The Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works, or simply BMW if you like) has proven time and again the quality of German motorcycle engineering since the early 20th century. Now operating as BMW Motorrad, the factory continues this legacy into the 21st century with the release of the BMW K 1600 GT, GTL and GTL Exclusive. Complete with the expected blend of luxurious, comfort-driven features and uncompromising performance, this ride is a perfect example of why Don Henley wrote, “I love those Bavarians, so meticulous.”

Continue reading for my review of the BMW K 1600 GT, K 1600 GTL & K 1600 GTL Exclusive.

  • 2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive
  • Year:
    2015- 2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Oil/water-cooled 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, two overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement:
    1649 cc
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
    29995
  • Price:

Design

2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive
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Beemer set out to design a top-of-the-line, luxury touring bike when this one hit the drawing board, and nothing was verboten when searching for ways to raise the industry bar with this all-inclusive “Exclusive.” Alongside the other GT models, this bike contains an absolute alphabet soup of system acronyms – details on them later – that add up to an incredible machine. At a glance, it looks like a traditional tour bike, what with the fairings, windshield and storage units.

This bike contains an absolute alphabet soup of system acronyms that add up to an incredible machine.

What you don’t notice with that glance is the electrically actuated adjustable windshield, heated seats and “Keyless Ride” security system that controls the steering lock, ignition system, fuel tank lock and alarm system via the “foil antenna” tucked away inside the tour pack lid that works only by proximity with your key fob. The “Hill Start Control” is probably my favorite feature, as it holds the bike in place and allows you to have both feet on the ground when starting out on a slope – much easier to deal with than trying to feather the front brake and throttle simultaneously with your right hand.

Headlight design represents another technological marvel – it responds to inputs from the pitch-and-roll sensors, and compensates for the turns and attitude (and maybe altitude?) changes in the road to keep the light pointed where you need it the most. This comes standard on the Exclusive, and is available as an option on the GT and GTL models.

On the subject of lights, there is a pair of dipped-xenon lamps in the fairing. I know a lot of people like these lights, but I ain’t one of them! They are easily confused with police ’blue lights’ in certain situations, and they HURT the eyes. I fail to see the wisdom in blinding oncoming traffic and increasing your chances of suffering a head-on collision, especially on a bike.

The K 1600 family comes with increasing levels of trim across the range. At the bottom, we have the GT that comes in a bagger, or boulevard bruiser format with a chopped-down windshield and hard bags with a luggage rack, but no tour pack to clutter up the top lines in back. In the middle, the GTL adds a touring trunk with a wide, comfortable, passenger backrest to the mix, along with a taller windshield to reduce head buffeting. As the name suggests, the Exclusive takes the tour-tastic features to the Nth degree with the addition of armrests and engine guards included as standard equipment.

Chassis

2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive High Resolution
- image 626122

Frame design is of the ’stressed engine’, or bridge design, and the cast-aluminum frame members keep the chassis light and strong. The BMW Motorrad Duolever suspension handles the front suspension, and the Paralever suspension supports the rear, with 4.9 inches and 5.3 inches of travel, respectively.

The Exclusive weighs in unladen at a solid 794 pounds, but the 320 mm brake discs and ABS-assisted calipers are sufficient to handle this approximately half ton of machine and man, woman or some combination thereof.

This is plenty of travel to keep you from taking a thrashing, even on rough roads and long trips. The bike weighs in unladen at a solid 794 pounds, but the 320 mm brake discs and ABS-assisted calipers are sufficient to handle this approximately half ton of machine and man, woman or some combination thereof. Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), along with the Automatic Stability Control (ASC), adds to the safety afforded by the ABS by intervening when the rear tire starts to slip during acceleration.

This all adds up to safety and security for the rider and even helps to compensate for lack of riding experience. You can disable the DTC if you are like me and want to ’feel’ everything rather than rely on an electronic crutch. While the Exclusive carries the DTC, Hill Start, ABS Pro and Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA II) as standard equipment, ESA is available only as an option on the GTL. The GT gets the DTC, Hill Start and ABS Pro as standard equipment from the electronic wizardry department.

In addition to the ample storage capacity in the tour pack and saddlebags (panniers), this bike proves to be an absolute ’camel’ when it comes to fuel capacity, with its incredible seven-gallon gas tank. Our wonderful Bavarian buddies also offer this ride in a variety of seat heights. We have the ’standard’ 29.5-inch height, the ’high’ 30.7- inch height and the ’extra high’ (how’s the weather up there) 31.9-inch height, one of which is certain to fall within the comfort zone for the majority of riders.

Drivetrain

2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive Exterior
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BMW’s choice of engine shows its commitment to the fiery-eyed peg-draggers among us. The 1,649 cc, oil/water-cooled, inline-six-cylinder boasts dual-overhead cams operating four valves per cylinder, producing 160 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. Even weighing as much as the bike does, this output should be plenty for getting yourself out of (or into) plenty of trouble, and the DTC allows you to use this power safely in a variety of conditions.

Compression is rather high at 12.2 to 1, putting the dietary requirements into the super unleaded category, and Beemer’s Electronic Intake Pipe Injection delivers 51 mpg at 55 mph and 40 mpg at 75 mph. The closed-loop, three-way catalytic converter keeps emissions within the Standard EU-3 envelope. A six-speed tranny uses helical-cut gears that provide quiet power transmission from the engine to the rear wheel via a shaft drive.

Price

2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive Exterior
- image 626132

The 2015 “Exclusive” will set you back $29,995, but all the features come standard, so you will not balloon the price by lusting after the available top-end systems. Unfortunately, paint is one of the non-options as this ride is offered only in Mineral White Metallic. Beemer bumped this price up a bit for the ’16 model year to $30,395, and changed the singular color palette to Sparkling Storm Metallic. The ’15 GTL rolls for $23,995 in black, with a handful of available paint upgrades for an additional $150 each, and the ’16 can be had for $24,395 in Ocean Blue Metallic Matte, Black Storm Metallic or Glacier Silver Metallic. Finally, the base-model ’15 GT comes in Light White, Sakhir Orange Metallic/Black Storm Metallic or plain Black Storm Metallic for $21,650, and the ’16 comes in Cosmic Blue Metallic, Black Storm Metallic or Light White for $21,995.

Competitor

2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive
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2016 - 2017 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing F6B
- image 653806

Given the top-shelf touring features and the abundance of body panels, the first competitor that comes to mind for the Exclusive is Honda’s flagship tourbike, the Gold Wing. Visually the two are remarkably similar, and even the regional differences usually apparent between Japanese and German products seem to blur.

Both sleds run six-cylinder engines, but while Beemer uses an inline configuration, Honda installed its proven flat-six, “boxer” engine. While there is no denying the pedigree of the Honda mill, it doesn’t come with quite the same level of gadetry as the BMW plant with its ride-by-wire throttle and traction control features. Honda slips a little in the performance category as well. The 1,832 cc Gold Wing mill cranks out around 103 horsepower and 110 pound-feet of torque, a generous amount by any standard, but the Exclusive plant brings the heat with a whopping 160 ponies and 129 pounds of grunt for a difference you will definitely feel when you twist it.

The Beemer advantage continues into the chassis as well; Honda offers combined brakes and ABS, but the suspension is rather “vanilla” compared to the dynamic, corner-sensing, self-adjusting forks on the Exclusive. In fact, the only area where Honda gets a clear win is at the till. A 2016 Gold Wing can be had for $23,999, significantly less than the Exclusive with its $30,395 sticker. Sure, you get a lot of nifty stuff with the Beemer, too bad a much higher monthly bike note (plus insurance) is one of them. I leave it to the reader to decide whether the doo-dads and extra performance is worth it.

He Said:

“If I were looking for a non-Harley tour bike, and had that kind of money to spend, this would definitely be on my short list of candidates. While I am not really feeling the color choice, I have to admit that the design is attractive, and distinctly BMW, as is the performance one can twist out of her. I would like to say that I am impressed, but with Beemer’s reputation I have to say that this is what I would expect from a top-shelf tour bike built by them.”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "It’s definitely a nice bike, but the price tag is a bit staggering. The Exclusive is the K1600GTL with the Premium Package included plus a few other amenities. If you’d rather choose the options you want included, go for the K1600GT or K1600GTL and start with a lower base price. The Exclusive comes in white. While that looks clean and sterile, it looks too much like a cop bike. I’d hate to have vehicles in front of me slowing down while they try to figure out if I can stop them for speeding. The bike has awesome horsepower and torque, and even though the lowest seat height is a bit tall for us height-challenged folks, I like that you can pick your seat height. That’s a nice option."

Specifications

Models: K 1600 GT K 1600 GTL K 1600 GTL Exclusive
Engine:
Type: Liquid cooled, 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication Liquid cooled, 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication Liquid cooled, 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
Bore x stroke: 72 mm x 67.5 mm 72 mm x 67.5 mm 72 mm x 67.5 mm
Capacity: 1,649 cc 1,649 cc 1,649 cc
Rated output: 160 hp (118 kw) at 7,750 rpm 160 hp (118 kw) at 7,750 rpm 160 hp (118 kw) at 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 129 lb-ft (175 Nm) at 5,250 rpm 129 lb-ft (175 Nm) at 5,250 rpm 129 lb-ft (175 Nm) at 5,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.2 : 1 12.2 : 1 12.2 : 1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3 Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3 Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Performance / fuel consumption:
Maximum speed Over 125 mph Over 125 mph Over 125 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 90 km/h: 52 mpg at a constant 55 mph (4.5 l) 52 mpg at a constant 55 mph (4.6 l) 51 mpg at a constant 55 mph (4.6 l)
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded Premium Unleaded Premium Unleaded
Electrical system:
Alternator: Three-phase 580 W alternator Three-phase 580 W alternator Three-phase 580 W alternator
Battery: 12 V / 19 Ah, maintenance-free 12 V / 19 Ah, maintenance-free 12 V / 19 Ah, maintenance-free
Power transmission:
Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, hydraulically operated Multi-plate wet clutch, hydraulically operated Multi-plate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical cut gears Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical cut gears Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical cut gears
Drive: Shaft drive 2.75:1 Shaft drive 2.75:1 Shaft drive 2.75:1
Chassis / brakes:
Frame: Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine
Front wheel location / suspension: BMW Duolever, central spring strut BMW Duolever, central spring strut BMW Duolever, central spring strut
Rear wheel location / suspension: BMW Paralever BMW Paralever BMW Paralever
Suspension travel front / rear: 4.9" / 5.3" (125mm / 135 mm) 4.9" / 5.3" (125 mm / 135 mm) 4.9" / 5.3" (125 mm / 135 mm)
Wheelbase: 66.1" (1,680 mm) 63.7" (1,618 mm) 63.7" (1,618 mm)
Castor: 4.3" (108.4 mm) 4.3" (108.4 mm) 4.3" (108.4 mm)
Steering head angle: 62.2° 62.2° 62.2°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels Cast aluminum wheels Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17" 3.50 x 17" 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear: 6.00 x 17" 6.00 x 17" 6.00 x 17"
Tyres, front: 120/70 ZR 17 120/70 ZR 17 120/70 ZR 17
Tyres, rear: 190/55 ZR 17 190/55 ZR 17 190/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers, diameter 320 mm Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers, diameter 320 mm Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers, diameter 320 mm
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 320 mm, dual-piston floating caliper Single disc brake, diameter 320 mm, dual-piston floating caliper Single disc brake, diameter 320 mm, dual-piston floating caliper
ABS: STANDARD ABS Pro (partly integral) STANDARD ABS Pro (partly integral) STANDARD ABS Pro (partly integral)
Dimensions / weights:
Length: 91.5" (2,324 mm) 97.9" (2,489 mm) 98.0" (2,489 mm)
Width (incl. Mirrors): 39.4" (1,000 mm) 39.4" (1,000 mm) 39.4" (1,000 mm)
Height (excl. mirrors): 56.7" (1,440 mm) 57.7" (1,465 mm) 57.7" (1,465 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight: 31.9" / 32.7" (810 / 830 mm; adjustable seat height) Standard; variable seat heights available between 29.5" (750 mm) and 32.7" (830 mm) (available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer) 29.5" (750 mm) Standard; variable seat heights available between 29.5" (750 mm) and 32.7" (830 mm) (available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer) 29.5" (750 mm) Standard; variable seat heights available between 29.5" (750 mm) and 32.7" (830 mm) (available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer)
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: 72.0" / 73.6" (1,830 / 1,870 mm; adjustable seat height) Standard; variable inner leg curve (inseam) between 67.7" (1,720 mm) and 73.6" (1,870 mm) (seats available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer) 67.7" (1,720 mm) Standard; variable inner leg curve (inseam) between 67.7" (1,720 mm) and 73.6" (1,870 mm) (seats available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer) 67.7" (1,720 mm) Standard; variable inner leg curve (inseam) between 67.7" (1,720 mm) and 73.6" (1,870 mm) (seats available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer)
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fuelled: 732 lbs (332 kg) 768 lbs (348 kg) 794 lbs (360 kg)
Dry weight:
Permitted total weight: 1,191 lbs (540 kg) 1,234 lbs (560 kg) 1,235 lbs (560 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment): 459 lbs (208 kg) 467 lbs (212 kg) 441 lbs (200 kg)
Usable tank volume: 7.0 gal (24 l) 7 gal (26.5 l) 7.0 gal (26.5 l)
Reserve: Approx. 1 gal (4.0 l) Approx. 1 gal (4.0 l) Approx. 1 gal (4.0 l)
Colors: Light White, Black Storm Metallic, Cosmic Blue Metallic/Black Storm Metallic Glacier Siver Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Ocean Blue Metallic Matte Sparkling Storm Metallic
Price: $21,995 $24,395 $30,395
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