I had a 2012 Versys 650 and loved it. Eventually, I upgraded the suspension, the brakes, and geared it up so the highway vibes were less intrusive. Are the vibes a deal-killer? No. But this is a small parallel twin with a 180-degree crank; it's going to have a certain amount of high-frequency vibration. It's the nature of the beast. (Yamaha's FZ-07, with 90 degrees between the crankpins, has a different kind of vibration, something between a parallel twin and a V-twin.) I never really minded the '12 bike's vibration, but it was always there. Sizzling through the tank. And the dash buzz! Fixable, but...really, Kawasaki?
I'll tell you, the smoother engine was the first thing I noticed on the 2015 bike. It's really much smoother thanks to that extra set of rubber mounts. Plus the bars are rubber mounted now. Kawasaki said in the press introduction that it wanted to take the Versys line a bit more toward the touring end and so these changes made sense. (Also explains why the bike wasn't put on a diet, but that costs money and the low MSRP of the bike is probably a fair exchange.)
The brakes aren't superbike spec but I could see being happy with them as is. I know a lot of Versys owners never upgrade brakes and are still happy. It's probably context for me. I ride so many different bikes that the Versys became an outlier. I had to do something, and did, but I wasn't super happy spending the money to fix what I felt was a basic shortcoming.
So for me the upgrades to the new bike are more than a sum of the parts. The better brakes, improved aero, reduced engine vibration, slightly roomier riding position, and the really nicely integrated luggage are all huge plusses for me. I really liked the previous bike. I _love_ this one.
Oh, Kawasaki did screw up one thing. If you fit swingarm spools and try to use your trusty Pit Bull stand...you'll find the stand's main bar interfering with the fender extension. And not by just a little. If the white bike I'm on stays in the fleet, I think it might just accidentally get backed into a hacksaw.