Behind the wheel at 16 – Aixam Coupe S

A new European standard licence is coming in next year called the AE licence which means that 16 year olds will be able to get behind the wheel of what is deemed a ‘light quadricycle’

Aixam who have already been selling cars in the UK via motorcycle dealerships in the UK are going to be one of the first to launch a vehicle that will be legal for 16 year olds to drive and it’s called the Aixam Coupe S.

I got the chance to have a look round the Aixam Coupe S at the launch of the ‘car’ being held at motorcycle live in Birmingham. From the outside it just looks like Aixam models I have seen in the past driving around the roads in the rest of Europe where have been on sale for a number of years.

To appeal to the youth market the Aixam has alloy wheels, a white roof and bonnet stripes while further personalisation options are on the way.

Inside at first look it seems like very low budget city car from a number of years ago but when you touch the dashboard and feel it flex with shut lines appearing all over the place you realise that despite the leather and the alloys on this model it feels like it’s made of yoghurt pots. This is because the Aixam Coupe S has to remain light not exceeding a weight restriction of 350kg to comply with regulations. It has two seats and a boot which is actually pretty big.

The gear leaver sticking up in the middle has three modes with forwards, backwards and reverse it needn’t be more complicated as the car is belt driven which I assume means it will go just as fast in reverse as it will forwards. This will not be that much of an exciting feature though as the car is restricted to 28mph under the rules of the AE licence.

Under the bonnet is a 400cc Kubota diesel engine which is not allowed to exceed a power output restriction of 5.6hp. While the Aixam coupe is very slow, light and feels cheap it will apparently achieve 95mpg.

So how much does this quadricycle cost? £9,995 + VAT and additional costs and the insurance for a 16 year old is likely to cost around £2000.

So you’ve spent £12,000 to get into something that does 28mph and can only take two people. Is it really that hard to just wait one year?

I remember when I was 16 looking at the possibilities of buying a Piaggio Ape 50cc but then after realising it was a bit crap and that when I got to 17 I would have no money left to buy an actual car I saw sense and bought a cheap second hand moped instead.

The new AE licence comes into effect from the 19th January 2013.