PIAGGIO MP3 530 hpe Exclusive (2022 - on) Review
- Range-topping three-wheel maxi-scooter
- More torque, less weight
- Gadgets galore, including reversing camera
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Piaggio has revamped its flagship MP3 scooter for 2022. The new £11,500 530 hpe Exclusive is lighter, has more grunt, a heap more tech and a new look. If you’re not familiar with the quirky Italian, think of it as the three-wheel, single-cylinder equivalent to the king of the luxury performance scoots: the Yamaha TMAX.
Piaggio’s new MP3 530 hpe Exclusive is a maxi-scooter that offers lots of easy speed, practicality, tech, comfort and luxury. It also has the kind of front end grip a two-wheeler can only dream of, which will appeal to commuters and the less experienced. It’s heavy and lacks the playfulness of a conventional scoot, but the confidence the extra wheel brings, especially in tricky conditions, more than makes up for it, although it won’t be for everyone. It’s well equipped but has a slightly plasticky feel and the constant flashing of its blind spot detectors can be distracting in town.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The the MP3’s third wheel is designed to give you extra front-end grip and confidence. It’s a concept that’s gained traction over the years because Piaggio have built 230,000 MP3s since its 2006 release.
It leans through corners like a normal bike, but you can also lock the MP3 upright at a standstill, to save putting your feet down. It’s also classed as a trike, so you can ride it with a just a car licence. That said, it acts and feels like a motorcycle (Piaggio claims a top speed of 90mph), so you’d be wise to get some training in first.
Compared to the 500 version it replaces, the new 530 has lost 7kg thanks to lighter front suspension components, but it still weighs a monstrous 280kg (heavier than a BMW R1250GS Adventure).
During its world launch in Paris, the home of two and three-wheel scoots, it rains from start to finish, but that plays to its strengths. The sensation of such a heavy front end takes some getting used to at first, but it doesn’t take long before you’re leaning hard into wet tarmac in way a single front wheel couldn’t hope to manage. Despite its size it’ll filter through all but the narrowest of gaps, too.
Piaggio have uprated the brakes, from discs to master cylinder, By-Bre calipers and ABS. They work well enough, but ultimately lack the power you’d like for spirted riding. It also pulls slightly to one side on uneven surfaces. As well as front and rear brake levers it also has a foot brake to satisfy its trike status (as well as having its front wheels a certain distance apart). New wheels (13in front, 14in back) are shod with Michelin City Grip 2 rubber, which do the job, but could be better in the wet and ride quality could be plusher, too.
All that said, experience tells us that the big MP3 comes alive on faster, drier roads.
EngineNext up: Reliability
As before Piaggio’s range-topper is powered by a single cylinder engine producing 44bhp. It now makes a bhp more, delivered 500rpm lower in the revs and there’s 2lb-ft more torque, all thanks to a flurry of engine mods.
Bored out from 493cc to 530cc it has a new cylinder head, a lighter ali piston, larger valves, a new cam and combustion chamber shape. Valve check service intervals have been extended to 12,000 miles.
An updated ride-by-wire system includes a Magneti Marelli 11MP ECU - the same as you’ll find on Aprilia’s latest sportsbikes, three riding modes (ECO, Comfort, Sport) and non-lean sensitive traction control and ABS, which come in handy several times on often-slippery Parisian streets.
As well as a decent top whack, the MP3 accelerates with vigour from the lights (quicker than the old 500, they say) but despite having similar power to the 220kg TMAX on paper (the Yamaha’s 562cc parallel twin makes 47bhp and 41lb-ft of torque) its extra weight dampens the performance. But what oomph it has is delivered nicely via its smooth twist-and-go CVT gearbox.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It’s well-built although it feels a little plasticky, but previous models have proved to be trouble free and they’ve got a huge following in Europe.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
It isn’t cheap, but big Piaggios have proved to be dependable. It’s costs less than the £12,700 Yamaha TMAX Tech Pack (the only version they bring into the UK), although it doesn’t quite have the same quality feel or level of standard spec.
There will be a cheaper 35bhp MP3 400 HPE Sport version (£9800), which has all the same update, but does without the reverse gear/camera and cruise control. That’s slightly more expensive than its closest three-wheel rivals the £8100 Yamaha Tricity 300 and £8999 Peugeot Metropolis Allure.
Maxi scooters are built to relax on and the new MP3 is no different. The seat won’t destroy your derriere after a day’s ride and with bars pulled up and back by 10mm and 20mm lower footboards it’s roomy for tall riders. Piaggio says pillion comfort is improved, too.
New bodywork is more aerodynamic and the tall non-adjustable screen reshaped for better weather protection, but it’s a shame it can’t be lowered for town work especially in the rain. There are some unashamed car design cues, too with the supercar rear lights (quite Mondeo-ish, actually) and ‘diffusers’.
There’s space for two small helmets under the seat, or one full face plus change and other practicalities include keyless ignition/seat/fuel flap, cruise control, a USB charger, LED lights, a colour dash, new switchgear, blind sport detectors and reverse gear, all of which perfectly.
Accessories include everything from a keyless 52 litre top box to heated grips and riding kit when the Piaggio goes on sale at the end of the summer
Like the latest Yamaha TMAX the 530 has a 7in colour dash, laden with functions (some gimmicky) and connectivity, controlled by new switchgear and joystick.
Reverse gear operated by the starter button is carried over from the old model, but the new 530 has a reversing camera – handy for backing up with a pillion.
Rear radar triggers dash’s blind spot detector lights and warns not to overtake if a vehicle approaches quickly from behind, but the system can be distracting.
Accessories include everything from a keyless 52 litre top box to heated grips and riding kit when the Piaggio goes on sale at the end of the summer.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4v, single|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||13.7 litres|
|Front suspension||Twin shocks non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Twin shocks adjustable for preload|
|Front brake||2 x 258mm front discs with twin-piston By-Bre calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm disc with single-piston caliper ABS|
|Front tyre size||Front tyre size 110/70 x 13|
|Rear tyre size||140/70 x 14|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||74 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£73|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||44 bhp|
|Max torque||37 ft-lb|
|Top speed||90 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||224 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2022: MP3 530 hpe introduced. Replaces MP3 Sport Advanced 500. Bigger engine, more grunt, less weight, new styling, ergonomics and updated electronics including a 7in colour dash, blind spot detectors and reversing camera.
- MP3 Sport 300
- MP3 400 hpe Sport
Owners' reviews for the PIAGGIO MP3 530 (2022 - on)
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