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Volkswagen’s GX3: a loss or a disaster?

The Volkswagen GX3 looks like a three-wheeled hornet from another planet -- at least that’s what its detractors say about it.

Despite its appearance however, the Volkswagen G3 is considered a radical ride. It was first unveiled last January 2006, could have reach production at the end of that same year and reached dealers spring of 2007. Unfortunately its detractors prevailed; it only took eleven hours for them to magically banish the GX3, never to return again. The big question is: Was the GX3 a loss or a disaster?

The GX3 is one of Volkswagen’s vehicles were users can lie down with both legs comfortably stretched out in the long tunnel leading to the narrow pedal box. Its five-point seatbelt straps you into the thinly padded bucket, which has a fixed backrest and side bolsters. It doesn’t have handlebars, a hand-operated clutch, and a twist-grip throttle, which are common to other vehicles instead it has foot pedals for the clutch and the brakes, a gear lever located between the seats, and a tiny, suede-rimmed steering wheel that looks and feels as if it came from a racing car.

It has an engine that delivers only 80 of the promised 125hp and in fairness to Volkswagen it has equipped the GX3 with high quality auto parts like Volkswagen ball joints that are meets the high standard set by the automaker for its vehicles. The steering rack is from the Lotus Elise, and the brakes are adapted from VW's European-market Golf and Polo.

Lotus has also had a hand in the GX3’s unequal-length control arm front suspension. The front tires are pretty standard at 215/45WR-17, but the single rear semi-slick is a 315/30YR-18. The fourteen-spoke aluminum rear wheel is located on a lightweight, single-sided swing arm with a compact coil-over damper. And in order to cut cost or for some other reasons, the German automaker has opted for a chain to relay power to the rear wheel despite the fact that a driveshaft would have been classier and a belt would have been quieter.

Originally, Volkswagen planned to market the GX3 as a motorcycle as its entry to high-occupancy vehicle lanes despite the fact that the footprint of the GX3 is closer to that of a car. The GX3 is a two-seater vehicle measuring 73 inches wide, 148 inches long, and four feet tall. It rides on a 106-inch wheelbase and sports a broad 64-inch front track, which supposedly makes it perfect for weaving through busy traffic.

The experience that the GX3 conveys is as intimate as that offered by the conventional motorcycles. This means that once you ride on the GX3 you can really sense the detailed texture of the road surface and noticed even the tiniest irregularities which help you to watch out for gravel, puddles, and diagonal seams. You also learn to dodge potholes and avoid transverse ridges.

The GX3 is the only vehicle that could make evenly smooth looking asphalt road uneven and expect also for longitudinal grooves to bounce you off course without warning. Conversely crests, expansion joints, manhole covers, and crosswinds are also liable to seriously deflect the flight path---in fairness again to Volkswagen all the aforementioned untoward incidents only happens at sports car speed. And according to the automaker the GX3 can pull up to 1.25g of lateral force enough to cause you heart attack and your cheeks to wobble.

The GX3 is likened to a high-tech soapbox, its flyweight and weighs 1257 pounds when empty meaning no occupants on board. To provide it with a balanced side weight distribution, the fuel tank, the 2.8-cubic-foot cargo cubicle, the swing arm, and the battery are all situated on the passenger's side of the vehicle. And according to Volkswagen the GX3 can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds made possible by its 125hp, 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. The automaker also added that it can achieve a top speed of 125 mph and an average fuel consumption of 45 mpg.

About the Author: Growing up with three brothers, Natalie Anderson became exposed early to the world of automobiles. This 29-year-old account manager now dreams of having her very own top-of-the-line vintage car.

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