At last year's EICMA show, the BMW Concept 6 was said to preview a
near-future six-cylinder production bike. Well, here's that production
bike. Spied in Los Angeles by the Cordura-loving Germans at
Tourenfahrer.de, the BMW K1600LT will make 96lb/ft of torque at just
2,000rpm, a figure that will continue to rise as the inline-six
approaches its 9,000rpm redline. How do we know that? BMW told us. >
In fact, they told us quite a bit about the K1600LT at EICMA:
The new BMW straight-six will further expand the K-Series in the foreseeable future. The first model to be introduced will be an innovative and luxurious BMW touring machine. Reflecting the tradition of the BMW K-Series, this will of course be a genuine top-of-the-line product.
The power unit is approximately 100 mm or 4" slimmer than all former straight-six production engines and only a bit wider than a large-capacity straight-four with conventional technology.
The reduction in width is achieved in particular by the slightly over-square bore: stroke ratio with relatively long stroke and very small gaps between cylinders. To achieve this very compact configuration with minimum width, the electrical ancillaries and their drive components are positioned behind the crankshaft in the open space above the transmission.
High-tech lightweight construction in all areas serves to make the power unit relatively light from the outset, important components in this context being the two hollow-drilled camshafts and the very light connecting rods. The perfect compensation of masses ensured by the configuration and layout of the engine avoids the need for a balance shaft and its drive elements on the new straight-six, which again means lower weight and enhanced running smoothness.
...follows the well-known straight-four in the K 1300 model series, again coming with cylinders tilted to the front by 55o. This ensures not only a low centre of gravity, but also very good weight balance as an element essential above all under sporting conditions for precise feeling and clear feedback from the front. A further advantage is that the tilted engine provides extra space for the aerodynamically positioned intake manifold directly above the engine and allows ideal configuration of the frame profiles following the flow of power.
...dry sump lubrication. Apart from greater reliability even under extreme conditions, dry sump technology serves to keep the crankcase particularly low and flat, with the engine being fitted lower down and masses concentrated around the centre of gravity. Doing without an oil sump, the engine may be positioned far lower than on a conventional layout.
The oil reservoir is provided by an oil tank integrated at the rear of the engine block. This avoids the need for a separate tank, again helping to make the entire power unit more compact and reduce weight to a minimum.
Output of the new six-cylinder will be in approximately the same range as on BMW's 1.3-litre straight-four power units. Torque, on the other hand, will be right at the top of the range, even in comparison with the largest motorcycle engines, such superior power and muscle coming inter alia from engine capacity of no less than 1.6 litres.
The engine's power and performance characteristics are equally impressive, offering 130 Nm or 96 lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 rpm and at the same time revving up almost to 9,000 rpm - a dynamic potential quite unparalleled in the tourer segment.
Power "in the same range" as the BMW K1300S means about 175bhp and you can further expect the straight-six to be incredibly smooth, something BMW's six cylinder engines were known for before they stopped making cars and starting making SUVs.
Tourinfuhrer notes the presence of an electrically adjustable screen, LED lights and other luxury goods expected of a flagship tourer.
Looking at the picture, we see an incredibly low seat, K1300S-style Duolever (Hossack) front suspension and overall proportions that seem dramatically less porky than the aging K1200LT that this bike will supersede. Expect a production model to debut this fall.