The K1600GT and K1600GTL models will be powered by a 1634cc inline six-cylinder engine that is claimed to be not much wider than most inline fours.
An styling sketch of the K1600GT sport-tourer, which will replace the K1300GT. The inline six engine will be canted forward 55 degrees like the current K-bike engines.
The styling sketch of the K1600GTL shows the slightly more upright riding position, plus the inclusion of the passenger position and the hard bags and trunk.
The new K1600 models will also have an innovative "adaptive headlight" option that uses a moving mirror to keep the xenon low-beam headlight beam level to the road regardless of lean angle or forward/rear chassis pitch. This maintains proper illumination of the road ahead, especially during cornering.
The K1600 models will also feature another first for motorcycles: a TFT (thin film transistor) color display panel that is far better than the current single-color LCD panels currently in use.
There are still some hoping that the Concept 6 concept bike that was shown at the '09 EICMA Milan show was more than just a mockup.
BMW announced that it will be introducing two new motorcycles later this year powered by the inline-six-cylinder engine that was displayed in the Concept 6 concept bike at the ’09 EICMA Milan show in November. The BMW K1600GT will be a sport-touring replacement for the current K1300GT, while the K1600GTL will replace the K1200LT touring rig.
The 1649cc inline six has a bore/stroke ratio of 67.5 x 72mm, making it a slightly undersquare configuration in an era of oversquare engines. The smaller bores made a tight cylinder center-to-center spacing of 77mm possible, with only 5mm between each cylinder wall keeping overall engine width 100mm narrower than “all previous serial production six-cylinder in-line engines used in motorcycle construction.” The total width of the engine is claimed to be 560mm, only slightly wider than most inline four-cylinder engines. Like the current K1300/1200 powerplants, both K1600 engines are canted forward at a 55-degree angle, with dual overhead cams driven by chain and a flat combustion chamber forcing a 12.2:1 compression ratio. Also like the 1300/1200 four-cylinder, the engine uses a dry sump lubrication system, with the oil reservoir forming an integrated tank in the rear of the crankcases, eliminating the need for an external oil reservoir and lines.
Instead of using separate throttle bodies for each cylinder, the 1600 employs an automotive-style single centralized 52mm throttle body that feeds six individual intake runners. The throttle setup is a ride-by-wire system, with three engine modes (“Rain”, “Road”, and “Dynamic”) selectable for various riding scenarios. Claimed power figures are 160 horsepower at 7500 rpm, and a stump-pulling 129 ft/lb of torque at 5000 rpm; with its undersquare bore/stroke configuration, 70 percent of maximum torque is said to be available as low as 1500 rpm, while maximum rpm is limited to 8500 rpm—another contrast in an age of five-figure redlines.
The chassis is the same aluminum bridge-type used on the current K bikes, with Duolever front suspension and Paralever rear suspension continuing the K bike heritage. The current EVO brake system with BMW Motorrad Integral ABS will come standard, with the second-generation ESA II (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) first seen on the S 1000 RR superbike available as options.
The two K1600s will also feature a first in motorcycling: an “adaptive headlight” option that maintains a level beam pattern no matter what lean angle the bike is at. (2011 BMW K1600 Adaptive Headlight video) Using a xenon low-beam projector equipped with a reflector mirror, the adaptive headlight features a stepper motor that turns the mirror on an axis in relation to both lean angle and pitch forward or rear, thus maintaining a level and far-reaching beam pattern that illuminates the road ahead whether during cornering, braking, or accelerating. The system uses a gyro sensor similar to the one used by the S 1000 RR for its DTC system. And in another nod to its automotive brethren, the K1600’s twin high beam halogen headlights feature lighting rings similar to the “angel eyes” that are now common to the BMW automobile headlights.
The instrument panel with an analog tachometer and speedometer powered by stepper motors will also feature another first for production motorcycles: a 5.7-inch TFT (thin film transistor) color monitor instead of a conventional single color LCD screen to display various information. The advantages are numerous; in a very basic sense, it’s like the jump from black and white television to the flat-screen TVs of today. Also new is a “Multi-Controller” that replaces the cluster of buttons and switches on the left handlebar. By rotating the controller up or down or toggling left or right, the rider can access various systems without having to search for the correct button or switch; the menus on the monitor are also set up in a “flat hierarchy” system that allows easy recognition and access to the specific component or control without having to scroll or toggle through countless submenus.
No pricing information on the K1600s was available, and as to be expected, there were no comprehensive photos of the bikes themselves. BMW is most likely saving all of that for what will probably be the bikes’ official unveiling in October at the INTERMOT show in Cologne, Germany.