There’s something undeniably charming about a retro-style scooter. Small and compact two-wheelers that carry vintage styling infused with modern-day performance and technology were once exclusively synonymous with Vespa, however, more and more manufacturers have ventured into the classic-style scooter segment. We’ve seen it in the likes of the Yamaha Fazzio launched in the Asian market, as well as the Peugeot Django available in Europe.
As it would turn out, Benelli wants a slice of the classic scooter cake—after all, it is an Italian brand. Benelli has been one of the most aggressive and fastest growing manufacturers in the industry, especially in the middleweight segment. Fueled by its super rich parent company, QJ Motor, Benelli never seems to run out of ideas when it comes to new and exciting two-wheelers. This time around, it’s focusing its attention to the Asian market with a vintage-style commuter scooter called the Panarea, which has recently been introduced in the Malaysian market.
Retailing for RM 6,888, or the equivalent of $1,576 USD, the Panarea may look very familiar to you at first glance. It’s only when you see the standard front end and slightly different bodywork that you realize what you’re looking at isn’t a Vespa. Now, whether or not Benelli gets a free pass for borrowing Vespa’s styling cues because it in itself is also an Italian brand is entirely up to you, so let’s focus on the Panarea’s features instead.
For starters, it’s clear to see that this commuter scooter was built to meet a budget. Yes, it has LED lights all around, but that’s pretty much standard even for entry-level machines—let alone ones made in China. Adding to the budget-friendly build is an analog-digital combo instrument cluster. What’s nice is that Benelli has thrown in an anti-theft system for added security when parking in dense urban cities.
On the performance side of things, the Benelli Panarea keeps things simple with a 124cc, air-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine. With just 8.4 horsepower on tap, don’t expect to ride this scooter beyond the confines of the city. Nevertheless, with 6.3 lb-ft on tap, it has enough pep in its step to make for a fun city companion. Lastly, the rather generous 4.6 liters of fuel capacity mean that you’ll only need to fill up every couple days or so, provided your commute isn't too far from your residence.