Piaggio India has presented yet another Italian delight in the form of the new Vespa S. The third unisex retro-classic scooter (the first two being the Vespa LX and VX) from the iconic marque is positioned at the top of the current Indian portfolio and is targeted at style conscious urban youth. We sampled the eye candy on a pleasant Mumbai afternoon and here are our first impressions.
Appearance and build quality:
Well we already called it an eye candy! The Vespa S, while retaining the legendary silhouette of its siblings, gets quite a few sportier elements to uphold its name (S stands for Sporty). The black alloy wheels, chrome embellished rectangular headlamp and rear view mirrors and new instrument console finished in glossy black contribute to the S' individuality. Vespa has also bestowed the new scooter with cubby holes in the front apron and contoured seat for enhanced comfort.
The S comes painted in four extremely attractive color options - orange, matt black, red and white. The outstanding paint quality combined with excellent attention to detail and good overall fit and finish manage to draw second glances from the public. We received numerous thumbs up and enquiries during our short ride in and around Bandra. Made up of steel monocoque, the Vespa S is one sturdy, good looking scooter.
to read our launch report.
While the riding position is very comfortable, the Vespa S has few minor ergonomic issues like switch gear positioning which takes a bit of getting used to and awkwardly positioned rear view mirrors which are almost useless. Also, we would have liked if the pillion rider's foot rest had a larger area and if grab rail is offered as a standard fitment. The underseat storage compartment can easily accommodate a half-face helmet but a full-sized head gear proves to be too big.
Engine & gearbox:
The Vespa S is very similar to the VX under the skin. The 125cc, 3-valve, 4-stroke engine mated to a CVT gearbox develops 10.06 PS of power and 10.06 Nm of torque. The vibrations at idling are quite noticeable but things get smoother once you cross 20 kmph and that's when the motor feels more responsive as well.
We particularly liked the brisk acceleration and the ability to cruise effortlessly at 60-70 kmph. Vespa says that the S can deliver a fuel economy of 60 kmpl but we couldn't verify it during our brief stint.
Ride, handling and braking:
The scooter's single side arm suspension upfront and a conventional hydraulic shock upsorber at the rear soak most of the bumps impressively, thereby offering good straight line stability. The light steering makes it a breeze to ride through slow moving city traffic and the S feels absolutely neutral and composed around the corners.
The brakes are reassuring as the 200 mm ventilated disc upfront and 140 mm rear drum offer optimum bite. The grippy MRF tubeless rubbers further increase your confidence.
At Rs. 75, 424 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Vespa S is more expensive than the competition but makes a strong style statement, comes with a potent engine, is fun to punt around in and is solidly built. It's sporty and it's stylish!