The future of Vespa is beautiful

Dailies, Galleries, Import -


Here’s the first image of the production Vespa 946. Like the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 (both Vespa and Moto Guzzi are owned by Piaggio Group, along with Aprilia), it’s a masterclass in retro-futuristic design, in this case adapting the forms of the original Vespa prototype from 1945 into something definitively modern. Those looks reflect what’s beneath the skin too: an all-new motor that returns close to 130mpg, anti-lock brakes and even traction control.

The new motor is an air-cooled, fuel-injected 3-valve 4-stroke. It’s a 125 with 11.6bhp at 8,250rpm and 7.6lb/ft at 7,000rpm. Why air cooled? Water pumps and radiators are expensive and scooters are supposed to be cheap. The modern fuel injection system works with a three-way catalytic converter to cut emissions by 30 percent (!) and Vespa says that it will be good enough not only for the current Euro3 standards, but future emissions regulations as well.

The original Vespa MP6 prototype from 1945 inspired the design of this new 946.

Another moden update is a switch to an aluminum (from steel) body. That will cut weight, aiding both fuel efficiency and ease of use. That lightness is reflected in the use of a cantilevered seat. Likely to be the most controversial element of this design, that seat is striking, but does eliminate the practical underseat storage space that’s long been a scooter hallmark.

Click here for a large photo of the 946 and follow our comprehensive coverage of next week’s EICMA motorcycle show.

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    No storage? Who cares – it looks amazing.

  • Charlie

    Concur. Don’t need no stinking storage. Very slick. Bravo

    • AHA

      +1. In London, the lowlife just bust open the seat. If you’re really unlucky, they’ll leave you something too. Better off without.

  • aadmanz

    Great looking, looks exactly like last years prototype.. Impressive to stay that close to in production.

  • Jens

    If i rember right, this will not be mass-produced but a small series for collectors. I read that it will cost way much over 7000€ – which (unfortunately) is above my price range.

    But i look forward to this motor in a ‘real’ Vespa.

  • carbon

    That Vespa MP6 prototype is really, really cool.

  • Louis Turicik

    The cantilevered seat is brilliant. Not only does it look great, it will let them make bank selling stylish luggage/bag attachments.

    • Mitch

      Seriously. Porsche style. “Would you like the matching [designer collab] saddlebag and topcase for only 1000 euros more?”

  • Glenngineer

    This has some of the nicest, cleanest lines of anything on two wheels right now.

  • Anders

    Looks amazing compared to other scooters. Great work.

  • Mitch

    Reminds me a little of this:

    Nerd points if you know what it is.

    • stempere

      Damn i’m drawing a blank here, but i know this one.

      • Mitch

        Right studio, wrong anime… close :)

        • Seth

          So what is that from?

          As a Vespa Dealer, I hope that Jens is wrong. It shouldn’t surprise me that Piaggio USA isn’t talking about anything new this time of year, so I don’t know.

          • Jens

            German ‘Motorrad’-Magazine says something about 9000 Euros… unfortunately.

    • AHA

      Is it from Studio Ghibli? Should be able recall which film but the drugs don’t work.

  • coredump

    Damn I’m going to get me a scooter to compliment my moto. That along with my recumbent will make my two wheel obsession official.

  • domiken

    Looks like ill have to pick one up for my fiancee, very nice. I hate the Vespa prices though…

  • Patrick from Astoria

    You’ll have to dress up to ride it. Everyday uninspired office-casual slobs just won’t get it to work correctly.

    It’s lovely.

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