Ather 450S first ride review | Is this a 450X for the masses?
The Ather 450X is arguably one of my favourite electric scooters in the market right now. While the Warp mode and the sporty ride and handling characteristics are what make the 450X so special for me, the same doesn’t go for everyone. The Ather 450S is a result of a lot of customer feedback that the company has received. The 450S is designed to offer the same Ather experience but in a slightly smaller and more accessible package. Something that could go a long way especially since the drastic decrease in the FAME II subsidy.
Ather 450S: What’s new?
Let’s start with how the Ather 450S differs from the X. It has a smaller 2.9kWh battery (compared to 3.7kWh on the X, a lower output 5.4kW motor (compared to 6.4kWh) and an LCD screen instead of the colour TFT touchscreen that the X gets. All of these changes have been made with a consumer who doesn’t need high-performance or a lot of range in mind. Despite that you still have a claimed 115km IDC range on the 450S. The step down in power means that there’s no Warp mode here either. What the Ather 450S aims to be is a more sensible, everyday scooter. Swing a leg over and you’re greeted by what feels identical to a 450X Gen 3, with the redesigned seat. That is because barring the smaller battery, motor and new screen, the 450S is identical to the 450X in terms of design and its chassis setup. This is a good thing.
The riding experience is quite similar to the 450X. It still feels like a quick scooter and not dull in any way. It however doesn’t have the same prominent motor whine that you get on the X. Ather has also worked on the throttle maps for the Eco and Ride modes making it more linear in the way it accelerates. So it doesn’t feel as jerky when modulating the throttle in the tight traffic. The next big update on the powertrain front is the addition of coasting regen that engages as soon as you roll off the throttle and works like engine braking. This should also help with efficiency. In all other ways the 450S rides just like the X. You get the same agile handling, slightly stiff but compliant suspension setup and sharp braking setup. The seat with the new design as found on the Gen 3 is a lot more accommodating for a larger rider like myself, addressing to an extent, a problem that has plagued the X since launch.
Ather 450S: The tech
The next big update comes via what Ather is calling the DeepView display. This 7-inch negatively lit LCD unit replaces the colour TFT touchscreen to keep costs in check. This redesigned screen is quite informative and showcases all the necessary info at the touch of a button. Despite not being a TFT unit it still features navigation, albeit turn-by-turn and not map based like the X. Ather has designed 18-element characters to be able to make the letters and numbers more natural and that it certainly is. Even the turn-by-turn navigation is more rich in information in the sense that it gives more detailed instructions especially when there are multiple intersections and not just a sing. This is something I want to mess around with a little more before giving a conclusive verdict. Other changes include a new joystick to navigate the screen and all new much more premium feeling switchgear. There’a also a new fall detection feature which cuts the motor in case of a fall so you don’t accidentally have another accident by grabbing a handful of the throttle while picking the scooter up.
Ather 450S: What’s the same?
The vast majority of the scooter remains unchanged. This includes the sharp styling of the 450X that we’ve come to love over the years. The 450S will be available in four colours — Space grey, Still White, Salt Green and Cosmic Black. Then there’s the chassis setup which is also identical to the X. You get the same telescopic fork setup at the front and a monoshock at the rear that is bolted onto a hybrid frame. Wheel duties are taken care of by the same 12-inch wheels that wear 90/90 section rubber. Braking power comes courtesy of a disk brake at the front and rear with a combi-brake system. The 450S tips the scales at 108kg making it really easy to manoeuvre. It is a great thing that Ather hasn’t messed with the riding dynamics or design of the scooter because those were among the strong points for the scooter and continue to be so even for the 450S.
Ather 450S price and verdict
Now, all of these feature updates like the remapped throttle response, coasting regen, new switchgear and the fall detection function also make their way to the 450X which now also gets a variant with the 2.9kWh battery. What this means is you now have options. Don’t want all the range but want all the performance? The 2.9kWh 450X is your pick. Don’t want all the performance and want the Ather at a more affordable Rs 1.3 lakh ex-showroom price tag, You have the 450S. Want the best of everything? You have the 3.7kWh 450X. You’re spoilt for choice!