Referred to colloquially as a "shuttle", "skycar", or "aircar", the X3M is a contragravity speeder designed for transporting individuals in metropolises and space stations. Shuttles are compartmentalized into a pilot/passenger compartment and a propulsive drive compartment. In the pilot/passenger compartment, there are four seats with one of them reserved for the pilot. From either the forward left or right seat, a pilot controls the shuttle's movements through the use of a haptic adaptive interface. The canopy of the shuttle is divided into two sections - a central section which lifts up, and a clamshell door. The windows of the vehicle can be darkened for the privacy of the passengers. Due to the limited storage space, passengers are limited to what they can carry or store on their bodies. Rear of this compartment, there is the propulsive drive powered by a mass effect field.
A shuttle can travel over 7 kilometers every 10 minutes. The relative slowness and short length of these vehicles permits a pilot to navigate or park in a confined space. X3Ms have shown the capacity to move forward, ascend or descend, or make turns. These shuttles require a small landing zone.
X3Ms are used by Rapid Transit for transporting passengers to stations in the Presidium and Wards. These shuttles were publicly owned, and there were biotic amps and weapon restrictions placed onto passengers for the safety of themselves and others. For example, a turian wouldn't be allowed to board a shuttle if he had in his possession a 15-centimeter serrated knife. Shuttles were scheduled for departure from a transit depot every 10 minutes. Rights-of-way and flight routes for inbound and outbound travel have been established for the safe passage of shuttles.
X3Ms are stored at transport depots. These depots are stops on flight paths established within the confines of Omega. Commander Shepard's team uses the shuttles for the missions Dossier: Archangel. Some X3Ms are privately owned by individuals, for example Archangel, and are stored in a garage in a private residence.
On Illium, the bulk of traffic in cities like Nos Astra consists of X3Ms; hundreds if not thousands of the vehicles can be seen moving in orderly lanes throughout Nos Astra. The shuttles are used in the missions Dossier: The Justicar, Dossier: The Assassin, Miranda: The Prodigal, and Lair of the Shadow Broker.
There are a few known models of the X3M:
- Tess Auburn 2166 aircar - Amul Shastri was gifted one.
- C-111 Skyline Shuttle - seen parked at the balcony of the monastery on Lesuss.
- Mark II 2187 Blackout - capable of 650 clicks, barely considered road legal.
- Esquiran sporting shuttle - a turian design with unmatched acceleration and peerless maneuvering.
- Elkoss Sapphire family skycar - Samara owned one but relinquished it upon joining the Justicar order.
- Dossier: The Professor
- Dossier: Archangel
- Dossier: The Justicar
- Dossier: The Assassin
- Miranda: The Prodigal
- Garrus: Eye for an Eye
- Thane: Sins of the Father
- Kasumi: Stealing Memory
- Lair of The Shadow Broker
- Citadel: Dr. Bryson
- Citadel: Leviathan II
- Citadel: Leviathan III
- Citadel: Aria T'Loak
- According to The Art of Mass Effect, on page 73, Bioware originally envisioned the contragravity speeder as a possible candidate for the M35 Mako.
- There are flatbed truck versions seen on Omega, the tower under construction during Thane's recruitment on Illium, the Horizon colony, the Factory District of the Citadel, whilst escaping Donovan Hock's mansion in Kasumi's loyalty mission, and while pursuing Tela Vasir in Lair of the Shadow Broker they are used to deploy the Shadow Broker's troops.
- The X3M in Mass Effect 2 is wider and longer than the version in Mass Effect.
- According to the used ship salesman on the Zakera Ward, all turian shuttles can fit a light mass-accelerator cannon.