In March of 2014, we received some juicy rumors about the Vespa model pipeline. While most of those rumors have turned out to be true, one particular rumor has been particularly persistent for Vespa fans in particular. That is, that the next generation of the Vespa GTS, or “large frame” Vespa would be based on the Piaggio BV350 engine and transmission. That engine has received nothing but praise from the powersports press, and having ridden the BV350 ourselves, we can also attest to it being a terrific midsize scooter motivator. Given that Piaggio and Vespa have shared engines and other platform parts in the past, a rumored BV350-powered next generation Vespa GTS made a lot of sense. We’ve even had readers write in asking whether or not they should buy the current GTS, or wait for the new one.
The next GTS will get its own engine
Yet for all the logical sense a BV-based Vespa GTS 350 made, turns out that’s not the direction Vespa is headed. Our sources are telling us that the next generation large-frame Vespa won’t use the BV’s engine for one simple reason: it won’t fit. It’s too large and too long to meet the packaging demands that Vespa has for their future large-frame designs. So what does that mean for the next big Vespa? Basically, it means it will get its own engine. Yet if the Primavera and Sprint are any indication, with their updated 3-valve engines, we should expect both more power and better fuel economy from the Vespa GTS replacement, when that happens. In the meantime, Vespa are content with the look and feature set for the GTS, which for 2015 gained a whole host of significant updates. (You can read more about that in our Vespa GTS Review.)
No chassis redesign for at least another three years
This news regarding the GTS engine came as quite a surprise, but the bigger surprise for us was in the timelines. Starting with the 946, Vespa has taken its product line in a decidedly new, more modern visual direction. When replacing the LX-150 and Vespa S models with the Primavera and Sprint scooters respectively, Vespa brought this new design language from the rarified (and expensive at $10,000) Vespa 946 down into the mainstream models. In the Sprint especially, the new family resemblance is very pronounced. It seemed only logical to us that a new Vespa GTS would be quick on the heals of these three new Vespa models, but that turns out not to be the case. Instead, Piaggio still wants to get some additional mileage out of the Vespa GTS’s existing, albeit fantastic, chassis. Given that the Vespa’s monocoque design means that the chassis is the body, this means that we won’t see any significant design changes to the large-frame Vespa until they roll out the next generation. Our sources told us that the product lifecycle time clock on the GTS was essentially reset with the addition of the GTS Super. So given that Vespas tend to have about an eight year product cycle, and that transition took place in 2009, we shouldn’t expect an all-new GTS until 2017 or later.
You can read our complete Vespa coverage in our Vespa section.