BMW K1600GT The ultimate in refinement
FIRST TEST BMW K1600GT £21,380
BMW’S class-defining GT now goes backwards and even calls for help
BMW’S K1600GT is pure luxury. There’s no smoother, more refined way to tour on two wheels. Honda’s Gold Wing had previously ruled this category but it doesn’t have the versatility or handling of the K1600. When the sixcylinder BMW was launched in 2010 it set a new performance benchmark and left every other big tourer in its considerable wake. Now, for 2017, BMW have upped the stakes even further, adding more luxury and innovative ideas while making the sublime 1649cc Euro4-compliant without losing any power, torque or character.
This is the engine, remember, that makes 70% of its torque at just 1500rpm. And which, when you open the throttle hard, makes a silky 160bhp.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact the 1600 is big. At 334kg (90% fuelled up) that equates to 52.5 stone in old money, which is a lot of weight to shuffle backwards. But BMW have made life easier with an optional reverse gear for the first time on the 1600, using the starter motor to move the bike backwards. Once you’ve selected reverse, you press the starter button to slowly move backwards. Speed is limited to 1.2kph, but the 1600 will reverse up gradients of up to 7%.
Like BMW’S new GS range, the 1600 comes with the ‘next generation ESA’, which means damping is automatically adjusted on the move. Current K1600GT owners have to adjust the damping manually to either soft, medium or hard – but now it’s all automated. This is done via numerous sensors, including one for lean angle for the first time.
Pro shift assistant is an optional extra now, too, although the K1600 doesn’t really need too many gear changes - just stick it in top and let that immense torque do the work. BMW have also increased the size of the bodywork, screen and the two fairing compartments, which can be locked and linked to the central locking. New for 2017 are fairing winglets, which can be opened to increase the wind over the rider for a cooling gentle breeze on summer days.
Also new for 2017, but not available until September in the UK, is the optional Intelligent Emergency e-call. In the event of an emergency situation or an accident, the system will call a BMW call centre giving the positon of the bike and alerting the emergency services after being triggered either manually or automatically. After a ‘low speed’ crash the system will wait 25 seconds before alerting the emergency services, allowing time to override the system manually. The GT has to be moving and running for the system to activate, therefore it won’t react if the bike is knocked over, nor will the system record your speed in the event of the crash. It’s an interesting system and a two-wheeled first.
‘There’s no smoother, more refined way to tour on two wheels’
Chad’s Gt-inspired music playlist included Help,sos,back forgood and Babygotback
The GT’S fairing is bigger for better weather protection
SOS button is hidden under a flap
GPS is secured when the bike is parked