The rumor mill continues to turn with one of our inside sources stating BMW’s Concept 6 study is to go into production by early 2012. At this point, this news item still falls into the unconfirmed ‘rumor’ folder, but we do expect to see this materialize as outlined.
The reasoning is simple and two-fold. BMW need to capitalize as much as possible on the R&D costs associated with the new inline-6 motorrad engine – BMW’s first. To install this engine in the K1600 GT and K1600 GTL bikes without expanding to new models across the lineup would not make fiscal sense. While the touring bikes are well engineered and fully cover their segment, they do not breach into the sportbike or hyperbike segment at all, nor do they cover the ‘naked’ or cafe style market.
The second reason is based upon the resounding feedback from the initial Concept 6 design study. It’s a stunner. In fact, it is one of the most passionate, muscular, and beautiful motorrad designs we’ve ever seen. The fact that BMW chose this concept bike to release news of the new inline-6 engine to the world also stands as a good omen of things to come.
Will the new 1600 cc inline-6 phase out the current 1300 cc inline-4s in the lineup? In other words, will we see K1600S, K1600R bikes released, and the K1300GT discontinued from the lineup? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess – but we would venture to say that both the inline-4 and inline-6 engines will be offered concurrently. The inline-4 should still see some economical benefits in fuel consumption and a lower purchase price, whereas the 6 will serve as a more refined, prestigious flag-ship offering.
And that brings us back to the Concept 6: where will it fit in the line-up? Well, it may be positioned to the K1600 bikes as the K1300R is positioned to the K1300 bikes. That is, a back-road burning, head turning, all-round sport bike; but this time showcasing the best of BMW technology in flag-ship guise (expect to see auto-leveling and cornering adaptive xenon HID headlight, advanced TC, advanced aerodynamics including the use of ‘winglets’, integrated gps mapping, use of exotic materials including carbon fiber, and the latest in BMW’s adaptive suspension technology).
This still begs the question: will we see a K1600S hyperbike? In BMWBLOG’s opinion, likely yes. The 1600 cc inline-6 in its current form as fitted in the K1600GT is producing 160 hp at 7,750 rpm along with 96 lb-ft of torque from only 2,000 rpm – eventually trailing off at its 9,000 rpm redline. These are impressive numbers for any motorcycle, but note that the K1300 produces similar power, and only loses to the 1600 cc in torque. In fact, besides adding two additional cylinders, the engine has been stroked with a narrower bore than the 1300 cc inline-4, thus lending a torquey, lower rev nature to the bike. Have we seen the full potential of this engine? Likely not. The same source hints at potential output nearing or surpassing the S1000RR’s blinding 193 hp. Clearly, with tuning and modification for the job at hand – the K1600S will be a dominant figure on the hyperbike stage – sure to de-thrown the Hayabusa once and for all (… at least until the Japanese have another stab at it).
As it turns out, BMW may also use this new engine to power their new line of small, highly efficient “i” series cars, likely in unison with hybrid electric drivetrains. We do admit to guilty thoughts of a carbon fiber tubbed light-weight BMW being tossed around near its wailing 9,000 rpm redline – all while achieving relatively thrifty fuel milage. This would truly be the closest thing to the raw sensation and lightweight connectedness of an E30 since, well… the E30. It’s okay to dream.
Stay tuned for updates as we hear more and look for our BMWBLOG Ride Review feature of the new K1600GT in due time. Still fantasizing about the S1000RR? Click here to read our full review.