The Piaggio Group announced the 2012 Vespa LX and Vespa S scooters will come equipped with the company’s next-generation three-valve engine.

The new “3V” engine, available in 125 and 150 iterations, was first introduced in the Vespa 946 concept at the 2011 EICMA show in Milan. The air-cooled fuel-injected four-stroke Single-cylinder engine was designed at Piaggio‘s Pontedera plant with a focus on improving fuel economy and reducing emissions without sacrificing performance.

A key goal for the designers was reducing friction and improving fluid dynamics. The engine uses a new crankshaft with reduced friction on the cam axle bearings and roller rockers. Piaggio says it decided on a three-valve system (two intake, one exhaust) because it improves the fuel mixture. The spark plug is now located in a new position to improve cooling in the cylinder head.

Piaggio claims the 124cc version produces 11.4 hp at 8250 rpm and 7.9 ft-lb. at 6500 rpm, both improved from the previous generation engine which claims 10.6 hp at 8250 and 7.1 ft-lb. at 6500 rpm. The 150 version displaces 155cc (compared to the previous version’s 151cc) and claims 12.7 hp at 7750 rpm and 9.4 ft-lb. at 6250 rpm (versus the previous model’s claim of 11.9 hp at 8000 rpm and 8.7 ft-lb. at 6250 rpm).

Despite the improvements in power and torque, the new engines should also offer better fuel economy than the previous generation engines. Piaggio claims the 3V engines get 130 mpg, a 30% improvement in fuel economy while service intervals are now at every 10,000 km (6,213 miles).

Mechanically, the Vespa LX and the Vespa S are identical. Both come with electric start, CVT transmission, and sheet steel bodies. The front tire measures 11 inches while the rear tire measures 10 inches. Forward suspension is provided by a single-sided link arm while the rear uses a preload-adjustable dual-action hydraulic monshock. The front wheel uses a 200mm disc brake while a 110 mm drum brake stops the rear wheel. Both 3V models come with 2.2 gallon fuel tanks

The difference comes in the styling and some features.

Vespa LX

The Vespa LX sports a round headlight and matching mirrors. The front leg shield is thicker than that of the S and it contains a lockable glove box. The seat is designed for two-up riding with a passenger grab rail. The 2012 Vespa LX will be produced in five colors: Nero Vulcano black, Montebianco white, Rosso Dragon red, Blu midnight blue and Verde Portovenere green.

Vespa S

The Vespa S has a sportier appearance with a thinner leg shield and red shock absorbers. Unlike the LX and its round headlight, the S uses a rectangular headlight with matching mirrors. Instead of the glove box however, the S has open pockets. The 2012 Vespa S will be produced in Nero Lucido black, Montebianco white, Rosso Dragon red, Azzurro Mediterraneo blue and a special edition Nero Abisso black color scheme.

U.S. availability for the new 3V Vespas has yet to be announced.

[Source: Piaggio]