Vespa 946 Studio Shoot

The Vespa 946 marks the birth of a third line of products from Vespa. Traditional lines of the small body and the wide body are now relegated to a mainstream positioning while the 946 will be the flagship model of the Vespa lineup.

Styling remains truthful to the original Vespa styling. The original Vespa MP6 provided the inspiration to the Pontedera Style Centre while conceiving the 946. The nameplate 946 is derived from the launch year of Vespa 1946.

True to a Vespa styling takes the centre stage of the 946 as well.

The Vespa 946 is technology intensive. However the approach and treatment of technology is remarkably different from the way, say Aprilia or Ducati does. If Ducati is all about performance, Vespa has chosen to use technology for ensuring better efficiency, lighter body and hassle free riding.

The boldest decision is to remain with the 125cc and 150cc engine capacity. Despite all the claims of technology 125cc does sound inadequate. This brings us to the aim of this vehicle.

The Vespa 946 is conceived for the urban population across the vehicle who is inevitably struggling with congestion, lack of time and space. Vespa hopes that the 946 reflects the aspiration of a modern city dweller to express himself in an environment friendly manner while enjoying the simple joys of life like feeling the air against the face. Of course, it must be stylish too.

In this context the low engine cc does become pardonable. However this raises another question. The evolution of automotive industry in the last sixty odd years from 1946 surely must have had some positive impact on the performance and engine capacity, as well, isn’t it?Vespa 946 Instrument Console

The new 125cc Vespa engines boasts 11 hp. That is 7.1 percent above the previous generation engine. Piaggio has adopted a 3-valve engine layout to maximize efficiency. Extreme effort has been taken to optimize the efficiency of the engine. Designers have worked hard on the swirl, tumble and burn efficiency to achieve the best environment credentials. The result? – 8.5kW at 8,250 rpm and 10.7Nm at 6,500 rpm. The company claims 55 kmpl at 50kmph and 10,000 kms service cycles. This is impressive for a modern day scooter in Europe.

The body remains consistent with the monocoque body that Vespa is famous for. However aluminium alloys are used to keep the weight in check. The sidepod, the front handlebar, the front bumper are made in aluminium. The advantages of the monocoque body remain. The front suspension remains truthful to the original Vespa suspension layout.

Vespa 946 buffing

Carefully considered deviations from the mainstream Vespa traditions is obvious in the wheelbase, steering angle etc. The result is an agile light vehicle suitable for the urban populace.

The LED head light and the seat remain the highlights of the design. The saddle ‘flies’ off from the main body. In terms of styling this saddle is perhaps one amongst the best in recent two-wheelers. The die cast element underneath the seat gives an illusion of supporting the seat on the body. The specially hand stitched seat is made of water proof fabric. The headlamps flows out above the amazing single piece (or rather two pieces milled from single metal  block) front handlebar. The attention to detail is spectacular and is worth the effort.

The front mudguard is aluminium gracefully covering the 12inch wheels.

Vespa 946 front wheel cap assembly

Both the front and rear braking system employs disc brakes. Traction control and ABS comes standard. The horizontal rear suspension is another first.

The instrument console is a thorough modern LCD display unit and looks very beautiful.

To sum up, Vespa 946 marks a new direction to a marquee that we have loved over the years. If the earlier Vespa was adorable, chic and cool. The new one aims to be fashionable, stylish and green. The 946 is a crucial step in this direction.

Images: Vespa