The high-end calipers are new to the Kawi, and the all-new Showa gas charged forks are not on any bike at this point. With the addition of the quickshifter standard and the R1 price tag in the $16's, I think you'll see a much larger increase than you think.
Absolutely. This is an R1/S1000R/1299-beater in every way, it has better and newer technology in a proven package. That doesn't come cheaply.
What interests me most are the changes to the chassis. I've always felt it was hard to get my meagre weight over the front end; by contrast my late-model GSX-R 750 has a pretty much perfect setup for this, making directional changes very easy and providing excellent feedback. The Gen 4 is not exactly vague but one has to search a little harder for information.
Moving the steering head 7.5mm closer makes perfect sense, along with extending the swingarm. This bike is going to be a dream to ride; the brakes I am confident will be world-class (although the current Gen 4 brakes are excellent for most riders) and without a doubt the new suspension is going to set the bike in a class by itself.
The engine changes would suggest a more tractable and responsive bike across the board, more power everywhere, and the lighter moving parts mean it will be livelier.
Kawasaki has really cranked up the game here.
In the meanwhile, having just done my loop yesterday, I feel there is no reason to complain about the Gen 4, it's still a marvelous machine; just more of a touring bike now as compared to the Gen 5.