It’s a luxury tourer with the heart of a sportbike

LISTEN 10:45

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 MY2020. A six-cylinder engine puts it 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.

  • 2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
  • Year:
    2017- 2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Displacement:
    1649 cc
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    24045
  • Price:

BMW K 1600 GT Design

  • 5.7-inch TFT display
  • Xenon headlight with dynamic leveling
  • Stepless power adjustable windshield
  • Heated seats and grips
  • Adjustable two-section seat
2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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While the BMW K 1600 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’ll 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 narrows 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, color-matched hard-side panniers provide some storage for your epic road adventures, or maybe just an epic grocery run?

BMW K 1600 GT Chassis

  • Electronic suspension
  • Dynamic traction control
  • Corner-sensitive ABS
  • Lightweight frame
2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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A chill-cast, bridge-type alloy frame on the K 1600 GT 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 wizardry continues into the brakes with Hill-Start Control, added as standard for 2019, and 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

  • Liquid-cooled 1,649 cc inline-6 engine
  • 160 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque
  • Cruise control and hill-start control
  • Three ride modes and reverse assist
2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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For eighty years now, Beemer has been running six-banger engines in its bikes, and this new generation of powerplant in the K 1600 GT 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 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 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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You can score a K 1600 GT starting at $24,045 in Black Storm Metallic. Adding one of the Option 719 packages can push that up to a starting price of $26,490.

Standard Features: 3 Ride Modes (Rain/Road/Dynamic), ABS Pro, Adjustable Two-Section Seat, Center Stand, Cruise Control, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Dynamic ESA, Heated Grips, Heated Seats (Rider + Passenger), Reverse Assist, Hill Start Control, LED Tail Light, Luggage Rack, Multifunction Display, On-Board Computer, Power Socket, Saddle Bags in Body Color, Stepless Power Adjustable Windshield, Toolkit, Xenon Headlight with Dynamic Leveling
Colors:
└ 2018: Mars Red Metallic, Lupin Blue Metallic/Black Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Blue Planet Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Storm Metallic
└ 2019: Opt 719 Blue Planet Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic / Glacier Silver Metallic
└ 2020: Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Mineral White Metallic, Black Storm Metallic / Glacier Silver Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Bronze Metallic
Price:
└ 2018: $25,595
└ 2019: $22,995
└ 2020: $24,045

BMW K 1600 GT Competitors

2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
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2020 Honda Gold Wing
- image 964314

Honda recently renamed its full-dresser model as the Gold Wing Tour, so I’ll be using the bagger-tastic base Gold Wing for my head-to-head here. I think it’s an ideal competitor for this particular Beemer as they both borrow heavily from the American tourbike-style bikes to compete in the North American market.

Honda Gold Wing

2020 Honda Gold Wing
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The Gold Wing 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 similar 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. Oh, and the price of course. The 2020 K 1600 GT rolls for $24,045 to put it in a good position against the base Gold Wing with its $23,800 MSRP.

Read our full review of the Honda Gold Wing.

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 untour-like 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 the 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)
Top Speed: 125+ mph (est)
Electricals:
Alternator: Three-phase 700 W alternator
Battery: 12 V / 19 Ah, maintenance free
Details:
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded
Standard Features: 3 Ride Modes (Rain/Road/Dynamic), ABS Pro, Adjustable Two-Section Seat, Center Stand, Cruise Control, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Dynamic ESA, Heated Grips, Heated Seats (Rider + Passenger), Reverse Assist, Hill Start Control, LED Tail Light, Luggage Rack, Multifunction Display, On-Board Computer, Power Socket, Saddle Bags in Body Color, Stepless Power Adjustable Windshield, Toolkit, Xenon Headlight with Dynamic Leveling
Colors:
└ 2018: Mars Red Metallic, Lupin Blue Metallic/Black Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Blue Planet Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Storm Metallic
└ 2019: Opt 719 Blue Planet Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Black Storm Metallic / Glacier Silver Metallic
└ 2020: Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Mineral White Metallic, Black Storm Metallic / Glacier Silver Metallic, Opt 719 Sparkling Bronze Metallic
Price:
└ 2018: $25,595
└ 2019: $22,995
└ 2020: $24,045

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

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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