3 times Volkswagen did something revolutionary

VW are greater pioneers than we may initially think

6w ago

When someone mentions the brand 'Volkswagen', the average person automatically thinks of boring family cars owned by everyone and their dog. But what they are forgetting is the many times VW has been revolutionary – and it's more times than you think.

The word 'revolution' is defined in the dictionary as being 'any sudden or grand change'. These aren't often things which you'd associate with Volkswagen, but here are three times they proved the cynics wrong.

The Beetle

While, for some people, the Beetle bears a lot of shame, most people see it as a defining moment in automotive history. It was a car that changed the world forever in more ways than it initially intended to. The Beetle was first created by Ferdinand Porsche (under Hitler's command) during the second world war as a way to create an affordable car for German workers.

Porsche's mission was simple. He had to design and make a simple, economical vehicle for the people – and he succeeded. Between 1949 and the end of its production in 2003, the original Beetle made Volkswagen a lot of money – selling over 21 million units.

It may not have been the first German car ever made, in fact, it was far from it, but it was the beginning of the 'people's car' in Europe and helped to put Germany on Ford's radar as valid rivals.

The XL1

Ultimate economy and good looks don't often walk hand in hand. If you look back at some of the world's most economical vehicles, you will notice a trend – they are all ugly... except for this one.

The Volkswagen XL1 is a car that made economical driving cool. It was a thing that made people realise you didn't have to drive a boring hatchback or estate in order to reduce the number of times you fuel up.

Powering the XL1 is a two-cylinder, mid-mounted 800cc diesel engine producing 50hp alongside an electric motor that adds an extra 27hp. This set-up allowed Volkswagen to squeeze a staggering (quoted) 313mpg out of the XL1 – a figure only diesel lovers could dream of.

It wasn't a quick car or a particularly practical car, but it was one that could outlast most other vehicles on the road and looked good while doing so. However, seeing one on the road is very unlikely because only 250 units were ever made at around £80,000 a piece.

The ID.3

Before you start angrily typing your hatred for EVs in the comments, hear me out. The VW ID.3 is a car that has literally flipped the company on its head and is paving the way for its future as an electric car company.

The ID.3 is the first dedicated EV Volkswagen has made, sharing no parts with other vehicles from its current range. When the time eventually comes, the ID.3 will take over from the Golf as being the brand's flagship family car and that is no bad thing.

It has been engineered in such a way that makes it almost future proof. Being a first-generation car, it has room to grow but will also remain relevant in years to come as more and more people move away from the Golf and onto this. I am not trying to totally disregard the Golf, but it is beginning to become outdated and the latest mk8 GTI hasn't been as well-received as previous generations.

The ID.3 marks a new beginning for VW and is a way to turn over a new leaf and move away from its diesel-gated past which rests so heavily on its emissions-cheating shoulders.

What do you think is the most revolutionary thing VW has done?

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Comments (23)

  • The ID3 isn't revolutionary in anyway.

      1 month ago
  • I thought the Bugatti Veyron was fairly revolutionary, too.

      1 month ago
  • I disagree with your list. The Beetle was a copy of a Czech car (it did sell incredibly well and was one of the first cheap cars, but I wouldn’t call it revolutionary because of that, even thought the Tatra was a very different type of car). The XL1 fair enough was fairly revolutionary, but it didn’t catch on. As far as I can tell the ID3 is just another EV; perhaps important for Volkswagen as a company but not in the grand scheme of things

      1 month ago
  • What about the revolutionary emissions thing

      1 month ago
  • Free from any hatred and prejudice to EV - the ID range is nothing revolutionary. Maybe good EV cars for those who like it, but just a VW's interpretation on that market demand. A Nissan Leaf of their own.

    XL1 - yes, it's a 1 liter car, but to call something revolutionary, it must catch on and shuffle the market cards - the XL1 was set soon to oblivion, noone remembers it, nor it has done anything to the automotive world in along the next few years. Actually, the diesel hype ended pretty badly for VW.

    As I have quite a respect for VW - revolutionary moments for automotive history would be the GTI hype around the Mk1 Golf, that spun off a whole car culture around it and still pushing hard.

    Also, Veyron is a 'Concorde' moment - after that, whole new realm of performance limits opened for automotive world and today we have that top end buzzing with all sorts of machines trying to match it or beat it.

      1 month ago