DSK-Benelli will be introducing a fleet of new motorcycles this year while also strengthening its localisation capabilities with a new assembly facility.
Taking its time, Benelli made a sure-footed entry last year in Asia with 5 performance motorcycles spanning across different segments. The automaker since then has been on an expansion spree and given the positive response received, plans to invest further in the country with the launch of new products. 2016 will be a very exciting year for the Italian automaker with several new offerings lined up for launch in addition to some major updates on the existing range.
On the outset, the 2016 Auto Expo is just weeks away and DSK-Benelli will introduce the Tornado 302 sport bike first unveiled at EICMA last year. Based on the TNT 300, the Tornado uses the same 300cc twin-cylinder motor good for 34.8 BHP and 27 Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed gearbox. The bike gets USD front forks and a monoshock setup at the rear while braking performance comes from dual 260 mm discs up front and a 240 mm single rear disc. ABS will be offered as optional. Expect prices to see a marginal premium of Rs. 30,000/- over the TNT 300 when it goes on sale.
Up next will be the Benelli TNT 400 that is essentially the TNT 300 but with a 400cc twin-cylinder engine. The motor is a bored out unit based on the outgoing model and will bring a significant jump in power figures compared to the competition. We don’t expect to see any dramatic changes in terms of styling while the instrument console could do with some updates. Other mechanicals bits will remain the same with the prices to see a mild upgrade when it goes on sale later this year. The TNT 300 is currently priced at Rs. 2.91 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai) and the TNT 400 will help create a gap between the TNT 25 and TNT 300.
Grabbing all the eyeballs at EICMA last year, the Benelli Leoncino is Asia bound featuring an extremely pleasing design and funky bits to its name along with a good fit and finish, LED tail lights among other features. The styling works well on the bike while power comes from a 499.6cc twin-cylinder engine tuned for 46.5 BHP and 45 Nm of torque. Further, you get USD forks, monoshock rear suspension, 320 mm front discs and a 260 mm rear unit with ABS. The launch is expected sometime in the August-September period this year while pricing will be in the vicinity of Rs. 4 lakhs (ex-showroom).
This year will also see Benelli enter the mid-size adventure tourer segment with the TRK 502 that looks the part while using the same 499.6cc twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor as the Leoncino. That said, the TRK distinguishes itself as the wanderer in the group with a longer travel suspension, 19-inch tyre up front as well as a 17-inch tyre at the rear and a healthy ground clearance of 230 mm. The adventure tourer will be one of the more affordable versions available in Asia priced around Rs. 4-4.5 lakhs (ex-showroom) positioning it below the Kawasaki Versys 650.
Lastly, the Benelli lineup, especially the TNT 600i and 600 GT will finally see ABS being introduced on the models. The company is currently working to incorporate the safety feature on its motorcycles for Asia which is likely to extend on the TNT 899 and TNT 1130 as well, and will be offered in the following months charging a premium of Rs. 10,000-15,000/-.
In addition to the new launches and product updates, Benelli is said to be working on improving its assembly capabilities with a new production base in the works near Pune. With the automaker already expanding its dealerships, things definitely seem optimistic for the Italian bike maker, making the Benelli pavilion at the Auto Expo a very interesting place this year.