Vespa’s attention to detail is fabulous and high tech features like fuel injection and 4-valve heads keep these scooters at the cutting edge.
Vespa quality and name
VESPA GT / GTS / GTV SERIES
First introduced in North America for 2003, the Grandtourismo (aka GT or GTS) is Vespa’s largest scooter platform and represents the pinnacle of Vespa performance. These scooters are the modern day ‘large frame’ wasps and as such, contain distinct differences from the small frame models. They headline Vespa’s showrooms in terms of size, power and price tag.
Prior to Vespa’s 1980’s withdrawal from the North American market, the P200E (and Rally 200 predecessor) were the largest Vespa’s ever offered. When the GT 200 was first introduced in North American for 2003, it equalled that displacement. In the years since, the GTS has continued to push the performance envelope to near 300cc and as such, is the most powerful Vespa of all time.
The original GT 200 featured new classical styling that took the look of modern Vespas into a new era. The GT ended up inspiring the LX series, which have both been very successful models. While the styling of these scooters is similar, the GT/GTS is noticeably larger in real life with a wider and more aggressive rear end. Vespa equipped this large frame scooter with larger 12” wheels, dual rear shocks and a disc brake at both ends.
GT 200: 2003 – 2005. 198cc. Standard model. LEADER motor.
GTS 250: 2006 – 2008. 244cc Standard model. QUASAR motor
GTV 300 Sei Giorni: 2018. GTV plus special edition paint (matte green with black and red accents)
The GT platform debuted in North American for 2003 as the GT 200 (above in silver). This scooter used a physically larger frame than the ET models Vespa was also selling, making the GT quite distinct in the showroom from the smaller Vespas. The GT 200 remained unchanged for three years until Vespa introduced the GTS 250 for 2006.
The GTS 250 was a significant update over the GT 200. While using the same frame, the GTS 250 featured overhauled styling and an entirely new 244cc QUASAR engine rather than an over-bored version of Piaggio’s LEADER motor (found in the GT 200 and all 150cc Vespa’s of the era). Stylistically, the GTS 250 gained a chrome ornament on the front fender, a new rear rack and an altered seat. The GTS 250 is shown above in red, while the GT 200 is shown at left in silver. With the increase in engine size came a name change to the GTS 250 (Grantourismo Super 250cc).
Also introduced for 2006 was a higher end heritage variant called the GTV 250 (below in cream) featuring a fender mounted headlight like earlier Vespas. Originally billed as a 60th anniversary edition, the GTV has continued on sale ever since as a more expensive fully loaded model for wasp enthusiasts. The GTV comes a significant premium over the GTS, which adds retro instrumentation, a small windscreen, chrome handlebars, a fender mounted headlight and a gorgeous split leather seat amongst other accessories.
The GTS 300 Super was introduced for 2009, when Vespa bumped their QUASAR engine from 244cc to 278cc. As such, the GTS 300 Super replaced the GTS 250 as the largest displacement scooter ever offered by Vespa. This extra power is a welcome boost for passing at highway speeds. The ‘Super’ suffix for the new GTS 300 was added to mark the addition of a number of sporty touches. These include two-tone rims, a red front suspension spring and updated grills on the sides of the leg shield. The GTS 300 Super was available in only black or white for 2009.
While it’s merely semantics, the astute may have caught Vespa’s double use of the word “super”. The GTS name is an acronym for “Grantourismo Super”, so launching a “Super” version of the GTS results in a superfluous duplicate of this adjective. In any case, buyers desiring a mono-super large Vespa had reason to cheer a year later when a regular version was added. For 2010 Vespa launched the regular GTS 300, which replaced the black and white colors and matte accents of the GTS 300 Super with traditional colors options and chrome instead of black highlights. The non-Super GTS 300 gives up the blacked out rims, comes with a rear rack instead of a grab handle and has a regular 2 person seat. It also forgoes the grill cutouts on the right flank.
Also for 2010, Vespa updated the GTV with the larger motor such that it became the GTV 300. The new GTV is similar to the outgoing GTV 250, but it added a few more chrome accessories, namely a front rack, in addition to extra 34cc (GTV 250 shown in creme).
The most phonetically endowed GT yet debuted for 2013 as the GTS 300 Super I.E. Sport SE. This black themed ‘Sport SE’ version adds a neat single rider ribbed seat with colored piping and “Super” graphics on the rear flanks. The “I.E.” letters are a reference to fuel injection and have seemingly been added to all the GTS/GTV model names for 2013. The use of fuel injectors has been a GTS staple since 2006, but Vespa has been emphasizing it recently.
For 2015 Vespa continued with the same 4 models (GTS, GTS Super, GTS Super Sport, GTV) (summarized below) but added ABS and traction control to all models except for the GTV, which gained these features for 2016. Vespa’s traction control is called ASR (Acceleration Slip Regulation). Additionally Vespa made some tweaks to the front suspension and added a neat smartphone integration feature called VMP (Vespa Multimedia Platform). This allows you to connect your smartphone to display speed, RPM, power, milage etc. It’s a pretty neat system as it displays info that isn’t normally available on the gauges (power, fuel consumption, RPM). Even cooler is the parking locator, which stores the location where the motor was last shut off in your phone for navigational backtracking.
At the same time was the GTV 300 received ABS/ASR (2016), Vespa also refreshed the style with a number of subtle tweaks. Vespa redid the saddle shape, reworked the rear tail light with a chrome frame, chromed the rims and revised the front rack and windscreen.
Vespa also introduced a 70th anniversary edition of the GTS for 2016 called the Settantesimo (shown), which includes a brown seat and rear luggage bag with the 70th anniversary logo, as well as gunmetal finished rims and a logo on the legshield. Colors for that are Azzurro Metallizzato (Robin Egg Blue) or Grigio Pulsar (Light Grey).
In the engine bay, the first Grantourismo (GT 200) used an enlarged 198cc version of Vespa’s LEADER engine, which is also found the 150cc ET and LX scooters. This engine was boosted from 150cc to 198cc and Vespa added liquid cooling to keep a handle on the heat generated by this high performance variant.
If you’re on the hunt for parts, a virtually identical 198cc liquid cooled LEADER engine was used in Aprilia’s Atlantic 200 scooter and Piaggio’s BV 200.
For 2006, Vespa introduced a new 244cc QUASAR engine as part of the new GTS 250. This new engine utilized both fuel injection – a first for Vespa. Accordingly, this QUASAR engine is an awesome modern motor that provided a powerful 22hp and 75mph top speed in its 244cc incarnation.
For 2009 Vespa bumped this motor 34cc to a grand tally of 278cc. While the horsepower remained unchanged at 22 ponies, torque is up 10% to 22.3 (from 20.2) and both peak much lower which means acceleration is nicely improved. Top speed also rises to 80mph, making the GTS/GTV 300 scooters quite capable on the highway.
Storage & Convenience
Besides the powerful motor, Vespa’s Grantourismo scooters offer other attractive features. These scooters have awesome storage capacity including a glovebox and a huge storage space under the seat. In this under seat storage you have enough storage to hold both a full face helmet and a half lid helmet (as shown). This storage area would be incredibly useful for all sorts of uses like picking up some groceries or tossing your laptop in here. Just be careful with the ice cream because the large motor heats this area up nicely.
These Vespas also feature the same microchip theft deterrent system present in all modern Vespas. A rear rack is also standard which folds down to hold more of your stuff. Another neat touch is the passenger pegs which collapse to fit flush into the body work. The design of this scooter is absolutely top notch. No matter where you look you are going to see beautiful design work.
Unlike most scooters, it’s hard to pit Vespa’s directly against the competition. Vespa knows it has a niche product and as such, their scooters stand alone as more expensive but also higher end machines. The ample use of chrome and neat microchip key are two examples that set Vespas apart. While the features list won’t be enough to justify the MSRP to the frugally minded, these large Vespas are fairly priced for the high end machines they are. Vespa’s attention to detail is fabulous and high tech features like fuel injection and 4-valve heads keep these scooters at the cutting edge.
Modern wasp enthusiasts will find these to be quite excellent machines. Those looking for something similar but at a lower price point won’t find too many scooters to consider in this class. Kymco’s Like 200 is perhaps the largest displacement classically styled scooter, but it only boasts 160cc so its performance is quite different from the 278cc GTS.