The thing about big automobile manufacturers is that they don’t believe in doing something just to be a “me too”. No matter what the segment is, they make sure that they make their presence felt and that their vehicles speak for themselves. Certain products are just so good right from the start that no matter whether they have entered a market late or are early, they make the timing of their arrival appear spot on.
Case in point, the K1600 GTL from BMW Motorrad. Launched in 2010 to compete against the Honda Gold Wing (which has been selling with an 1832cc flat-six engine since 2001), the K1600 GTL came like a breath of fresh air instead of looking like a late comer. It comes powered by an inline 6 cylinder 1649cc DOHC liquid cooled 24-valve engine which is developed new from the ground up. It produces 160.4 PS of power at 7,750 RPM and 175 NM of torque at 5,250 RPM. It is quite a powerhouse. In comparison, the Gold Wing churns out around only 118 BHP and 167 NM of torque.
But more power may not always be a big deal. BMW introduced the K1600 ten years later and so more power is the least that is expected. The only inline 6-cylinder production motorcycle in the world has few more things up its sleeve that makes it look like it is from the future. This big 6-cylinder engine is only 2.6 inches wider than K1300’s inline 4 engine making it the most compact inline 6 engine in the world to have ever been produced.
It is also the first motorcycle in the world that features Adaptive Headlight technology. What this means is even though the headlight assembly is fixed with the fairing, it turns left if the bike is turning left and hence lights up the entire corner. Not just that, when the bike is at lean, the headlight beam remains flat so that the lighting on the road ahead remains consistent. Optionally, there’s electronically adjustable suspension which adapts to the changing road conditions on the go.
The German motorcycle manufacturer has also done a pretty good job in keeping the overall weight of the motorcycle relatively low at 348 kg. The Honda, on the other hand, breaches 400 kg mark at 421 kg ready-to-ride.
A Fantastic Blend of Luxury and Sportiness
K1600 GTL is basically the sportiest luxury tourer. While the Gold Wing has impressed everyone with its dynamic handling characteristics over so many years, this BMW pushes the boundaries even further.
Take a look at the K1600 GTL from the sides, and the design looks like a great mix of a luxury cruiser and a high-speed sport-tourer. There’s a sense of sophistication in the styling which enhances the thoroughly modern appeal of the motorcycle.
We sincerely thank Mr. Siddique Bajaria for taking out his time and letting us ride his motorcycle.
It is supremely comfortable, as it should be, for all day riding and is sporty enough to be enjoyable at curves. There’s a unique positive feeling when a motorcycle of this scale enables the rider to go around a corner relatively enthusiastically. The frame is made up of cast aluminium, the front suspension is BMW’s famous Duolover and the rear is Paralever. All this together ensure that the handling remains closer to a sportbike and nothing remotely like a cruiser.
Milestone at XBhp
We have had two wonderful opportunities to ride this biggest BMW motorcycle. Once in 2011 when we took it to New York from Los Angeles covering well over 6000 kilometres in 14 days, and another one in 2014 when we rode it to the INTERMOT show from Munich to Cologne in Germany. That has been one of the most scenic journeys that we have undertaken so far. You can see those rides here:
BMW motorcycles are some of the most expensive in our country as of now and the K1600 GTL is at the far end of “expensive”. Although, people can try their luck on OLX and see if they can get it a bit cheap. However, motorcycles like these are purposeful and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. But they sure are some of the best ways to travel the country and the world.