Thursday, March 16, 2006

GX3 Headed to Production

Text from Inside Line. Photos courtesy of Christa Lehman/Hidden Image






LOS ANGELES — At the recent Los Angeles auto show in January, Volkswagen had a most unusual concept car on display — a three-wheeler or trike called GX3.

Until now it was a question of how the show car would be accepted by the public, and apparently the acceptance was good. Because here are first prototype pictures of the road-going version, caught during secret testing at Lotus in England, which is quite a sensation.

It is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine delivering 125 horsepower. Due to the light weight of the vehicle it is almost as fast as a Porsche 911. The GX3 accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, fuel consumption is 1.4 gallons/62 miles and top speed is 124 mph. It has rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

However, while a Porsche costs $71,300 in the U.S., the GX3 could be available at $17,000. A cooperation between Volkswagen and Lotus — the latter owned by Proton, Malaysia — could mean that the odd three-wheeler made by Volkswagen and Proton-Lotus is meant to be sold not only in the U.S. but worldwide.

The test car on the photos is in various ways different from the concept model. It is furthermore equipped with different types of alloy wheels for testing plus two extra supporting wheels on the side.

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