Home > Uncategorized > 2012 BMW K1600GT and GTL Six-cylinder Unveiled

2012 BMW K1600GT and GTL Six-cylinder Unveiled

2012 BMW K1600GT and GTL Six-cylinder Unveiled

2012 BMW K1600GT and GTL Six-cylinder Unveiled

A six-cylinder motorcycle is a rare thing – the number of bike engines with six cylinders that have entered production can be counted on one hand with fingers to spare.

That’s why we’ve been pleased to provide several glimpses of BMW’s upcoming K1600 series, boasting the first inline-Six seen on a motorcycle since Kawasaki’s KZ1300 bit the dust at the close of the 1980s, some seven years after Honda’s legendary CBX ceased production in 1982.

We were first teased with the six-cylinder theme 11 months ago at the Milan motorcycle show when BMW displayed the Concept 6, a streetfighter prototype with an inline-Six powerplant as its centerpiece. More news broke in July, first with the release of a design sketch and engine details, then a few days later with a report from correspondent Jeff Buchanan who got a chance to hear the ultra-touring bike in person. And then full details and pictures emerged of the production bikes at Intermot last week.

On the same day the K1600 GT and GTL were shown at Cologne, we were invited to take an in-person look at a pre-production GTL during a special event at noted gearhead and funnyman Jay Leno’s sensational Big Dog Garage. The Tonight Show host opened up his sprawling facility in Burbank, Calif., to host the American unveiling of BMW’s new “top-touring” bike. Leno loves unique engines, so the K16 found an appropriate venue for its U.S. debut.

So, after perusing Leno’s amazing collection, including a rotary-engined Suzuki RE-5, a liquid-cooled parallel-Twin two-stroke Scott from the 1920s, a square-Four two-stroke Suzuki RG500 and a 1980s Honda I-6 CBX, we were given a presentation about BMW’s impressive new Six.

Putting six cylinders inline across a motorcycle has always resulted in a wide powerplant prone to ground clearance issues, but BMW’s Six uses several technological tricks to keep the 1649cc mill to a width of just 21.9 inches, not much more than large-capacity inline-Fours and narrower than any other I-6 ever produced.

A slightly undersquare bore/stroke ratio, whereby the bore (67.5mm) is less than the stroke (72.0mm), keeps the cylinders narrow, aided by a tiny cylinder spacing of just 5mm, a closeness unachievable in decades past. Because an inline-Six has perfect primary and secondary balance, it doesn’t require a counterbalancer and its associated drive elements.

BMW supplied some data to prove the touring market has the potential to be quite lucrative. The Touring and Luxury-Touring segments account for a significant 26% of U.S. motorcycle sales (mostly Harley-Davidsons). This compares quite favourably to the Supersport and Sport-Touring categories that add up to only 18% of the market.

The K1600s are scheduled to hit dealers in the late spring of 2011 as 2012 models. Like the S1000, K1600 customers can pre-order the bike now to reserve their place in line. The GT is available in Light Grey metallic or Vermilion Red metallic, while the GTL can be had in Mineral Silver metallic or Royal Blue metallic.

Prices have not yet been set, but we were given the impression that MSRPs won’t be far in excess of their touring competition, similar to how well the S1000RR was priced compared to its Japanese rivals. A Gold Wing starts at $23,000 and goes up to around $27K, so we predict the K1600GT’s base MSRP will be around $24,000, with a fully loaded GTL pushing the $30K mark.

The K1600 series will up the ante in the high-end touring category, and its exotic engine configuration is sure to draw a spotlight on it. Not everyone is hurting during this recession, and any of those people who desire a luxurious sporting rig will likely see the K1600 as something aspirational.

And for those who might’ve wished that striking engine was destined for a more sporting cycle, let’s not forget about last year’s Concept 6. BMW would be foolish not to amortize the cost of developing that powerplant by including it in another platform, and we’re reasonably sure BMW understands that, too.

Source: motorcycle

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