Veyron of Hybrids: 2014 Volkswagen XL1

Feather Weight: With its ostrich-winged doors, Volkswagen’s new mileage champ, the XL1, is the Veyron of hybrids.

 

If you drove a Volkswagen XL1, you’d be unlikely to encounter anything like it coming the other way. That’s because VW plans to build only 250 copies of its 283-mpg hyper-hybrid, and also because GM long ago crushed most of its EV1s, from which the XL1 looks almost entirely plagiarized.

Here’s another example of VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch going to extremes—in this case, to show his many critics in the German Green Party where to stick it. The XL1 is 1800 pounds of carbon fiber, aluminum, and plastic propelled by a two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine sharing the trunk with an electric motor. As of this writing, this Karmann Ghia of tomorrow may be sold or leased, VW hasn’t decided, but any sticker price should exceed $120,000. Sorry; European distribution only.

Just 45.4 inches tall, the XL1 is half an inch lower than a Lambor­ghini Gallardo, and it would be impossible for anyone but Tom Thumb dipped in Vaseline to enter through conventional doors. Even so, normal people climbing in have to bow deeply under the forward-winged hatches, step over a sill that is nearly a foot wide, and drop into a body that clears the ground by a mere three inches. If you expect this Volks­wagen XL1 to be a sports car, with its proportions and ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber tub with attached aluminum crash structures and body panels, you are mistaken. Push the starter button to see.

Instead of engine yowl, an indicator at the bottom of the central speedometer ­simply reads “READY.” Pull the lever of the seven-speed, magnesium-case, dual-clutch automatic to “D,” and push the accelerator. The electric motor integrated into the ­gearbox gently whirs like a blender, and the XL1 moves off. The low-rolling-resistance Michelins sound like grinding millstones—they are sized 115/80R-15 in front and 145/55R-16 in back, and no, that is not a misprint. The front rubber, just 4.5 inches wide, is inflated to 44 psi.

slim fastThere is no single silver bullet for creating the world’s most efficient production car. No, it takes a flurry of them, and the XL1 relies on meticulous optimization of aerodynamics and weight to meet its audacious goals. Steel and iron account for less than a quarter of the car’s 1800-pound weight, and the 0.004-inch-thick coat of paint is 50 percent lighter than a typical carbon-fiber paint job. Other details:

The skinny tires provide a comfortable ride up to city speeds. As the car accelerates on electric power, an orchestra of mechanical noises plays from the wheels and the transaxle. Every push of the brake pedal is accompanied by the rumble of pads sanding the ceramic discs. “We did not use any insulation,” says VW development engineer Ulrich Mitze, stating the obvious. “And the side windows are made of polycarbonate.”

Saving weight was the major developmental target for the second most extreme project within the Volkswagen Group after the Bugatti Veyron. The goal was a saleable “1-liter car,” or one capable of averaging 1.0 liter/100 km of fuel consumption. That’s a target of 235 mpg, nearly five times better than a Toyota Prius’s EPA combined rating. And VW claims to have beaten it.

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source: caranddriver
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2013 Mitsubishi 311RS Evo X

By and large, Mitsubishi isn’t the first automaker you think of when you’re thinking of a high-powered sports car. But they do have one model that’s almost always in the discussion: the Lancer Evolution.

Now on its 10th iteration – or “X,” as the Japanese automaker prefers to call it – the Evo has always been one of the most popular models in Mitsubishi’s lineup, so much so that circuit racer, Ryan Gates, decided to build an ultra-limited edition model of the Evo X.

He calls it the 311RS and it has a load of aftermarket goodies in it, something Evo X fans will come to appreciate.

Gates only has 11 models of the 311RS at his disposal with one already headed to the White Bear Mitsubishi dealership in White Bear Lake, MN. Should you be interested in taking a good look at the car, you can also go to the 2013 Minneapolis Auto Show where the car will be prominently displayed.

Exterior

The Mitsubishi 311RS Evo X doesn’t look too different from the “standard” Evo X, which is a good thing because the Evo X looks pretty sweet in its own right. Having said that, there are some add-ons installed, including a JDP front lip that not only makes for a cleaner-looking body, but also provides aerodynamic enhancements to the car. Additionally, a carbon-fiber Voltex rear wing was also installed, replacing the OEM version and provides the kind of aero balance that the 311RS needs to keep itself coordinated.

The 311RS also gets a new livery, one designed by Jon Sibal, with a simplicity that’s been designed to keep the focus on the car’s performance. Rounding out the exterior modifications is a set of 18-inch Volk CE28 wheels wrapped in Nitto NT05 tires.

 

Interior

Not a whole lot of modifications on this end, except for the use of Etnies E-suede, which is supposedly three times more durable than traditional suede.

Engine

For the seeming lack of overwhelming upgrades done on the Evo X’s exterior and interior, Ryan Gates did do some wonders on the car’s performance credentials, thanks to a number of AMS components, including a new intake that increases air flow to the turbocharger for increased horsepower. The program also has lightweight, polished-aluminum intercooler piping that provides less turbulent and freer-flowing air flow for maximum efficiency.

A new intercooler, a wide-mouth downpipe, a new cat pipe, and a new racing series cat-back exhaust system were also installed.

Finally, an engine tune was also made to the Evo X, increasing the output of the car to 353 horsepower and 359 pound-feet of torque.

Suspension

With an engine tune as extensive as the one done on the 311RS Evo X, Gates also took up the task of improving the car’s suspension and he certainly spared no expense putting in the best components. One of the items is the RS1 suspension from JRZ, whose valving was designed to be adjusted from street comfort to racing damping characteristics in seconds. In addition, the kit also comes with customized spring rates and adjustment range. Aircraft aluminum suspension top mounts from – again – JRZ were also used to transmit suspension loads directly to the chassis, giving unparalleled response and driver feel.

Likewise, Gates also went about the business of improving the braking dynamics of the Evo X, doing so by replacing the OEM models with Girodisc two-piece rotors that not only reduce unsprung and overall vehicle weight but also increases the ventilation and cooling capacity of the brake discs, while retaining its original dimensions. Stainless lines, heat shield and new brake pads were also installed, rounding out the dynamic braking package befitting a car of the Evo X’s stature.

Pricing

Reportedly, only 11 models of the 311RS Evo X will go on sale, each costing $49,000.

Competition

The ultra-limited status of the 311RS Evo X makes it a must-have for any fan of Mitsubishi’s rowdy sports car. But in the event that you’re in the market for options, Subaru’s Impreza WRX STI is a pretty good alternative. Performance numbers certainly point to the side of the 311RS Evo X but the good thing about the Impreza WRX STI is that it’s completely aftermarket worthy. What that means is that even if you do get a stock Impreza, there are plenty of options moving forward on how you can exceed the technical upgrades done on the 311RS Evo X.

 

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source : topspeed.com