Vespa's most powerful scooter unveiled to put dolce vita on fast-forward

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Piaggio's Vespa sub-brand has introduced its most powerful scooter to date. Worthy of the GTV nameplate, the two-wheeler packs more power than many classic economy cars and a head-turning design that ensures it stands out even in cities where scooters are everywhere.

Vespa borrowed the GTV designation from the car world, but this isn't the first time the nameplate has appeared on a scooter: the original Vespa GTV released in 2006 was fitted with a 22-horsepower engine. Fast-forward to 2022 and the latest model packs 23.8 horsepower (yep, the decimal is important here) from a water-cooled, single-cylinder engine. If that doesn't sound like much, consider this: The cheapest member of the current Vespa range uses an air-cooled, 49.9-cubic-centimeter single-cylinder engine that makes 2.9 horsepower and 2.1 pound-feet of torque. On a personal note, for years my daily driver was a 1978 Citroën 2CV with a 24-horsepower 435-cc air-cooled flat-twin.

Viewed in this light, 23.8 horsepower is a lot. Visually, the GTV lives up to its sporty positioning with a design characterized by an LED headlight mounted low on the fender, a racing-inspired fairing over the handlebar, and model-specific decals. Flat-black wheels with orange accents add a finishing touch to the look, and the only available color announced as of writing is Beige Avvolgente Opaco (pictured). The rider sits on a black seat with orange stitching and faces a digital instrument cluster, while ABS brakes help keep the power in check.

Like cars and motorcycles, scooters are becoming increasingly high-tech. Vespa followed this trend by fitting the GTV with a keyless system that lets the rider start the engine without insert a key and smartphone connectivity, among other features. There's even a USB port.

Pricing for the 2023 Piaggio Vespa GTV hasn't been announced. For context, the company's core range starts at 3,999 euros (approximately $4,200) for a base Sprint model and tops out at 7,499 euros (about $7,800) for a GTS Super 300 Tech with a generous list of features.