The Polaris Slingshot three-wheeler is not for shrinking violets

I hope curiosity for curiosity’s sake is sufficient reason to drive a car. In this case not even a car, not technically. With only three wheels, the Polaris Slingshot counts as a motorcycle when it comes to federal motor vehicle requirements, but it gets treated like a car by many state DMVs. This dichotomy has given birth to other unconventional fare like Arcimoto or Electra Meccanica’s trikes. But unlike either of those, Slingshot isn’t electric; I really did say “yes” to the press loan out of sheer curiosity.

I see Slingshots being driven in DC relatively often. Usually in the summer. Once, memorably, a double-file convoy of at least 20 went down Massachusetts Ave. in better grid formation than you’d ever see at the start of a Le Mans or NASCAR race. With “The Imperial March” playing. Loudly. Like I said, I got curious.

I know saying that a vehicle looks like nothing else is a cliche, and it’s not really true anyway. The Slingshot’s layout is front-engined and rear-wheel drive, as practiced by other manufacturers like the Morgan 3 Wheeler and the Grinnall Scorpion. Instead of a lightweight motorcycle engine, the Slingshot uses a 2.4L GM Ecotec engine which makes it a good deal heavier than either of those (although at 1,749lbs (791kg) it’s still much, much lighter than anything else you’ll encounter on the road). The Slingshot has pedals—three of them, including a clutch for the five-speed manual transmission. Because it’s a bike, the engine’s 177hp (132kW) and 166lb-ft (225Nm) is transmitted to the rear wheel by a belt, not a driveshaft. It even has traction and stability control.

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Source: Ars Technica

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