Simultaneous to an international audience attending the annual Intermot show in Cologne, Germany, BMW unveiled its new K1600 GTL touring motorcycle Tuesday night at an event held inside Jay’s Garage in Burbank, California. Avid BMW rider Harrison Ford joined Leno for the debut of the six-cylinder touring motorcycle that many believe will directly challenge the Honda Gold Wing.
The GTL, with its full touring kit including top case, cushier suspension, and comfortable riding position, is considered by BMW to be a completely new kind of touring bike. “A top tourer,” said Pieter de Wall, vice president of BMW Motorrad U.S.A. “But not a sofa on wheels.” Meanwhile the K1600 GT, made more for solo touring and performance handling, is a direct replacement in the BMW lineup for the K1300 GT.
BMW has managed to scale down its signature inline-six engine technology it uses in its automobiles for the motorcycle. The 1,649 cc engine produces 160 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque, with fuel economy as high as 50 miles per gallon on the highway, BMW said. The GTL weighs 708 pounds, while the GT is 33 pounds lighter.
The K1600s feature a slew of further innovations, including an adaptive xenon headlight that aims precisely and continuously relative to the road ahead, no matter how curvy. It works with the bike’s electronics systems to detect lean, pitch, and body angle. The K1600s also has a multifunction controller, almost like a motorcycling version of the iDrive system found in BMW’s four-wheel vehicles, to access settings for the bike’s many features.
It comes with Bluetooth connectivity for devices like phones and music players. An optional Garmin-sourced navigation system is removable, for use as a hand-held, or on another bike.
The bike, which was not made available for test rides at this event, will hit the market next spring at a price that “has yet to be determined,” Mr. de Waal said. “But I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the price is, relative to the technology being offered.”