15 November 2012 - 09:58
EICMA 2012: Vespa 946
We at TopGear love Vespas. But then, everyone does. Ride a yellow LX 125 through town and the squeals from teenaged girls to the sheer delight on the faces of septuagenarians will tell you all about the affection a Vespa receives. And the reason for its amazing popularity is quite simply, the way it looks and the way it attracts people towards itself with its charming personality. It's been so popular, we could hardly think of a scooter that could beat the LX 125 at its own game.
Guess what? Piaggio thinks otherwise.
Presenting the production version of the concept it previewed last year, Piaggio left observers shell-shocked with the all-new 946. Inspired by the very first Vespa prototype, the MP6 from 1946, the 946 maintains the classic curves expected from a Vespa, but still retains enough modern touches for it to be a hit with the younger side of the market.
Among many firsts, the 946 bins the famous steel body construction of yore and goes with an aluminium alloy body instead, which helps reduce weight and also boosts efficiency. The 946 sports a horizontally-mounted, fully-adjustable rear shock (another first), and also features a cantilevered seat - which lends a clean look to the overall profile, and makes that tail look oh-so-gorgeous.
When it comes to the business end, the 946 is equipped with the same fuel-injected 125cc motor as seen on the LX 125, LED lights, an LCD display along with ABS and traction control, though the safety kit will most likely not feature on the Indian version.
As for the Indian version, we're only hoping. Piaggio hasn't stated any intentions to bring the 946 to our shores, and understandably so. With the LX 125 already available as a lifestyle offering, it could be hard to position the 946. But then, would you not buy an even prettier Vespa for a few grand extra? Really?
Let the opinions flow, TopGearers.