A Luxury Tourer With The Heart Of a Sportbike

BMW’s K 1600 GT moved into its seventh year of production in 2017 with a fresh rebuild that the Bayerische carries right on into MY2018. A six-cylinder engine puts in the power-tourer category in both the torque and horsepower columns for solid performance even in spite of its not-inconsiderable heft. Built for touring, it strikes a balance between storage and aesthetics for a sort of “Euro-bagger” look that compares well with Honda’s new bagger-tastic Goldwing since both leave off the top case for their fully dressed, top-shelf models. This Bavarian bruiser brings a dark-and-swanky attitude to the table with the performance to back it up and all sorts of yummygoodness under the hood, so let’s dig in and see what else Beemer has for us here.

Continue reading for my review of the BMW K 1600 GT.

  • 2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Displacement:
    1649 cc
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
    25595
  • Price:

BMW K 1600 GT Design

2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
- image 786232
The factory wasn't playing around when it was factoring in the fuel tank; the seven-gallon bladder ain't no joke.

While the GT displays some Euro-style sport-tourer elements in its design, the low-and-wide stance and beefy overall looks steer it towards boulevard bruiser/bagger territory with an almost American-style sense of mass. At 771 pounds wet (sans cases), that weight isn’t just of the visual sort, but it’s definitely poundage well spent as the newly redesigned front fairing, cowl and electrically-adjusted, vented windshield punch a hole in the weather to form a generous rider’s pocket.

Xenon low-beams and halogen high-beams split the night from their recesses behind a wide one-piece cover. Inside the fairing, a large analog clock displays the speed with a smaller analog display for the tach and a 5.7-inch TFT display for everything else. Not only has the fairing been redesigned to provide more protection and comfort, but it now includes a small storage compartment in the inner legguard area on both sides of the bike, so you can store your possibles in lockable, water-tight compartments.

Speaking of security; the windshield motor comes with a memory feature that allows it to return to its previous setting. This is important because upon shutting down, the screen lowers itself to its bottom position to help keep your navigation system — now standard equipment — from growing legs while you’re away from your sled.

I tell you one thing; the factory wasn’t playing around when it was factoring in the fuel tank. The seven-gallon bladder ain’t no joke, and when you consider the claimed average mileage of 41 mpg you get close to a 300-mile range on one tank and that’s some serious stamina, certainly more than my butt could handle at a stretch.

Standard seat height comes with a choice between 32 and 32.6 inches high with lower options available in the accessories catalog to include a 29.5-inch solo seat if you really want to get that slammed look and help keep the low center-of-gravity down where it belongs.

The pilot’s butt-bucket is nice and narrow where it meets the waist, but flares out nicely ahead of a steep rise to the pillion pad. A set of J.C. handles and flip-out footpegs handle the other points of contact for the passenger, and both you and your pillion will benefit from the standard heated seats with heated grips thrown in as a little lagniappe for the pilot. Finally, hard-side panniers provide some storage for your epic road adventures, or maybe just an epic grocery run?

BMW K 1600 GT Chassis

2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
- image 786215
An electronic suspension control comes with two separate performance profiles for you to choose from so you can dial in the feel and response you want, even in the corners.

A chill-cast, bridge-type alloy frame forms the main structure with extruded-aluminum members to make up the subframe support and complete the lightweight skeleton. The suspension components aren’t the standard fare; Beemer uses its rather peculiar Duolever front suspension system that utilizes a coil-over shock to tame the motion of the front wheel with the Paralever system to support the single-side swingarm out back.

An electronic suspension control delivers automatic damping control as part of the standard equipment package, and it comes with two separate performance profiles for you to choose from so you can dial in the feel and response you want, even in the corners. As for cornering itself, the 27.8-degree steering head and 4.2 inches of trail works with the low center-of-gravity to make it stable in the straights but eager enough in the corners, more like a Goldwing, less like an Electra Glide.

The electronic yummygoodness continues into the brakes with corner-sensitive ABS on board to help manage the braking efforts and preserve the integrity of the contact patch, even when sharing the available traction between cornering and braking. Dual, 320 mm discs and four-piston anchors haul down the front wheel with an equal-size disc and twin-pot caliper out back, and I don’t have to tell you that’s an unusually large rear disc with lots of stopping power, but the ABS should allow you to safely use as much as the conditions will bear.

Symmetrical, 17-inch wheels mount ZR-rated tires with a 120/70 leading the way ahead of a 190/55, so yeah, the hoops can go way faster than you could ever get away with here in the States.

Frame: Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine
Front wheel location / suspension: BMW Duolever; central spring strut
Rear wheel location / suspension: BMW Paralever
Suspension travel front / rear: 4.5” / 5.3” (115 mm /135 mm)
Castor: 4.2” (106.4 mm)
Steering head angle: 62.2°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels
Rims, front/rear: 3.50 x 17"/6.00 x 17"
Tires, front/rear: 120/70 ZR 17/190/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: 320 mm Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers
Brake, rear: 320 mm Single disc brake, dual-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral)

BMW K 1600 GT Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
- image 786227
For eighty years now, Beemer has been running six-banger engines in its bikes, and this new generation of powerplant is a doozy.

For eighty years now, Beemer has been running six-banger engines in its bikes, and this new generation of powerplant is a doozy. It runs a 72 mm bore and 67.5 mm stroke for a total displacement of 1,649 cc and a sizzlin’ hot, 12.2-to-1 compression ratio. Dual over-head cams time the 24-valve head with a shim-and-bucket (not my favorite style) adjustment system. Induction control falls to the 52 mm throttle bodies with inputs from the ECU based on a combination of factors including rider input through the ride-by-wire control, level of traction control intervention and riding-mode settings all washed through the filter of the new engine mapping.

Push-button controls give the rider easy access to the various layers of electronic fandanglery so you can easily get it dialed in for taste and conditions. The dyno results point to a very capable engine with a claimed 160 horsepower at 7,750 rpm backed up by a stump-pulling 129 pound-feet of torque that peaks at 5,250 rpm. Solid power that would make most sportbikes green with envy and the electronics to help keep it under control; sounds like a win-win to me. Power flows through a wet clutch pack ahead of the six-speed transmixxer that rocks quiet and strong helical gears that you can’t even hear as you work your way through the range. Yeah, sound contributes to fatigue, so Beemer adds yet another layer of comfort. You can expect speeds over 125 mph – not that it’s legal here — and mileage around 41 mpg (not at 125 mph though...).

Engine: 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
Displacement: 1,649 cc
Rated output: 160 hp (118 kW) at 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 129 lb-ft (175 Nm) at 5,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.2:1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical cut gears
Drive: Shaft drive 2.75:1

BMW K 1600 GT Pricing

2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
- image 786220
MSRP puts the GT squarely in the “premium” price category and easily tips in “luxury” once you start adding style and option packages.

You can score a base-model K 1600 GT starting at $25,595. This lux tourer comes available in Mars Red Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Lupin Blue Metallic/Black Storm Metallic. The Opt. 719 Blue Planet Metallic (my fave) or Opt. 719 Sparkling Storm Metallic adds $1,700 to the price. The factory also offers a Safety Package for another $735 that adds a tire monitor, Hill Start Control and an adaptive headlight that “looks” ahead in the corners into the mix. The luxe Premium Package brings the top-shelf gear to the table with the gear-shift assist, security feature and infotainment system on top of all-the-above for another $3,550.

PackageFeaturesAdditional Price
Comfort: Keyless Ride, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Central Locking System, LED Auxiliary Lights, Anti-Theft Alarm System +$1,410
Style 1: Black Engine +$500
Safety Plus: Adaptive Headlight, Hill-Start Control, TPM +$735
Audio, Comm., GPS Prep: Bluetooth Interface Control, Audio System w/ Radio, Sirius, and GPS Prep +$1,405
Premium: Adaptive Headlight, Bluetooth Interface Control, Keyless Ride, Hill-Start Control, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Audio System w/ Radio, Sirius, and GPS Prep, Radio Software, Central Locking System, TPM +$3,550

BMW K 1600 GT Competitors

2018 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
- image 742329
2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
- image 786216
The GT rolls neck-and-neck with the Honda at just about every important point and it comes down to aesthetics for me.

So, Honda recently rebuilt its base Goldwing as a bagger, and I think it’s an ideal competitor for this Beemer. Even though the F6B definitely gets an honorable mention, it’s just got too much boulevard in it and not enough superslab.

The GW carries itself much as usual with a classy/tasteful finish that displays a well-planned-out flow and grace that belies its size in much the same way its handling does. An electrically adjustable windshield gives the GW an adjustable rider’s pocket similar to its counterpart with hard bags in back for some cargo capacity.

Like Beemer, Honda opts to leave its top case for the full dresser, so the GW strikes a somewhat boulevard-bruiser-tastic pose that takes the grandpa-bike edge off Honda’s flagship tourbike. Too bad it doesn’t do the same with the powerplant. Honda’s flat-six hits the mark with 125 pound-feet of torque that nearly matches the Beemer, but horsepower drops off dramatically with only 126 ponies on tap against the GT’s whopping 160 horsepower.

Honda does bring something to the table that Beemer can’t match: the Dual Clutch Transmission that delivers a fully automatic ride or can be button-shifted through the range. The GT rolls neck-and-neck with the Honda at just about every important point and it comes down to aesthetics for me.

He Said

“While the GW has certainly made improvements lately, I prefer the looks of the Beemer overall. The K 1600 GT is just enough of a tourbike for short jaunts, and untourlike enough to be fun around town and on twisty country roads. Seriously, the power this thing brings to the table is not to be poo-poohed away; you’d better respect this machine.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This bike really is much more agile than you’d expect it to be. The bike begs to be on the superslab, but it’s surprisingly sporty despite the hefty size and weight. The Gear-Shift Assist Pro is very smooth; BMW has done well making it much less clunky than on some of the other models. So how does it compare to BMW’s K 1600 B? The “B” is more cruiser-tastic and less of a tourer, but both are insanely comfortable and have that super-smooth six-cylinder engine that makes riding so enjoyable. It just depends on what you’re looking for that will decide for you which is the better fit.”

BMW K 1600 GT Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 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
Displacement: 1,649 cc
Rated output: 160 hp (118 kW) at 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 129 lb-ft (175 Nm) at 5,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.2:1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical cut gears
Drive: Shaft drive 2.75:1
Chassis:
Frame: Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine
Front wheel location / suspension: BMW Duolever; central spring strut
Rear wheel location / suspension: BMW Paralever
Suspension travel front / rear: 4.5” / 5.3” (115 mm /135 mm)
Castor: 4.2” (106.4 mm)
Steering head angle: 62.2°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear: 6.00 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR 17
Tire, rear: 190/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers, diameter 320 mm
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 320 mm, dual-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 91.5” (2,324 mm)
Width (incl. Mirrors): 39.4” (1,000 mm)
Height (excl. mirrors): 56.7” (1,440 mm)
Wheelbase: 63.7” (1,618 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight: Standard Seat: 31.9"/32.7", High Seat (one-piece): 31.9", Low Seat: 30.7"/31.5", Seat (one-piece): 30.7", Low Seat (one-piece): 29.5"
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: Standard Seat: 72"/73.6", High Seat (one-piece): 72", Low Seat: 69.9"/71.3", Seat (one-piece): 69.7", Low Seat (one-piece): 67.7"
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled: 736 lbs (334 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment): 454 lbs (206 kg)
Usable tank volume: 7.0 gal (26.5 l)
Reserve: Approx. 1 gal (4.0 l)
Maximum speed: Over 125 mph
Fuel consumption: 41 mpg (WMTC)
Electricals:
Alternator: Three-phase 700 W alternator
Battery: 12 V / 19 Ah, maintenance free
Details:
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded
Standard Features: ABS Pro, Integral ABS, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Xenon Headlight with Dynamic Leveling, Heated Seat, Cruise Control, Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), Heated Grips, Stepless Power Adjustable Windshield, Multifunction Display with On-Board Computer, Two-Section Dual Seat with Variable Height Rider’s Seat, Height Adjustable Rider Seat, Accessory Socket, Center Stand, Saddle Bags in Body Color, Luggage Rack, 3 Riding Modes, White LED Turn Signals, LED Rear Light, Toolkit
Colors: Mars Red Metallic, Lupin Blue Metallic/Black Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Blue Planet Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Storm Metallic
Price: $25,595

References

Honda Goldwing

2018 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
- image 742320

See our review of the Honda Goldwing.

Honda Goldwing F6B

2016 - 2017 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing F6B
- image 786268

See our review of the Honda Goldwing F6B.

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic
- image 744399

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic.

Honda’s Triple-Threat Automatic Transmission Program

Honda's Triple-Threat Automatic Transmission Program
- image 758078

See our article on Honda’s DCT transmission.

BMW K 1600 B

2018 BMW K 1600 B
- image 713703

See our review on the BMW K 1600 B.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, honda.com, harley-davidson.com

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