Launch timelines of either new Benelli motorcycle could change due to COVID-19
Benelli, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer which is now owned by Qianjiang Group in China, is working on two new products. One is the Benelli 600N (expected to be the current TNT600i sportbike’s replacement) while the other one is the Imperiale 530. The models were planned to debut globally in May and July, respectively, but the ongoing COVID-19 struggles could shift these timelines.
Ahead of their formal introduction, patent images of either motorcycle have surfaced online. Benelli had drafted a detailed product strategy for 2020, but just like for every other major automaker, COVID-19 has raised a lot of uncertainty. Still, the new patent images give us a glimpse of what the brand has in store in the near future.
In several markets around the world, the Benelli TNT600i is the only Chinese-made four-cylinder motorcycle on sale. It received a minor update at EICMA 2019 but still couldn’t let go of the image of being one of the least desirable (and least powerful) inline-four motorcycles on the market. The upcoming Benelli 600N aims to change this notion with modern styling and better performance.
Compared to its predecessor, the Benelli 600N looks sharper or ‘more Asian’ if you will. The chassis is developed around the current model. It gets an underbelly exhaust (a tough design to beat stringent emission norms), unlike the 600i’s under-seat system. An all-new instrument console with added features is also part of the package. In its latest format, the Benelli TNT600i employs a 600cc inline-4 motor that churns out 84bhp @ 11,500rpm and 54.6Nm @ 10,500rpm.
Coming to the Benelli Imperiale 530, the modern classic could get a +500cc air-cooled ‘single-cylinder’ motor as its nomenclature suggests. At the moment, it is unclear if the ‘530’ would replace the current Imperiale 400 which is a compelling alternative to the Royal Enfield ‘350’ line and Jawa siblings. In terms of design, the Imperiale 530 looks almost identical to its lesser sibling.
Prices for the India-spec Benelli Imperiale 400 BS6 start at Rs 1.79 lakh ex-showroom. Depending on the choice of colour, prices slightly vary. The 374cc air-cooled FI SOHC single-cylinder mill is good for around 20bhp @ 5,500rpm and 29Nm @ 4,500rpm. This is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. To justify a higher price tag by more than improved output, the upcoming Benelli Imperiale 530 could carry some extra features. It could have been a direct rival to Royal Enfield’s ‘500’ line which was discontinued earlier this year.