No longer the red-headed stepchildren of the car world, hybrids are quickly improving in both design and efficiency. Now, with the introduction of the Volkswagen XL1, the world's first hyper-efficient supercar has arrived. The culmination of eleven years of research and development, the XL1 combines elite materials with environmental consciousness to buck precedent and set the bar for the next generation of vehicles.
From its futuristic fascia to its slickly shaped body, the XL1 has the look of something special. That clean design isn't just to drop your jaw, though -- it's all purpose driven. The body, monocoque, anti-roll bars and single-shell seats are all constructed of CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic), which weighs 50% less than steel and 20% less than aluminum. By offsetting the passenger seat to the side and rear of the driver, VW's engineers enabled an even slimmer, more aerodynamic design; rear wheel covers allow the wind to whip past that slender body with even less drag. And Volkswagen didn't stop there: polycarbonate side windows, light magnesium wheels and a lightweight electrical system also lend to the car's impressively slim 1,753 pounds. The purposeful cabin exhibits the same mindset. Exposed CFRP from the monocoque doubles as interior surfaces, saving the XL1 from the use of more decor materials. Brilliant use of VW's e-Mirror technology further enhances aerodynamics and brings the useful tools of the future to the car's pilot.
The XL1's 268 mpg rating seems like it's missing a decimal point -- it's not. Aerodynamics alone won't produce that sort of game-changing number; much of the vehicle's stunning efficiency stems from its 27 hp electric motor (powered by a 230V, 5.5kWh Lithium-ion battery) mated to a thrifty 0.8-liter aluminum block turbocharged direct-inject engine. Ultra-thin tires keep the rolling resistance low and aid in coasting, an XL1 specialty. A top speed of 94 mph and a 300-mile range put an exclamation point on a vehicle not to be trifled with. By pulling out all the stops, Volkswagen has laid the modern hybrid world at the feet of the XL1. It's a worthy king.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers