Ever since we first heard about it over two years ago, the Elio has captured a lot of peoples' imaginations. Not only does the three-wheeled two-seater look pretty cool, but its manufacturers promise great fuel economy, peppy performance, and a sub-$7,000 price tag. Now, Elio Motors has unveiled the latest prototype of the vehicle, the P5.

The big change with this version is a 60-hp 0.9-liter 3-cylinder front-mounted engine, which was custom-made for Elio Motors. The engine (on its own) was unveiled in Michigan earlier this year. By contrast, previous prototypes were equipped with off-the-shelf engines.

Performance figures still remain about the same.

Buyers can reportedly expect 55 ft lb (75 Nm) of torque, a top speed of over 100 mph (161 km/h), and a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of under 10 seconds. The car – which is actually classed as a motorcycle – should also still deliver 84 mg (2.8 l/100km) on the highway, and 49 mpg (4.8 l/100km) in the city.

When company founder and CEO Paul Elio unveiled the P5 this Thursday at the LA Auto Show, he gave several reasons for no longer going with a third-party engine. Among these were the need to meet production volume, avoiding the extra costs that would have to be passed along to consumers, and the ability to have the engine designed to precisely fit the needs of the vehicle.

The dashboard, incidentally, is also now being made specifically for the company.

Elio Motors is sticking with its target price of US$6,800, and hopes to begin deliveries in the fourth quarter of next year … although it has failed to meet such deadlines at least once before.

Source: Elio Motors

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