Piaggio Grows MP3 Family in 2008

Bigger Engines in Innovative Three-Wheelers

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Feb. 04, 2008
Italian manufacturer Piaggio launched a revolution in the personal transportation category when it rewrote the rules with the three-wheel MP3 250 scooter. For 2008, the company offers  two all-new MP3 models, the MP3 500 and MP3 400 maxi scooters. Based on the trademark technical innovations of the MP3 250 , the higher-displacement MP3 500 and 400 offer riders the added benefit of high-performance four-stroke engines, aggressive styling and a new level of premium safety, comfort and convenience equipment. The newest MP3 models are ready for "Americas highways and byways," according to Piaggio.

All MP3 models feature Piaggios innovative three-wheel configuration. Unique in the category, each MP3 delivers stability, grip and parking ease thanks to two independent tilting, articulated front wheels and an electro-hydraulic suspension locking system that allows the scooter to remain locked upright while at a standstill. With a 40-degree lean angle, every MP3 delivers "delivers maneuverability, agility and entertainment of a motorcycle."

Here are a few of the details:

New for 2008 MP3 500: Racy, Revved and Ready to Go

Whether effortlessly carving through a set of twisties or confidently navigating pockmarked urban terrain, the 2008 MP3 500 is the personal transportation choice most likely to get your adrenaline into high-rev mode. Distinguished by top-of-the-line performance and aggressive styling, the MP3 500 has the strongest appetite for aggressive riding of the three available models.

Even standing still, the MP3 500 looks ready for action. A double steel tube bumper with metal mesh inserts give the vehicle a rugged look, as do a sleek black metal handlebar and black ten-spoke wheel rims. A five-lamp headlight unit is not only visually striking, but highly functional the two biggest head lamps are equipped with off-road-style shockproof covers. But, despite its race-inspired design, the MP3 500 doesnt skimp on rider comfort. From an aerodynamically efficient front fairing to a wide, comfortable footrest panel, generous seat and handy rear rack, the MP3 500 offers total riding comfort to both the rider and passenger.

The new 500cc version of Piaggio's ground-breaking scooter looks aggressive and fun.

At the heart of the MP3 500s performance is a liquid-cooled, electronically-injected 492.7cc four-stroke powerplant with peak horsepower of 40 hp at 7,250 rpms. The MP3 500s torque curve is ideal for strong, smooth acceleration with plenty of power available at low and mid-range revs. A peak 31.12 ft.-lb. of torque is available at 5,550 rpm. With a top speed of 89 mph, this maxi scooter is ready to go but it will do so with minimum noise and reduced emissions, thanks to its twin spark system.

Strong performance potential depends on an equally strong chassis and superior brakes and the MP3 meets all the criteria. The MP3s innovative parallelogram front suspension technology provides category-leading stability and impeccable road holding, while large 240 mm triple steel disk brakes ensure fast stopping power. The MP3 requires 20% less braking distance than best-in-class two-wheel scooters.

The 2008 MP3 500 is available for a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of $8,899. Color choices include Passion Red and Demon Black. A full range of travel and security accessories, including a Tom-Tom satellite navigation system, are available.

New for 2008 MP3 400: An All-Around Long Distance Performer

Train tracks, rough road, miles of slick pavement, parking on steep hill bring it on. The 2008 MP3 400 is the maxi scooter of choice for anyone who believes that personal transportation should be flexible enough to handle short jaunts, high-traffic commutes and long, leisurely rides with equal aplomb.

Because the MP3 400 has been designed to meet the everyday needs of owners, every element of the scooter has been maximized for rider comfort, safety and convenience. Storage onboard is plentiful, including an exceptionally large underseat storage bay that can hold up to two full-face helmets. Add any number of accessories, such as a roomy top box, tall windscreen or Tom-Tom Navigation and the MP3 400 serves virtually any riding purpose. When you consider power, convenience, safety, fuel economy and fun, there is no doubt the MP3 400 is the ultimate commuting vehicle.

The MP3 400s excellent performance begins with its 398.9ccc liquid-cooled, electronically injected four-stroke powerplant. The four-valve single puts out a maximum of 34 hp at 7,500 rpm, with peak torque of 27.3 ft.-lb. at just 5,000 rpm. With power and torque fully available at low revs, accelerating and passing are a breeze. While the MP3 400 is happy to chew up highway miles all day long, theres always quick burst of power on tap for sporty maneuvers in challenging traffic conditions.

Thanks to the new engine and a large 14-inch rear wheel, the MP3 400 has a 65mm longer wheelbase than the MP3 250 for superior stability in fast curves or during hard braking.

Like its MP3 siblings, the MP3 400s innovative character comes from the original Piaggio parallelogram suspension design. The unique tilt mechanism that allows the two front wheels to function independently is composed of four cast aluminum arms, with four hinges fixed to the central tube. Two guide tubes are on either side of the parallelogram, connected to the arms via suspension pins and ball bearings.

The 2008 MP3 400 is available for a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of $8,699. Color choices include Cortina Gray and Midnight Blue.

The 2008 MP3 250 is available for a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of $7,199. Color choices include Passion Red and Graphite Black.