The VW Geparda has 20hp and strange rear wheels, but all for a good reason

  • The Geparda is a three-wheeler trike based on the Volkswagen Up hatchback
  • It can reach speeds up to 111 km/h (69 mph)
  • The car was designed to let 16-year-old German teens drive a car legally

Published on Apr 01, 2024 at 11:07 AM (UTC+4)
by Siddharth Dudeja

Last updated on Apr 02, 2024 at 6:54 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Nalin Rawat

You cannot drive a regular car in Germany if you’re 16 years old, but this strange Volkswagen Geparda offers a workaround.

Around the world, most people start driving their family cars when they turn 16 and pass the driving test.

However, there are some regulations regarding what an average 16-year-old can drive in Germany.

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To be clear, German teens can drive at 16, but can’t just drive any of the cars that we are used to seeing on the roads.

At 16, teens can get an A1 driving license that lets them drive smaller vehicles like motorcycles and three-wheelers.

While they could wait for another two years, there’s a brand that has a solution to this problem.

Geparda offers the German teens a four-wheel-three-wheeler vehicle, which resembles a regular car.

Confusing, right?

The Volkswagen Geparda is a trike but with four wheels.

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It combines the two rear wheels in the center as if it only has a single wheel in the rear.

As baffling as it may sound, this neat trick is enough to get around the A1 license restrictions in Germany.

It undoubtedly is an unusual modification, but not as bizarre as the car copter.

The ‘Geparda’ name translates to ‘cheetah’ in several languages.

But is it as fast as a cheetah?

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

The tiny hatchback produces close to 20bhp from a 1.0-liter 999cc engine with 5-speed manual transmission.

If you push it to its limit, the car can go up to 111 km/h (69 mph).

Technically, you can drive it on the German Autobahn (motorway), but that would make for a horrifying story.

While the German Autobahn has no speed limit, a car needs to pull off 60 km/h (37 mph) to drive on the highways.

The automaker modified the car’s chassis to add a front stabilizer with rear springs to increase the overall stability of this unique design.

The Volkswagen Geparda begins its journey from a production Volkswagen Up, a regular hatchback car.

After an extensive surgical procedure, you get a Geparda.

Volkswagen has an extensive lineup like this — from cars like the Geparda — to a future ‘Flying Tiger’ electric flying car.


Siddharth Dudeja

Siddharth is a tech nerd with a secret love of all things cars. He has been writing for a few years now, and on his free time you would find him gaming when he's not procrastinating.