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VW's GX3 - redefining the motorcycle

2006-01-06 16:09

The Volkswagen GX3 - click here for photo gallery

The GX3 was conceived by the Moonraker team and VW's Design Center in California, exclusively with the US in mind, to bring an exciting idea to a fully functioning concept.

With its three wheels and unique design, this Volkswagen opens up a new driving dimension.

A motorcycle with VW features: Light, fast, and environmentally friendly, the GX3 shows that conceptually it is much closer to a motorcycle than to a classic type car.

This two-seater Volkswagen is one of a kind - bold, young, and affordable. It opens a new driving dimension, turns even the daily commute to work into a small trip to freedom, and with its keen handling it opens up completely new horizons for recreational driving.

What if performance were affordable?

Amazing dynamics for less than $17 000 (R105 400): The GX3 will be driven by a VW 1.6 litre engine.

The four-cylinder delivers 92kW. So far, so good. However, the GX3 is a pure driving machine, a motorcycle with two seats positioned side-by-side. And that?s why you can find 92kW and 152Nm in a mere 570kg Volkswagen.

This results in a power-to-weight ratio of 4.56kg/PS. In just 5.7 seconds, the GX3 can reach a speed of 100km/h and the possible lateral acceleration reaches 1.25g ? values typical of sheer performance cars but delivered from a vehicle for just over R100 000.

No comparable sports machine in the world, however, can come even close to the low fuel consumption of the GX3: 5.2l per 100km.

All this means a production counterpart to the GX3 could be on the market very soon, depending on driver feedback.

Tradition of the exceptional

Conceptually and visually the Volkswagen GX3 differs from anything currently on the roads in the US, and that's a tradition at Volkswagen.

It was with exceptional and unique products ? today all of them legends ? that Volkswagen propelled itself to the top in the USA during the 50's and 60's.

Whether the Beetle, the Thing (Type 181), or the Microbus, all were the cult cars of their time and still are.

In 2006, with the GX3, Volkswagen once again presents something totally unexpected and exceptional, a VW in every sense. VW - Being different.

Moonraker: The GX3 was designed in close collaboration between VW?s Design Center California (DCC) and an international, cross-functional group of young engineers, designers, manufacturing and marketing experts, also based in California.

The team started its work in the US in early 2005. The job: To convert the wishes, dreams and needs of American drivers into mobility.

The goal: highest possible customer satisfaction. Background: In addition to the models developed in Germany and sold in the US, in the future Volkswagen will be building more models catering especially to the needs and requirements of US customers.

One of the most dramatic and tangible early results: the GX3. Responsible for the design of the new Volkswagen is the Volkswagen Design Studio in Santa Monica.

The team there will be working in the future in close cooperation with the product strategy staffs in the US.

The GX3 offers a look into the exciting and comprehensive spectrum of totally new motor vehicles which are currently being conceptualized by Volkswagen of America for the US market.

What if authenticity had a radical edge?

Design dynamics: The focus for Volkswagen?s design team in California was to create a quintessential and pure driving machine.

Inspired by the minimalist design language often expressed in contemporary GP motorcycles and F1 race cars, the GX3 has a true feeling of authenticity.

These influences are seen throughout the exterior with an exposed single sided swing arm, aggressive central exhaust, open front wheels and stealthy matte finishes.

The progressive dynamic on the GX3 is emphasized with a strong graphic dividing the body as it wraps up to the aggressive forward leaning roll hoops.

Anodized gold and black suspension components and LED lighting are further examples of track inspired designs.

The GX3 interior is all about business with nothing to distract from the absolute driving experience.

The driver?s cockpit is equipped with five point racing harnesses, 'moto' style instruments and a GTI inspired stainless shifter.

Most distinctly, the rear boasts a massive single 18"x12" back wheel dressed with a 315 rubber.

The front end proudly displays a bold V graphic consistent with Volkswagen's vehicle lineup, most notably the GTI.

The GX3 in no way denies that it is a motorcycle, but rather plays it up as a unique design advantage.


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-litre compartment is located behind the seats.

What if driving was redefined?

Advanced chassis: The 215/45 R17x8J front wheels are controlled by a double lateral steering axle.

While the front axle resembles the layout of a car, 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.

And that suits the GX3.

A Volkswagen that breaks away from the conventions and that redefines driving fun and freedom of mobility.

- Global Auto Index


Inside Wheels24

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