Thursday, September 23, 2010

2011 BMW K1600GT, K1600GTL: Nichts Six

BMW K1600GT BMW K1600GT
The BMW K1600GT and K1600GTL, BMW's take on the Honda Gold Wing...
BMW K1600GT BMW K1600GT

After the outstandingly brilliant S1000RR superbike, BMW now want to do an equally stunning touring bike – the K1600GT – which will be fitted with a 1649cc inline-six engine. Umm… yeah, well, why not. If BMW can build a superbike that’s better than the Honda Fireblade, why can’t they build a touring bike that’s better than the Honda Goldwing?

BMW claim the K1600GT’s inline-six will pack 160 horsepower and 175Nm of torque, with more than 120Nm being available from 1,500rpm. And if these numbers aren’t enough to impress you, the electronics might – the K1600GT will come with ride-by-wire throttle, integrated ABS and dynamic traction control, three riding modes (Rain, Road and Dynamic), electronic suspension adjustment (ESA II, with ‘Sport,’ ‘Normal’ and ‘Comfort’ settings), adaptive headlamps, a car-style ‘multi-controller’ interface, satellite navigation system and… you get the drift.

Who wants a six-cylinder motorcycle engine in this new eco-conscious age? ‘Efficient combustion, a low engine speed level, high gas velocities and minimised frictional loss in the six-cylinder engine result in a high degree of efficiency and therefore a level of fuel consumption which is unsurpassed. In view of its performance potential, the engine achieves top figures at the level of a comparable four-cylinder motorcycle,’ claim BMW. So why build a six-cylinder engine at all? Why not just stick with a regular four-pot mill? ‘The ride feel is virtually impossible to capture in words. The transversely mounted six-cylinder in-line engine of the BMW K1600 models offers outstanding running smoothness and allows gentle gliding as well as supremely athletic travel,’ claim BMW.

Hmm… so does all of this sound interesting? For us, not really. We suspect the K1600GT (and the K1600GTL, which we suppose would be even more touring-oriented?) may be too big, too heavy and too needlessly complicated for us. If it's a motorcycle with a six-cylinder engine, it has to be something like the Honda CBX1000 of yore. If not, nichts six. We’ll stick with the S1000RR, thanks very much!

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