The Volkswagen GX3 was a concept car created by Volkswagen. The GX3 was first shown at the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. It was considered a very unusual concept since it was three-wheeled and sometimes considered more of a motorcycle concept than a concept car.
The design of the GX3 was atypical, with the fact that it used a front double wishbone suspension. The GX3 was made out of a tubular steel spaceframe and laminated body panels. The exterior design was one of a kind, with it being a two-seat, three-wheeled vehicle. It lacked a roof or windshield, and was intended mainly for fair-weather environments, as a “weekend car”. The design of the interior was very minimalist and entirely functional.
There was considerable speculation as to possible production of the GX3; Volkswagen fueled this with the announcement that production would depend on the public reaction to the concept. However, in spite of the energetic and overwhelmingly positive public response to the concept, and intensive chassis development by Lotus Cars for production, Volkswagen later concluded that it would not be able to sell the GX3 without costly and complex redesigns that would alienate VW’s target market and increase price above the proposed US$17,000 base price. The company cited possible safety issues that could lead to product-liability lawsuits and decided that the legal concerns made production as-is impossible.
Pure affordable performance: Crossover between sports car and motorcycle. It only takes 5.7 seconds to go from 0-62.5 mph (100 km/h) and the fuel consumption in the city is estimated to be 46 mpg (5.2 l/100 km). GX3 was conceived for the U.S. by the Moonraker team and VW’s Design Center in California.
Three wheels, two seats, and off you go in the carpool lane
Wolfsburg / Los Angeles, 4 January 2006. In a world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen presents the GX3 – a completely new type of motorcycle. The GX3 was conceived by the Moonraker team and VW’s Design Center in California, exclusively with the U.S. 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.
What if you could carve up the back roads and cruise solo in the carpool lane?
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 automobile. 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, allows you to cruise in the carpool lane, even if you’re driving solo (the GX3 is a motorcycle, after all!) 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: The GX3 will be driven by a VW 1.6 liter engine. The four-cylinder delivers 92 kW / 125 hp. 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 125 hp and 112.5 ft-lbs (152 Nm) in a mere 1,257 lbs (570 kg) Volkswagen. This results in a power-to-weight ratio of 10 lbs/hp (4.56 kg/PS). In just 5.7 seconds, the GX3 can reach a speed of 62.5 mph (100 km/h) and the possible lateral acceleration reaches 1.25g – values typical of sheer performance cars but delivered from a vehicle under the $17,000 price range. No comparable sports machine in the world, however, can come even close to the low fuel consumption of the GX3: 46 mpg (5.2 l/100 km). Fact is: a production counterpart of the GX3, could be on the market very soon. It all depends on the American driver’s feedback.
Tradition of the exceptional: Conceptually and visually the Volkswagen GX3 differs from anything currently on the roads in the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
Space-Frame: 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. A 2.83 tf3 (80 liters) trunk is located behind the seats.
Advanced chassis: 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. And that suits the GX3. A Volkswagen that breaks away from the conventions and that redefines driving fun and freedom of mobility. Drivers wanted. Seriously!
Body framing – Tubular steel frame, laminated body panels
Length – 147.8 in (3,753 mm)
Width – 72.8 in (1,850 mm)
Height – 47.6 in (1,210 mm)
Track – 64.2 in (1,630 mm)
Wheelbase – 106.3 (2,700 mm)
Ground clearance – 5.1 in (130 mm) empty, 3.5 in (90 mm) fully loaded
Weight – approx. 1257 lbs (570 kg) w/o driver
Weight distribution – 59 : 41 (front : rear)
Rollover protection – Aluminum, mounted on frame
Luggage compartment – 80 liters (behind the seats)
Type of engine / Installation position – 1.6l / 4 cyl./ rear transversal mounted
Power – 125 hp (125 PS/92 kW) @ 6.500 rpm
Torque – 112.5 ft-lbs (152 Nm) @ 3.000 rpm
Power/Weight-Ratio – 10 lbs/hp (4.56 kg/PS)
Fuel mileage – 46 mpg (5,2l/100km)
Gearbox – Six-speed manual
Drive concept – Chain drive to rear wheel
Front axle – Double wishbone, coil-over-dampener
Rear axle – Aluminum mono swingarm, coil-over-dampener
Front tires – 215/45 R17x8J
Rear tire – 315/30 R18x12J
0-62.5 mph / 0-100 km/h – 5.7 s
Lateral acceleration – 1.25g
Top Track Speed – 125 mph (200 km/h)