2018 Ducati Panigale V4 and 959 Panigale Corse | First Look Review

Ducati Panigale V4
2018 Ducati Panigale V4 S. Photos courtesy of Ducati.

2018 Ducati Panigale V4
Our suspicions that the 1299 Panigale would be the last twin-cylinder flagship sportbike to come out of Bologna were confirmed with the announcement of the 2018 Panigale V4, the first mass-produced Ducati to incorporate a 4-cylinder engine. This 90-degree Desmodromic V-four with a counter-rotating crankshaft and twin pulse ignition was lifted straight out of the Desmosedici GP bike, with an identical 81mm bore (the largest allowed by MotoGP) and a longer stroke that boosts displacement to 1,103cc, for more low- to mid-range power and a reduced top end intended to make the bike easier for mere mortals to handle.

Read our First Look Review of the 2015 Ducati 1299 Panigale.

Even mere mortals will want to make sure they have superhuman levels of self-control however, as the Panigale V4 promises to churn out 214 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 91.5 lb-ft of torque at 10,000 rpm, making it the most powerful bike in its class. With a claimed wet weight of 198 kilograms (436 pounds), that also means the beast has a power-to-weight ratio of 1.1:1 (horsepower to kilograms). If that’s not quite enough for you, adding the optional titanium Akrapovič full exhaust system promises to boost peak horsepower to 226.

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Ducati Panigale V4
2018 Ducati Panigale V4 S.

Keeping all of this power under control is a full suite of electronics, so prepare yourself for some acronyms. Standard features include 6-axis Bosch Cornering ABS EVO, which allows for ABS on the front wheel only for track use, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC) for controlled drift when braking, Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO, Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) EVO both up- and down-shifting, and three Riding Modes (Race, Sport and Street).

Because of the additional two cylinders, a bit of weight gain over the 1299 Panigale was to be expected, but Ducati tried to keep it to a minimum with an all-new frame that uses the engine as a load-bearing, stressed member. This new “Front Frame” is compact and lightweight, allowing for a narrow seat/tank area and aiming to give the rider outstanding feel. Ducati claims a wet weight of 420 pounds for the 1299 Panigale, while the new Panigale V4 comes in at 436 (the S version, equipped with a lithium-ion battery and lighter forged wheels, weighs in at 430 pounds).

Ducati Panigale V4
2018 Ducati Panigale V4 S.

The standard Panigale V4 is equipped with a fully adjustable 43mm Showa Big Piston fork and a fully adjustable Sachs rear shock. Stopping power is provided by new radially-mounted Brembo monobloc Stylema M4.30 4-piston calipers clamping down on two 330mm semi-floating discs up front, and a 2-piston caliper and 245mm disc in back.

There will be two up-spec versions, the Panigale V4 S and the Panigale V4 Speciale. The S rolls on forged 3-spoke wheels and is fitted with an Öhlins NIX30 43mm fully adjustable fork and TTX36 rear shock that both feature Öhlins’ Smart EC 2.0 electronic compression and rebound damping. The numbered, limited-edition Speciale adds carbon fiber bits, a machined top yoke, an Alcantara monoposto seat, adjustable foot pegs, a racing-style fuel filler cap, a full titanium Akrapovič exhaust system and other goodies.

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Pricing and availability are TBD.

2018 Ducati 959 Panigale Corse
2018 Ducati 959 Panigale Corse

2018 Ducati 959 Panigale Corse
A new Corse edition of the 959 Panigale twin-cylinder sportbike has been announced for 2018. The 959 Panigale Corse is powered by the same 955cc Superquadro L-twin as that found in the standard 959 Panigale, which Ducati claims is good for 158 horsepower, and shares its monocoque frame design. The higher-spec Corse edition gets Öhlins suspension front and rear, including a fully adjustable titanium nitride-treated NIX30 43mm fork and the TTX36 rear shock. An Öhlins steering damper is also fitted.

The Corse is a claimed 5 pounds lighter than the standard 959 Panigale, thanks to its titanium Akrapovič silencers and lightweight lithium-ion battery, with the special MotoGP-inspired color scheme contributing a splash of racy panache.

The 959 Panigale Corse shares the same electronics package as the standard 959 Panigale, with ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), Engine Brake Control (EBC) and Ride-by-Wire (RbW) with three Riding Modes: Race, Sport and Wet.

Pricing and availability are TBD.

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