When BMW dropped its stunning Concept 6 out of the blue last year, the intention to revive the inline six was clear… and here it is. The new K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL touring motorcycles are being offered with the company's 6-cylinder in-line engine – a 118 kW (160 bhp) unit producing maximum torque of 175 Nm which, at 102.6 kg, is billed as the lightest and most compact serial production 6-cylinder in-line engine in a motorcycle over 1000 cc to date.
The engine size is a result of using a 72 mm cylinder bore with just 5 mm between the cylinder the cylinder sleeves, a design that squeezes the 6 cylinders into a 555 mm wide block. Peak power of 118 kW (160 bhp) is achieved at 7,750 rpm and maximum torque 175 Nm at 5,250 rpm, but being a six, over 70 per cent of the maximum torque is already available from 1,500 rpm... which suggests some very comfy touring is in order when you throw a leg over one of these.
As per the 4-cylinder in-line K 1300 series, the cylinder axis is tilted forwards by 55 degrees to achieve a low center of gravity and balanced weight distribution, as well as allow for better cooling intake directly above the engine. engine position
Overall, the K 1600 GT weighs in at 319 kg (without panniers) and the GTL tips the scales at 348 kg – still hefty, but we are talking touring bikes here, and it's in the lower range of the segment.
The new tourers also pack some top-shelf tech. Aside from the adaptive headlight control option which significantly enhances safety while cornering at night (see our previous article for more detail), the bikes are fitted with a ride-by-wire system (or e-gas as BMW calls it) and feature three engine modes – "Rain", "Road" and "Dynamic" – which combine with Dynamic Traction Control to suit riding conditions.
An Electronic Suspension Adjustment II (ESA II) option gives riders push button control over the rebound damping properties of the front and rear spring strut and the preload of the rear spring strut.
The bikes feature an electrically adjustable windshield with a memory function, USB/MP3 and iPod compatibility, a 5.7-inch TFT color display as part of the instrument panel (which automatically adapts to environmental brightness) and BWM's handlebar mounted Multi-Controller for accessing all these systems without taking your eyes off the road.
There's also an option of central locking for storage compartments, panniers and topcase and the topcase on the K 1600 GTL has interior lighting and two gas-filled dampers which support opening.
Specs: BMW K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL