BMW R1200RT With New Boxer Engine Spied

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

New camshaft covers may hide variable valve timing system

Spy photographers have spotted a new BMW R1200RT undergoing testing with what looks like a new Boxer engine and other minor changes from the current model.

At first glance, the test bike looks very similar to the current R1200RT. Look closer at the cam covers and you’ll see a completely new design from the one now powering the R1200 lineup. Rumors of a new Boxer engine have been circulating for the last year, with talk of variable valve timing and a displacement bump from the current powerplant’s 1170cc displacement to somewhere closer to 1250cc.

The cam covers aren’t the only things to have changed. The exhaust has a slightly different angle and doesn’t jut forward as much before curving toward the rear. There’s now room for a bit of bodywork to protect the front of the pipe.

It’s impossible to tell if the engine is indeed any larger just by looking at it, but a closer look at the badge shows the R1200RT label in front of the BMW roundel. If there is a larger engine, this badge suggests the bike will keep the R1200 numbering. Of course, badges can be easily changed ahead of production.

VVT systems are becoming more commonplace of late, with examples including the Ducati xDiavel and Multistrada and the Suzuki GSX-R1000. It would be a first for a BMW motorcycle, though the company does have experience with the technology in their cars (on its automobiles, BMW calls it the VANOS system, short for VAriable NOckenwellenSteuerung, the German words for variable camshaft timing.) BMW’s cars also make use of the Valvetronic variable valve lift technology. Both technologies are said to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, something motorcycle manufacturers keep in mind with tougher Euro 5 regulations coming in a few years.

The headlights are slimmer than the lights on the current R1200RT. The 2018 model has panels on the windscreen covering the mounting points; it’s hard to tell if the new model will go without them or if they were just removed during testing.

The headlights are narrower and don’t appear to have the same circular LED daytime running lights as the current model. Since DRLs are mandatory for Euro4, BMW has either redesigned their shape or gone to a completely new design.

Another change we spotted is what appears to be a large digital display. While it’s possible this could be part of the testing equipment, the shape of the plastic over the screen leads us to believe the R1200RT is getting a larger TFT screen. The current model has dual analog gauges beneath a smaller TFT display.

The rest of the bike looks fairly similar to the current model, which is why we wouldn’t be surprised if it keeps the R1200RT name even with a slightly larger engine.

Of course, a new R1200RT may be just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll only be a matter of time before the new engine makes its way to the R1200GS, R1200GS Adventure and R1200R.

Expect the 2019 BMW R1200RT to debut this fall at the Intermot show in Cologne, Germany. Until then, check back with us here on for the latest information as it becomes available.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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