Vespa has unveiled the 946, its first all-new model in six years, and it looks excellent.
The name, which feels like an odd way to Porsche’s numerical naming system, is actually a tribute to the year 1946, when Vespa was born. The scooter itself is inspired by the MP6, the original Vespa.
With a promised top speed of 58 mph, the 946 can technically be used on the highway, but it’s really made for cruising around the city.
Fuel consumption is almost negligible — it gets 130 miles per gallon, a 30% improvement over the previous generation engine.
But Vespa’s selling point isn’t engineering. It’s style.
On that count, the 946 is a success. It does a good job of retaining the classic Vespa look while offering something new. Overall, it just looks good.
I do have two concerns:
1. It’s huge, especially in the back. A Vespa executive argued my “good perception” was in fact wrong, and that it’s the sleekness of the design that makes the back seem large.
But I say if it looks big in person, it’s big. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but could be a turnoff for people who want a small, slick ride for the city.
2. The upward sweep of the seat looks nice, but seems like it could be uncomfortable for a passenger.
The 946 comes in white and black (more colours will be available after the first year). Starting price is a fitting $US9,946.
We’ll have more to report once we get a chance to ride the 946.
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