Equipped with a straight-six engine, iDrive, adaptive headlights, angel-eyes, full-color TFT display, traction control, contoured LED taillights, an iPod-compatible stereo and a huge ass trunk, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the BMW K1600GTL, BMW K1600GT and a BMW luxury car, other than in the lack of a roof. We already showed you images of these two new models and nearly full details with the exception of one thing, the weight — 319kg/703lbs (wet) for the GT and 348kg/767lbs (wet) for the GTL. Both are substantially lighter than an 895lbs Goldwing. Full official details and images below.
Here's a video explaining what, to us, is the neatest feature on the feature-laden new K bikes: the adaptive headlights that can see around corner and adjust for lean.
Straight-six engines are what BMW’s car division built its “Ultimate Driving Machine” image on, they’re incredibly smooth, very flexible and just completely addictive to use. At just 22 inches wide, BMW claims this is the narrowest straight-six engine in a motorcycle thanks to its narrow cylinders and long stroke. Of course, it’s the only straight-six engine in a current motorcycle and will probably remain so for quite some time. The supercharged VR6 engine — an arrangement that staggers the cylinders front to rear to reduce width — in the upcoming Horex VR6 is just 17 inches wide.
That 1,649cc inline-six makes its peak power of 160bhp at 7,500rpm and peak torque of 129lb/ft at 5,000rpm, but crucially, 90lb/ft — 7 more than the S1000RR develops total — will be available just above idle at 1,500rpm. That means the K1600 should be capable of whipping you, your wife and the standard panniers and top box full of her luggage up to highway speeds at the merest whiff of throttle.
The engine is controlled by a ride-by-wire throttle equipped with three modes: rain, road and dynamic. “Rain” decreases power and blunts throttle response, which, in addition to the standard ABS and optional traction control, should make the K1600 exceptionally easy to ride in the rain. “Road” is optimized for decent performance and excellent fuel economy, while “Dynamic” sacrifices fuel economy for crisper throttle response and more aggressive acceleration.
The 55-degree forward tilt of the engine allows the aluminum beam frame to run over the top of it, which means the K1600 shouldn’t feel any wider to the rider than existing four-cylinder touring bikes. In keeping with BMW convention, that frame holds a paralever swingarm equipped with shaft drive and duolever forks at the front. BMW’s whizz-bang ESA II electronically adjustable suspension with world’s-first adjustable spring rate is optional.
So what we’ve got here is a fairly conventional big BMW touring bike with one hell of an engine, right? Yes, but there’s more. The K1600 is as much about its features as it is about its mechanical spec. And oh what features.
In addition to the adaptive headlights, the K1600's have one feature that's likely to prove very controversial: the inclusion of an iDrive like controller for the onboard computer. In fact, iDrive has proved so controversial with the brand’s car drivers, that BMW is calling the system a “multi-controller.” That “multi-controller” works just like iDrive, allowing you to scroll through a variety of on-screen menus by twisting, pushing and clicking. It controls a first-on-a-bike full-color TFT display which should be exceptionally bright, easy-to-read and, if BMW convention holds true, impossible to navigate. Secondary motorcycle functions and things like the integrated GPS navigation and the stereo are controlled via iDrive. You can read more about the BMW K1600 iDrive here.
It’s not just the luxury features that make the K1600GTL sound more like a 7-series than a motorcycle, BMW has deliberately referenced its car styling cues on this motorcycle. The “Angel Eye” halo running lights are one of the definitive visual features of BMW cars and the contoured LED taillights, which arrange the LEDs into flowing ribbons, help define the look of the new 5- and 7-series. There’s also a liberal use of roundels and chrome badges on both the rear and sides, again, just like on the brand’s cars.
The outgoing K1200LT, the model this new bike sort of replaces, retailed for $21,520. It’s likely that the K1600GTL will meet or exceed that price.