1, the most fuel-efficient production car of all time, this 168-mph machine is a compelling blend of efficiency and emotion.
The XL Sport houses one of the finest achievements in engine technology—the V-Twin adapted from the new Ducati 1199 Superleggera, the world's most powerful two-cylinder motorcycle. Like the XL1, of which only 250 will be built, the Superleggera is also being manufactured in a limited edition of 500 units, using a process that embraces hand fabrication and high-precision industrial manufacturing. The XL1 and the Superleggera, two icons of lightweight carbon and magnesium design technology, thus unite to create a unique sports car. With the XL Sport, Volkswagen and Ducati impressively demonstrate how high-tech developments can lead to synergies between Volkswagen Group brands.
The XL Sport’s broad front section is marked out by dual LED headlights and the XL1’s signature LED daytime running lights. The XL Sport features air intakes on either side of the headlights for the vanes which feed the air around the car's front end. In common with the XL1, the front section of the XL Sport does not have a conventional radiator grille, yet it retains the current Volkswagen design DNA, with horizontal lines dominating this area. The cooling air supply for the Ducati engine is via vents in the rear fenders.
Whereas the XL1 is at its widest at the front and tapers towards the rear, the XL Sport is just as wide at the back as at the front. From above, the shape is that of a classic racing car, with a waisted cockpit area. Air intakes and outlets at the A- and B-posts ensure optimal air flow and cooling for the drive unit. Like the XL1, there are no conventional door mirrors: instead, they are replaced by e-Mirrors, small streamlined cameras integrated in the fenders that send images of the surroundings behind the car to two displays inside the vehicle. In front of the rear wheelarches, the 'Motore Ducati' lettering refers to the 1199 Superleggera engine in the rear.
At the rear, the new XL Sport has four specific eye catching features. First, the extremely wide, flat rear has distinctive “shoulders” above the wheels and an extendable rear spoiler that occupies almost the full width. Second, as with the XL1, there is a coupe-shaped roofline without a rear windshield. The rear hatch that merges into the roofline conceals the Ducati engine, the seven-speed DSG transmission and 3.8 cubic feet of luggage space, and incorporates five louvers that open automatically to cool the drive unit. Third, the iconic red LED ribbon follows the shape of the rear section and is framed at the sides by another, vertical, LED element which serves to emphasize the XL Sport’s width. Fourth, there is a black diffuser that merges almost seamlessly into the completely enclosed underbody and is finished at each side with a chrome exhaust tip.
The interior of the XL Sport is based on the XL1’s, but has been modified and individualized to conform with the change in the vehicle's mission. For example, the XL Sport boasts a digital instrument cluster that includes a lap timer and oil pressure display. A carbonfiber cowl extends across the top of the instrument cluster to completely eliminate reflections. The XL Sport's steering wheel has decorative red stitching and has been equipped with aluminum-alloy shift paddles to facilitate ultra-quick gear shifts. There are further classy details to add a sporty touch, with anodized aluminum accents around the air vents, the climate control fascia and the DSG shift gate. The seat belts are red, picking up on the theme of the contrasting red stitching on the steering wheel.