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Benelli Imperiale 400 2020 Review - Prices, Specs, Technology, Features and Mileage

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Bike Reviews

By Harshit Gupta - Senior Editor Feb 01 2020 Share this blog

Benelli has always been about Italian flair and loud eargasmic exhaust note. But therein comes a phase when an automaker must tread new paths. Benelli has finally taken the bold step in India and has given us the all-new Imperiale 400. 

This particular motorcycle is nothing like the rest of its line-up. It’s classic, simple and most importantly sounds subtle. Benelli plans on making their mark in the barren cruiser segment which is still dominated by our beloved Royal Enfield. The 2020 Benelli Imperiale 400 is priced at Rs.1,69,000 which puts the competition at stake.

2020 benelli imperiale

The Italian takes on our legendary Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and the reincarnated JAWA. This is a fair fight which we are witnessing after a very long time. To be blunt, we believe that Benelli has come in late, but better late than never right?

Pros

  • Wide and comfortable rider seat

  • Top-notch fit and finish

  • Nil vibrations

Cons

  • Mediocre performance

  • Low cut-off RPM

  • No kick-start

What’s New

  • An out-of-the-box offering from Benelli for India

What’s at the heart of Benelli Imperiale 400?

How synonymous is the performance to cruising?

Benelli is a fresh face for many as it is one of the latest entries into India. Their first impressions were not so heart-warming, mostly due to certain not-so-happy after sales experience. But the Italian brand has bounced right back up and re-enters with a diverse line-up. The all-new Imperiale 400 is not your typical Benelli. It is calm, composed and marks the brand’s first cruiser offering.

2020 benelli imperiale engine

The all-new 374 cc engine also behaves in synonyms to “cruising”. The torque and power is flat and comes up midway through the rev-range. This helps the Imperiale 400 to have a composed character which is new from Benelli! If revving the motorbike high is your thing, then have no high hopes as this one gets its RPM cut off at 7000. You are red-lined at 6000 RPM and this helps keep the engine relaxed which is a very good sign for a cruiser.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Ex-Showroom Price (Delhi)-Single Channel

-

Rs. 1,64,300

Rs 1,46,000

Ex-Showroom Price (Delhi)-Dual Channel

Rs. 1,69,000

Rs. 1,73,242

-

Engine 

374 cc Air-Cooled SOHC Engine

334 cc Single Cylinder Liquid-Cooled DOHC Engine

346 cc Single Cylinder Twinspark Engine

Power 

20.71 bhp

@ 5500 rpm

27 bhp

@ 6500 rpm

19.79bhp

@ 5250 rpm


Torque

29 Nm

@ 4500 rpm

28 Nm

@ 5000 rpm

28 Nm

@ 4000 rpm

JAWA packs more punch in this lot and that is due to the high compression engine it possesses. Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and Benelli Imperiale 400 have similar engine characteristics with similar performance figures. Benelli has a slight bump due to its added engine volume.


Can the retro Benelli pull fast?

You should be a person who hugs “Patience” tightly to pull this off. Acceleration is very linear and the tall gears take years to shift up. Lets better not talk about top speed as it struggles for it. But then again this is what gives the Imperiale 400 its unique composed nature.

Fatigue is a thing of the past and you will ride on and on and on with the Imperiale 400! It has five gears which might be a turn on for some but we believe that you would be more than content as you don’t feel the need for extra gears. The early surge of torque helps it clock the best 0-60 time of this lot.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Engine

374 cc Air-Cooled SOHC Engine

334 cc Single Cylinder Liquid-Cooled DOHC Engine

346 cc Single Cylinder Twinspark Engine

Transmission

5-Speed Manual

6-Speed Manual

5-Speed Manual

0-60 kmph

5.06 s

5.5 s

6.7 s (approx.)

Top Speed(kmph)

109

130

110

Unlike the competition, Imperiale 400 doesn’t make you feel the urge for more performance as you will get used to the composed character which helps you fathom the linear power delivery. Royal Enfield on the other hand, takes away from the enjoyment with the uneasy vibrations kicking in. The JAWA is according to us the most content motorcycle of the lot as it has the “wide grin” acceleration.


Are the brakes bitey on Benelli Imperiale 400?

Benelli left no table unturned for the Imperiale 400’s stopping power. It comes with only a dual-Channel ABS option and thus helps in boosting confidence while riding. The rotors are largest in this class at and so translates to bitey brakes.

2020 benelli imperiale disc brakes

But it is a rather lazy gripper as the brakes don’t have that instant reaction. You will have to get used to this Benelli’s progressive braking. It bites alright but stops very linearly. It might be a downside for many experienced riders but is a boon for newbies, as the bulk of this motorbike would have been much harder to handle, if not for the brakes.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Front / Rear

Disc/Disc

Disc/Drum or Disc

Disc/Drum

Front Rotor Size(mm)

300

280

280

Rear Rotor Size(mm)

240

153/(drum)/240(disc)

153(drum)

Kerb Weight(kg.)

205

170

194

80-0 kmph

40.58

35.95

39.40

ABS (Single or Dual Channel)

Dual-Channel

Single-channel/ Dual-Channel

Single-Channel

Benelli is the only one of the lot that comes only in a dual-channel ABS variant. Both the others have a Single-Channel variant as well. Ironically, Imperiale 400 which has the largest rotors takes the maximum distance to come to halt. This is mainly because of its kerb weight which is way over 200 kg.


How commuter-friendly is the mileage of Imperiale 400?

Mileage is generous given the kerb weight and its opposing power output. The early torque curve and weight takes away a few kilometres off the litre. We are confused because Benelli has pitched the Imperiale 400 as a cruiser.

A Very first of its kind from the Italian but yet it has a puny 12 litres fuel tank. Come on, Benelli! You could have done better. But, anyway, it's here and frankly, the handicap in performance helps in bringing a balance to the efficiency.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

City(kmpl)

34.32(est.)

35.4(est.)

36.2

Highway(kmpl)

35.05(est.)

38.7(est.)

40.0

Overall(kmpl)

34.6(est.)

37.5

37.0

Fuel Capacity(Litres)

12

14

13.5

JAWA takes the podium here with the largest fuel tank and also the most efficient of this lot. The Bullet 350 has its edge on the highways but then JAWA takes over in the overall run.

Can the Imperiale 400’s chassis take a beating?

How well does the Benelli Imperiale 400 handle?

Benelli has built a well-balanced motorcycle in the Imperiale 400. Yes, it is very heavy when compared to its competition but it all fades away when you ride along. It has a long wheelbase which helps stay stable during longer speed runs. It is also very confident in corners as both the front and rear tyres are decently wide. These help to keep the motorbike stable even during spirited cornering. Nil vibrations help keep the driving dynamics unadulterated. The front and rear rims are of different diameters which helps give it a stanced riding position. The slightly laid back position helps keep riding relaxed and fatigue-free.

2020 benelli imperiale tank thigh grip

The long-travel front suspension helps eat imperfections as a piece of cake and the rear gas shocks do their job pretty well. But the front is a little too soft and you can differentiate in damping at the front and rear. It messes with the overall setup and at times can irritate as well.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Chassis 

Double Cradle Tubular Frame

Double Cradle Tubular Frame

Single-Downtube with engine as stressed-member

Tyre-Wheel Size(Front)

100/90-19

100/90-18

90/90-19

Tyre-Wheel Size(Rear)

130/80-18

140/70-17

110/90-19

Front Suspension

Telescopic Forks

Telescopic Hydraulic Fork

Telescopic Forks

Rear Suspension

Preload Adjustable Twin Shock absorbers

Twin Shock Hydraulic canister with gas canister 

5-Step preload-adjustable Twin Gas-charged Shock Absorbers

JAWA provides us with the widest rear tyre of this lot and it helps handle the extra performance. Bullet 350 has the skinniest shoes of the lot and it is the prime reason for its leading mileage figures.


How comfortable is the seating?

 Benelli surely knows how to pamper their riders. It has equipped the Imperiale 400 with one of the most well bolstered and comfortable seats in this segment. It is wide and can take you for longer distances without any distress. There are very few motorbikes that possess this quality.

2020 benelli imperiale split seats

The handlebar is wide and thus helps you be relaxed at all times. Rider’s triangle is one of those relaxed ones, with a healthy upright position of the torso and relaxed position of the footpegs as well. The tank has cladding for thigh grip and you get a commanding and clear view of the road upfront. This instils confidence in the rider and thus helps you get accustomed to Imperiale 400 much quicker.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Seat height(mm)

780

765

800

Ground Clearance (mm)

165

165

135

Kerb Weight(Dry)(kg)

205

170

189

The Benelli is heavy, very heavy. But don’t let mere numbers fool you as it flaunts its weight gracefully, not everyone’s cup of tea. JAWA has the lightest setup which helps it showcase a dual character. The good old Royal Enfield continues to have its high seating position and lowest ground clearance now.

Aesthetics on the Benelli Imperiale 400, Retro much?

How retro does the Imperiale 400 look?

Look carefully, and you will see a lot of resemblance. Not with any of Benelli’s offerings, but with the likes of Yamaha RD 350 and Royal Enfields. That’s what classic motorcycles are, they all have a resemblance. The tank curves like a Royal Enfield and the dual round instrument cluster reminds you of the RD 350.

2020 benelli imperiale front fascia; headlight

Benelli has added a few neat touches to its offering, which includes heat shields on the exhaust system at two places and grip pads on the tank. The wide handlebar gives you a clear view of the dual circular instrument cluster. It's all old-school here as even the lights are all halogen when automakers have completely or partially moved to LED setups. Anything for the retro vibe, right?


Aesthetic Features

  • Tank grips

  • Exhaust heat shields

  • Split seating

  • Low slung tail light

  • Spoke wheels

  • Healthy gloss treated bits

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Length (mm)

2170

2122

2140

Width (mm)

920

789

810

Height(mm)

1120

1165

1120

Wheelbase(mm)

1440

1369

1370

Kerb Weight

205

170

194

The Imperiale 400 has a lot of road presence not because of any special bits in looks but because of its sheer size and of course, the exhaust note. JAWA has the lightest offering of the lot and it drastically helps in performance. Looks are unique in the JAWA as well, as it fuses modern bits with a sea of retro cues.

How does Benelli fuse retro and technology in the Imperiale 400?

Benelli has only gone with the classic ideology for the looks alone. Features and technological offerings in the Imperiale 400 are foolproof and can take on the latest offerings from its competition.

2020 benelli imperiale instrument console

There are a lot of unique features like the hazard switch, dual-channel ABS and cruise friendly character that helps this Italian stand out from the rest. The asking price of Rs. 1,69,000 is worth the classic bundle which Benelli offers. The unique features are listed below.

Motorcycle

Benelli Imperiale 400

The JAWA 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Ex-Showroom Price (Delhi)-Single Channel

-

Rs. 1,64,300

Rs 1,46,000

Ex-Showroom Price (Delhi)-Dual Channel

Rs. 1,69,000

Rs. 1,73,242

-

Features

Flip-key

Carbureted engine

Utterly comfortable uni-seat


Split seats

Enclosed Handle-bar

Fuel meter


Dual-Channel ABS 

Dual nostalgic exhaust system

Kick-starter


Tank grip cladding

Quad-LED taillight

Beefed up front suspension


TVS sourced tyres

Ceat sourced tyres

Michelin sourced tyres


Hazard light switch

Upside down speedometer

EFI Fuel Injection


Front and rear disc brakes

Lavish chrome treatment

Dechromed engine

The JAWA is that motorcycle which surprises us with its list of features as it has a handful! The recent development and production of JAWA helps it have an edge over its competition. The Bullet 350 is old-school, still and to be frank you don’t get weary of it. Royal Enfield is planning to revamp its whole line-up in 2020 and we would love to be surprised.

What are the safety features on the Benelli Imperiale 400?

You need not worry when a cow jumps suddenly in front of you, as the dual-channel ABS in the Imperiale 400 acts instantly. Benelli built the Imperiale 400 for the Indian market and so we can trust the automaker in providing the maximum number of safety features in its offering.

2020 benelli imperiale exhaust system

ABS is standard and you don’t have to go for an aftermarket hazard lighting system as Benelli has provided us with one themselves. The headlights are bright and will brighten up the road ahead, even notifying motorists on your approach. Benelli is playing it very safe with the Imperiale 400 as the engine and all of its mechanical components are way below its threshold, and this helps it to endure more.

How does the Competition add up?

Benelli Imperiale 400 vs The JAWA

2020 jawa 300

Both The JAWA and Benelli Imperiale 400 are newcomers in this segment. JAWA has the edge of being in our history and thus uses emotions as a strong point in making a comeback statement. But Benelli has none of those perks. JAWA is also powered by a very robust and powerful engine which showcases both highway and city riding seamlessly. The tall gears, mediocre performance and a heavy motorcycle takes away the Benelli’s chances. The JAWA is a much thrilling option here.

Benelli Imperiale 400 vs Royal Enfield Bullet 350

2020 royal enfield bullet 350

The granddaddy of this segment is finally getting a chance to flex its muscles. Royal Enfield Bullet 350 has been in the market for a long time. It seriously needs an upgrade, one just like its competitor. Yes, the Benelli Imperiale 400 is what Royal Enfield should have been a long time ago. We take the Italian over the Indian here for its more purposeful and fresh motorcycle and it doesn’t compromise on the Retro front as well.

Whom is the Benelli Imperiale 400 for?

Imperiale 400 is a bold new motorcycle from the Benelli. It is an offering for those people who love retro motorcycles but want a much modern infusion to it. We wished Royal Enfield to bring such a motorcycle for a very long time now. But, it was Benelli that heard our wish. And so the Imperiale is as modern as it is retro. One look and it takes us to an era where speed was not as important as having an involving relaxed sunset ride. This is a motorcycle that makes you a matured rider in terms of riding. You should get the Imperiale 400 if retro is your thing but at the same time want something new and modern without the very common thump!

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