BMW K 1600 GT review

Posted: 10 Nov 2012

BMW Motorrad without doubt is master of the touring motorcycle. Its reputation for building a wide range of competent touring machines is second to none and the K1600GT is arguably the best representative of the Gran Turismo (Italian for Grand Tourer) genre, whereby it is fast, economical and comfy. Not surprisingly, because it is a BMW, it is also high-tech.

BMW’s long association with straight six-cylinder engines stems from the automotive division. Renowned for its smoothness, this type of engine layout was a logical choice for a long distance motorcycle. And it works.

For smoothness and a unique sound, the six-cylinder K1600GT delivers both in big heaps. Even when loaded to gunwales of holiday gear and passenger the engine refuses to be fazed and simply delivers exceptionally smooth torque. Negotiating Spanish hilltop villages while stuck behind a herd of goats has never been so easy.

Hit the autobahns and the sound of six pistons at full cry is as unmistakable as Brit registered cars sitting in the outside lane – once you hear a six-pot bike you will never forget it in very much the same way as a three-cylinder Hinckley Triumph.

To say the K1600GT can cut through European mountain passes and blast back to the UK in comfort is an understatement. Comfort is part and parcel of BMW touring machines and needs to be when there is a 24-litre fuel tank brimmed at the start of the journey. Add to this an electronically adjustable-for-height fairing screen and height adjustable seat and just about every prospective customer is catered for.

Ride by wire throttle delivery and BMW’s clever closed-loop fuelling system ensures excellent fuel economy. We ran through a week of ‘normal’ ride to work mileage and averaged a creditable 56.4mpg while solo with empty panniers.

The GT is the base machine of a total of four K1600 model variants, but even so you’d expect the bike to be laden with a decent sound system but it’s only wired for sound – the full iPod/iPhone/GPS compatible audio system is a £1,060 extra!

Apart from the above gripe, the GT version has the usual BMW trappings of Duolever front suspension, adjustable rear shock and partial Integral ABS braking system. All of these are tried and tested and function perfectly. The Costa del Sol looks really attractive now with the knowledge you can leave anytime you like on a K 1600 GT and get somewhere else fast…

+ points – fast and comfortable way to travel two-up
- points – you’re paying heavy money for BMW’s technology

Price: £15,740
Power: 160bhp, 129.2ft lbs
Kerb weight: 319kg
Seat height: 810/830mm
Colours: light grey, metallic, blue

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