Three wheel scooter with reverse gear and radar

Dhe newest, most expensive MP3 from Piaggio is an amazing thing and raises questions. One of them: Does a scooter need a reversing camera? Quantum Leap or Nonsense? We want to hold back with a judgment for the time being. Everyone may decide that for themselves. And try it out. This MP3 with its three wheels and the track width of 465 millimeters can also be driven in Germany with a car driver’s license, provided that you are at least 21 years old.

So you sit on it and flip the toggle switch that activates the reverse drive function. The live image from the rear camera appears immediately on the new seven-inch TFT screen. Distance displays in green, yellow and red are also displayed. Red means: Not a centimeter further, indicator pointing.

For electric reversing, the starter button is now pressed and held. Starting off is jerky, the rest is smooth. Because the tilting technology of the two front wheels can be locked, you can even leave both feet on the running boards when maneuvering backwards, whereby the ground should be reasonably level so that MP3 and driver don’t stumble. That was already the case with the predecessor MP3 500, the first of its kind with reverse gear. Piaggio has also given the MP3 530 hpe Exclusive, which will be available in stores these days at a price of 13,300 euros, the reversing camera.

Non-slip: It doesn't have to be rain, but if it does, then with a tricycle that also offers decent weather protection.

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Piaggio MP3 530

It is not the only innovation. The three-wheeler has been completely revised, according to the Italian two-wheeler group, which established a new category of scooters with the original MP3 in 2006 and has since sold around 230,000 units in different displacement classes. It is the most technically complex vehicle in Piaggio’s history.

That shouldn’t be an exaggeration. In addition to the reversing aid and camera, the 530 is equipped with a radar module at the rear, which monitors what is happening behind the scooter when it is moving forward. The rectangular radar box below the rear light and camera eye forms the basis for the blind spot warning system and the lane change assistant. Both are made noticeable by light signals on the cockpit screen. Do you need that? It works well from our first impressions and is certainly helpful, but not a full replacement for the over-the-shoulder look. According to Piaggio, the group’s Boston-based robotics subsidiary was responsible for the development of the radar monitoring, which calculates bank angles when cornering. The MP3 is built at the headquarters in Pontedera near Florence.

Choice of three driving modes

Our first test ride took place in the pouring rain, and especially under adverse conditions with slippery roads, you always appreciate the safety plus of a tricycle. The 530 Exclusive weighs a whopping 280 kilos, powered by the four-valve single-cylinder, the displacement of which has been increased from 493 to 530 cubic centimetres. The peak power remained the same – 44 hp at 7250 instead of 7750 rpm – the maximum torque grew by 2 to 50 Nm at 5250 rpm. This gets the chunk up to speed, according to the approval it reaches a top speed of 145 km/h and thanks to electronic throttle valve control (Ride by Wire) you can now choose between three driving modes, each with adapted traction control.

The three-wheeler will no longer be a classic beauty, but in our opinion the dusted-off design makes a giant leap into the present. What will advance the luxury MP3 in everyday life is the newly designed windshield, which offers excellent weather protection, the revised, upright, relaxed sitting position, the large, illuminated storage space under the seat, the more comfortably positioned parking brake lever, the cruise control, the keyless system for ignition, seat and fuel cap. The smartphone compartment behind the windscreen can be reached quickly and easily. A light sensor regulates the brightness of the TFT display. Any amount of infotainment can be mirrored into the cockpit using a smartphone app, including navigation instructions. Weak and no longer up-to-date for a not exactly cheap piece of technology: The turn signals do not switch off automatically, heated grips and seats cost extra.

Then maybe one size smaller? If you can do without a few horsepower, driving modes, radar and camera eye, Piaggio offers an alternative with the likewise newly designed MP3 400 hpe, which is 20 kilos lighter, either as a basic model for 10,800 euros or in the sports version for 11,300. According to the data sheet, the 399 cc engine delivers 35 hp, 38 Nm and 135 km/h and, according to the standard, is content with 3.8 liters of petrol per 100 kilometers (530: 4.0 liters). He can also go backwards – if you push.

Which brings us back to the beginning. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter whether we think a reversing camera is useful or superfluous. Demand from customers, the Piaggio people assert. Well then.


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