Back in November, BMW introduced its inline-six Concept 6 model at the 2009 EICMA show in Milan, Italy, with the news the engine will power future models in the company’s K-series tourers. The future is now closer to becoming the present with the announcement of the upcoming BMW K1600GT and K1600GTL.
The BMW K1600GT is the sportier of the two with an upright seating position. The K1600GTL is designed for longer rides with the footrests placed lower and further forward while the handlebars reach further backward for a more relaxed sitting position. Both models will come with removable panniers while the K1600GTL adds a topcase. As for aesthetics, BMW has only released design sketches of the two models offering a glimpse of what the final product will look like. BMW has released a fairly detailed look at the headlight cluster which has an owl-like appearance with two halogen high beam lights with lighting rings surrounding a central xenon headlight (more on the headlight technology below).
Both models will run on a 1649cc six-cylinder inline engine developed from BMW’s automobile technology. BMW Motorrad engineers adapted the inline-six engine to make it light enough and compact enough for use in a motorcycle. The result , according to BMW, is a powerplant that weighs 226 lb. and measures 560mm in width, about 100mm narrower than previous inline six engines used in motorcycles. BMW claims a peak output of 160 hp at 7500rpm and torque of 129 ft-lb at 5000rpm with 92.2 ft-lb. available at 1500rpm.
The engine is equipped with BMW’s E-Gas ride-by-wire throttle control system. The E-Gas system has three modes, “Rain”, “Road” and “Dynamic”, all available at the press of a button on the right handlebar.
While the engine is the focal point for the new models, the rest of the bike has not been ignored. The chassis is based on the current K-series frame with Duolever front and Paralever rear suspension. An ESA II (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) system offers quick switching between three suspension settings, “Sport”, “Normal” and “Comfort”. The K1600 models will come standard with BMW’s EVO brake system with integral ABS. The new bikes will also use BMW’s Dynamic Traction Control system introduced in the S1000RR.
BMW also developed a new headlight system that will compensate for the K1600 models’ pitch and banking angle. The main headlight uses a centrally positioned movable xenon projection module with reflector mirror. The system compensates for the motorcycle’s pitch using data from level sensors in the front and rear axles. The optional Adaptive Headlight feature, a first for motorcycles, uses a stepper motor to turn the reflector mirror in relation to the banking angle. The result, as illustrated in the following video, is improved illumination while cornering.
Another first for a motorcycle is a 5.7-inch multi-function color TFT LCD monitor offering the kind of display usually found in high-end automobiles. The monitor displays text and graphics and automatically illuminates in low light conditions. The K1600 models will also use the multi-controller first introduced in the R1200RT. Located on the inside of the left handlebar grip, the multi-controller offers control over menus on the TFT monitor, allowing operation of the on-board computer, ESA II system, navigation as well as grip and seat heating.
The multi-controller also operates the audio system, found standard on the K1600GTL and available as an option on the K1600GT. The system uses MP3 player, iPod and USB memory stick input, as well as satellite Sirius XM radio.
BMW will release further details about the K1600GT and K1600GTL at a later date. Check back here at Motorcycle.com for an upcoming feature on BMW’s new six-cylinder models. For now, take a look at more images from BMW on our gallery.