For many owners, that cost is.....$0. I have no aftermarket "stuff" on mine like FatDucs, mid-pipes, EFI controllers, etc. It's bone stock. It handles the urban jungle just fine, as well as touring and sport riding. And so far, it has handled all the unsealed roads I've taken it on without issue. If it didn't do these things, and do them VERY well, I never would have gotten it in the first place!
What I do find a bit odd is there are either a wide range of expectations for this bike (along with a wide range of interpretations of "smooth", "torquey", etc), and/or there is a wide range of performance bike-to-bike. Both here and on Multi threads on other boards, there is a very wide range of impressions on this bike, and that just seems strange. Given how Ducati manufactures and tests their bikes (there was a very cool TV show about that a while ago....it might be on YouTube by now), I just don't see how there could be such variability in manufacture, leading me to believe the rider is really the variable, not the bike. Granted, over the last 2 years, all of the ECU updates have steadily improved the machine as a whole, but I still read these vastly different impressions from folks who take 2012's out for a spin!
As another poster said, this bike isn't for everyone, and that's fine. What is very cool is right now we have a LOT of excellent choices in this space (I don't think there's a "bad" one in the bunch), so folks just need to find what blows their skirts up and enjoy the heck out of it.....and let others do the same.