Hybrid Sales in US Top 205,000 in 2005
New Technique to Probe Chemical Dynamics of Combustion

VW Unveils GX3: 46mpg Three-Wheeler

The GX3

Volkswagen today introduced its concept GX3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, a three-wheeled, two-seater vehicle it calls a crossover between a motorcycle and sports car. With a 1.6-liter engine, the GX3 offers acceleration from 0–100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and an estimated fuel consumption in the city of 46 mpg (5.2 l/100km).

The four-cylinder gasoline engine delivers 92 kW (125 hp) and 152 Nm of torque. The vehicle, with an estimated price of less than $17,000, itself weighs a mere 1,257 lbs (570 kg).

The 215/45 R17x8J front wheels are controlled by a double lateral steering axle. While the front axle resembles the layout of an automobile, the rear axle shows more parallels to a motorcycle. The right side of the vehicle also makes use of a monoswing arm.

The engine’s power is delivered via 6-speed transmission and chain drive to the rear wheel, which has a tire size of 315/30 R18x12J—a new super bike dimension.

The basic structure of this driving machine is formed by a high-density, warp-resistant, steel construction space frame. The paneling of the interior and exterior parts of the space frame is made of high density fiberglass. An 80-liter trunk trunk is located behind the seats.

Volkswagen says that it will decide whether or not to produce the GX3 based on reaction from consumers.



If it's really & truly available out the door for under $17k, I would buy one in heartbeat. That's gotta be the ultimate commuter vehicle.


What engine? Gasoline? Diesel? Pretty impressive if they can make a 46MPG 1.6L gasoline engine.

Add a roof top and this is an awesome vehicle.

Jon Abbott

Neat vehicle! I only wish it had a plexiglas dome for deflecting rain. Sorry for posting a trackback twice -- b2evolution (the blog software I am using) must've got confused.


This is the right direction.
And looks like a lot of fun to drive.
Need heat and air for the midwest.
For a raido I will plugin my on MP3 ;)



Check out the Ariel Atom. Sort of a 4 wheeled motorcycle that is in production right now in the UK and Oregon. 1300 lb with driver, 160, 220 or 300 hp options and it manages well over 40mpg if you take it easy. On the plus side it goes like nothing this side of a Ferrari Enzo. It really makes you appreciate how bloated even the most basic cars have become.

I hope VW build this little uber tripod although I don't see how they'll get it to pass crash test unless they register it as a motorcycle. In the early part of the 20th century, 3 wheeled cars were very popular in Europe because they could circumvent most taxes meant for cars.


The downside of registering these three-wheelers as motorcycles is that drivers (in the US at least) will have to get motorcycle licenses. I think a lot fewer people will try them out if they have to go to the trouble to get licensed first.


This isn't new at all. There are half a dozen companies that have been converting sports bikes into simular vehicles for years. Such as the T-rex, although for more than $17k.

Getting 46mpg from a 1.6L gasoline engine isn't taht improsive, it's rather easy when the car is under 1300Lbs; and the 3 wheel design allows for a closer to tear-drop shape for better aero.

Peugot has a simular concept car but with 2 wheels in the back (but very close together)

Now, put the civic hybrid drivetrain in one, and it might be interesting. :)


If it's motorcycle, wouldn't drivers have to wear helmet in most states?


Wouldn't you want to wear a helmet? I don't see a windshield. Maybe it is really clean though.

And when will it be available with the 1.5L TDI?

My TDI gets better mileage than that and I have four wheels. I can't do 0 to 60 in 5.7 though, unless you are talking kilometers per hour.


Your TDI also does not pass new car emissions standards in California.


To the guys who mentioned the Ariel Atom and the T-Rex; the difference here is the price. If VW can really sell this for $17k, that'll be a breakthrough. And I suppose maybe they can, given their economies of scale and clout with suppliers that the cottage builders don't have. I guess we'll see.

Jason Marshall

To those concerned about license, helmets:

Like the Merlin, the Sparrow, and many others before it, these three-wheel vehicles tend to get lost in the twilight zone between car and motorcycle regulation.

Generally, you can drive them like a car (including license, and IIRC, no helmet), but many of the manufacturing regulations are closer to that of a motorcycle. Specifically, safety and emissions regulations.

With that in mind, Justin's comments about the TDI not meeting current emissions requirements may not apply, as it's entirely possible that this vehicle doesn't meet them, either. Still, his sentiment is right: Never trust efficiency statistics that are unaccompanied by emissions data.



"The Volkswagen TDI engine passed every emission standard except for nitrogen oxide, Severance said. Rather than improve the technology to bring it into compliance, the auto manufacturer decided to wait until low-sulfur fuel is introduced in 2007. Low-sulfur fuel burns cleaner and will make the entire issue go away. "

Until then californians will have to settle for a dodge or something (Yeah, it's got a hemi).

Justin, do you think the californian system of setting thresholds for several categories and not allowing for excellent perfomance in some to compensate for a poor showing in another category is a good system?

I am glad VW told the californians to stick it rather than making the rest of the nation's cars more expensive.



JRod, yes, i think it is a good system. mitrogen oxides are emissions that need to be under control, and it really makes no difference how good the other stuff is - NOx present a problem on their own regardless of other emissions levels.
i'm pissed, actually, that VW (as opposed to "sticking it" as you say) decided to be lazy and just wait for a different fuel. screw them.



I don't deny nitrogen oxides are emissions needing control. But, do you think it weird that you could get turned down at the Volkswagen dealer for a TDI and you could go buy a Powerstroke instead? They base emissions as a ratio of brake horsepower so it is possible to go for more horsepower and try to keep the NOx from increasing as fast. Is that what we want to encourage?

And I don't agree it makes no difference how good the other stuff is. With a comparable gas motor the diesel gives 30% less CO2, much less CO, less volatile HC, and much lower benzene(unregulated, but believed to be a carcinogen by the state of Cali.). People also claim the diesel is more likely to be running as it was designed(less to tune up) years down the road.

I am not sure I have the math right but it appears the TDI barely misses in the NOx department. Does the state of California have a way of know this additional fraction of NOx is worse than all the other benefits?

Forget the Hemi, I'm getting a Cummins...



haha I think if we all had exact numbers this would make a bit more sense in general...


While I don't think the GX3 will save VW, as a motorcycle owner, I would buy one in a heartbeat and wrote to VW and told them just that. I think there would be a market for it, how large remains to be seen.

Scott Moore

In California, you do not need a motorcycle liscense for a three wheeled bike... but since it is still a motorcycle, it's carpool legal! I will definitely buy one if they make it!

Safety Joe

I think it's the greatest concept I've seen. I want one. I hope VW offers a TDI as an option. All it needs is a 3 cylinder diesel that makes around 60hp or so. Maybe then it'll manage to get 100+mpg. A removable top would be nice too. It definetly needs to be available in bright colors for safety.


I've always liked these light, minimal, vehicles. The Lotus Super-7 has been my favorite since the days of The Prisoner. You may remember that Caterham (licensee of the Super-7) scored 100 mpg with their sports car (basically a 4-wheel motorcycle) a little while back:


The great angle here, if it proves to work, is that 3 wheels might give us a legal path to California licenses. If they have to be a "motorcycle" that's good. It's just too bad we can't have a 4-wheel motorcycle designation for the Lotus/Caterham!

Chad Dailey

Hopefully someone at VW is reading this. I saw the GX3 at the LA Auto Show. I'm more interested in the GX3 than I have been in *any* other vehicle in the past three years. That said, a few things I'd like to see when it hits the streets:

1. Shaft or belt drive. Chain drive is noisy and has high maintenance requirements. This one is a dealbreaker if it can't be done.

2. Flex fuel capable. I live where E85 is available, and I'd prefer the option. A turbo coupled with E85 can lead to some pretty cool performance and economy in an otherwise streetable engine... take note of a particular Sveedish vehicle manufacturer taking advantage of the antiknock characteristics of that fuel and improving the VE of the engine with a turbo... This would be really nice even as an option, but I'd still buy it if it didn't have it.

3. Windshield. I ride my motorcycle any time of the year, except if there is snow and ice on the road. Midwest winters are *cold*, and summer brings lots of grasshoppers. I insist on a windscreen. A top would be nice as an option.

4. A heater, or power receptacles (preferred) that can power heated motorcycle gear. Either will do nicely, perhaps as options.

5. VW reliability of late is definitely in question. If I were to buy this, I will drive it, a *lot*, likely year-round, accumulating 20K miles in each year I own it. It's also likely to see track duty, we have one 2.5 mile road course within 60 miles, and another being built 150 miles away. This must not be a fragile trophy that can't be fully enjoyed.

6. I heard mention of a sound system at LA-A-S, please make it an option at most, the idea does little for me. I'd rather listen to a sweet exhaust note. iPods work fine in a pinch.

One other note, I'm not a VW owner. If the price tag is real, and my concerns are addressed, I will be.

Larry Harts

being 64 i quit riding motorcycles a few years ago , but this GX3 gives me a chance to be 16 again,, i just hope they don't wait too long!!!!!!!!!


Nice idea. I would buy one. Looks fun to drive.

Gary Rubin

Like the BMW C1, unless VW can get around the helmet issue, this beauty won't fly. I would also suggest a windshield that aftermarket companies can design a top for. This could easily become the ultimate 21st century commuter with a few simple modifications.


love it

The comments to this entry are closed.