The super-frugal XL1 plug-in hybrid has stepped out of Volkswagen's science fiction-fuelled fantasies and into the world of the real, this week.
Revealed as a concept in 2011, the XL1 was seen as a technology showcase, previewing a production-bound powertrain and offering a stylised glimpse at new design features.
Few would have expected the concept to make the leap into showrooms without a single change to its futuristic styling - but that is precisely what Volkswagen has delivered here.
Bound for next month's Geneva Motor Show, the final XL1 will enter production in Germany later this year, although a run of just 50 models is planned for now.
The XL1 is powered by a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid system, and according to Volkswagen, it is capable of returning fuel consumption figures of just 0.9 l/100km.
The engine in that equation is a 0.8 litre two-cylinder diesel, mated to an electric motor and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.
On its own, the diesel offers just 35kW of power, but the electric motor adds a further 20kW. Together, the system propels the XL1 to 100km/h in around 12.7 seconds.
Those futuristic lines also play a part in the XL1's incredible economy, contributing to a slippery 0.186 coefficient of drag. The car's weight is another factor, coming in at just 795kg thanks to a liberal use of carbon fibre.
The XL1 measures a compact 3.88 metres long and 1665mm wide, and offers seating for just two occupants, side-by-side but in a slightly offset position.
The ultra-green city car also features gullwing doors for ease of access, and a camera-based rearview mirror system instead of side mirrors - another contributor to the XL1's slippery aerodynamics.
Will we see this one in Australia? Don't hold your breath, but the XL1 is surely a sign of things to come.
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