It would seem that the Audi acquisition of Ducati is paying off in mysterious ways. The Lamborghini-esque Superleggera Panigale model and a greater commitment to MotoGP racing were all likely payoffs from having the luxury car maker at the helm of Ducati. Now it seems that VW group technology of a different kind is to be extended to their motorcycle division with an new Multistrada model due later this year that will be diesel powered.
The Ducati Multistrada D Granturismo adds diesel power to the most touring oriented of the Multistrada models. In a first for any Ducati model, the engine produces more torque than power with the compression ignition version of the 1198cc L-twin expected to make 115hp but 118 lb-ft of torque, considerably more than the petrol version. Such a torquey power delivery would be fraught with danger were it not for Ducati’s advanced traction control system.
The performance comes thanks to two tiny Garrett turbochargers nestled in the V that are barely larger than a can of soda. The new engine retains aluminum barrels for less weight penalty compared to a traditional diesel implying that Ducati must be using a low compression ratio similar to Mazda’s SKYACTIV-D technology.
Although many Ducati fans won’t be excited about a diesel, modern diesels offer an outstanding combination of real world, roll on performance with exemplary fuel economy. If the Multistrada Granturismo bi-turbo D achieves 25km/l during touring, that would mean a range of 500km (300 miles) from the 20 litre tank. Overtaking and hill work should be effortless and outperform the petrol bike at speeds below 100mph (i.e. typical road use).
In a touring application the technology makes sense and shows just how hard the company is trying to fill any available niche and keep attracting conquest sales from the likes of BMW. Audi parent VW is enjoying strong growth in its model range around the world thanks mostly to technology, performance and economy leading diesels.
Personally I’d be intrigued to ride one, but I couldn’t see myself ever buying a diesel Ducati.
What do you think? Chime in with your views in the comments section below.