BMW K1600GTL (2011-on) Review

Published: 03 June 2011

Immense six-cylinder tourer bristles with features and raises the bar for 'full-dressers'

BMW K1600GTL

Immense six-cylinder tourer bristles with features and raises the bar for 'full-dressers'

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The K1600GTL is now BMW’s premier sports tourer and puts the big machine right in the firing line of bikes like the Honda Pan-European, and the Honda GoldWing. Over the GT it comes with a massive top case big enough to swallow two full size helmets, the same panniers as the GT, plus it gets lower and further back handlebars, lower footrests, lower pillion footrests and a more luxurious pillion seat. Yet despite those small changes the extra weight and riding position of the GTL makes it feel very different.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

This bike is still incredible, just not quite so accomplished as the GT when it comes to covering ground fast. The extra weight over the standard GT means it suffers slightly on bumpy roads but for its sheer size this bike is an amazingly accomplished mile muncher. Sit back, take in the touring way of life and there are few things you’d rather be sat on top. Except for maybe the K1600GT.

Engine 5 out of 5

The six-cylinder engine is so smooth a baby could sleep on it. Zero vibration, tons of torque, a soundtrack unlike any other bike and the ability to chug along at any revs in top gear. Put simply, it's the most amazing bike engine anyone has ever built. Five stars aren't enough. But where the GT is all about that engine, revs building high, going fast and slicing through the countryside, the GTL is more about taking a relaxed pace.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Too early to say

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

£17,000 is an awful lot of money, but when you think that essentially you’re buying a bike with the performance of a sports car but the comfort of an estate car, then it’s not too bad, all considered.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

With more kit than your average high specification 5-series car, there are more extras on this bike than anyone will ever need. Over the GT, it comes with a massive top case big enough to swallow two full size helmets, the same panniers as the GT, plus it gets lower and further back handlebars, lower footrests, lower pillion footrests and a more luxurious pillion seat. There’s riding modes and options on adjustable electronic suspension, stereo, heated seats, Sat. nav.... you name it.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their BMW K1600GTL (2011-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW K1600GTL (2011-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

13 February 2016 by omnione

How is it not possible to give a five out of five rating Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Horses for Courses The good. It does what it is designed to do supremely well, mile after mile of unbelievable comfort, tour the continent, no problem, fancy a mad moment, again no problem, even heavily loaded with the kit for two weeks holiday it remained sweet handling and utterly predictable. The brakes are that good you simply don't think about them, very powerful yet not at all grabby at low speed. The suspension design works well even under heavy braking loads which means with out realising it you are often braking far harder than on a bike with a more conventional suspension set up. The bad Not a bike for rush hour traffic, riding it fully loaded with a passenger means it will be weighing about ½ a ton and that can introduce a little stress to your day. Brussels immediately springs to mind, roads that were greasy and wet, throw in the cobbles, tram tracks complete with errant trams, well, I think you get my point.
Engine
5 out of 5
I haven’t been able to work out how BMW can make an engine that pulls, without labouring, from idle speed in any gear to warp speed without a hint of protest and yet still manage to return 50mpg during normal riding. There is no vibration, and I mean no vibration, just silky smooth power everywhere in the rev range, the ideal engine for a touring motorcycle, or Mad Max! The sound from the exhaust as the revs climb is utterly intoxicating, red lining it can get you to licence loosing speeds in the blink of an eye. (well in the U.K. at least).
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
It has been very reliable over two continental trips one to Lake Como and the other to Belgium last year. The only niggle has been a headlamp that has on occasions misted badly when riding in the rain or damp weather it's being replaced by BMW Motorad under warranty shortly (at a cost of over £1000 for the headlamp alone!).
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Road tax 81.00, F/comp insurance 183.89, Tyre 130.00, Service(BMW) 237.87, Total 634.87 Here's the sticking point. It's all relative of course, if you buy new, nearly £20,000 is a huge chunk of money in any language. But once you've paid for the thing the servicing costs can be surprisingly reasonable. Because the servicing is menu driven you only pay for what is needed at that time, and if you fit your own tyres and brake pads and just pay for the items that are required to keep the warranty in force the cost for a 6,000 mile (or 1 year) service can be surprising reasonable. The 18,000 mile service is the killer not helped by the extraordinary expensive cost of the six spark plugs and the valve check. How iridium plugs that would last 70,000 miles in a car need changing so often is beyond me and because they are unique to the BMW means no cheap after market supplies. Same with the valve check, reading the forums I have not heard of any bikes needing adjusting, once again similar technology used in cars but much longer service intervals between checks. But must not bash BMW Motorad too much, some rivals (Honda, Kawasaki ect) have nearly identical servicing requirements and cost's on some of their models at similar mileages. The largest cost by far is depreciation which I have not included in the above, it can be eye-wateringly expensive. My machine which I bought used in March 2015 for £15,890 was valued by a BMW dealer recently at a little over £11000 making for a potential loss of £4890.00 per year despite it's current value in the showrooms of about £14500. Guess that free coffee and nibbles in the showrooms is not really free at all.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I'm going to sound like a right fan boy here. If you get the same bike I own every thing you could possibly want is all ready on the bike, cruise control (don't knock till you've tried it), radio (ditto), heated grips and seats, electronic suspension, traction control, central locking, anti theft alarm it might be better to try to think of something BMW have missed off.
Buying experience

BMW showrooms are in my experience well laid out friendly places with expensive espresso machines (with china cups) and sometimes equipped with a mini snack bar stocked with biscuits and nibbles all complimentary. Again in my experience there is not much wiggle room price wise when dealing with the different dealers, all seem to give similar trade in prices and any special offers like a free comfort pack upgrade recently on the GTL for example are usually instigated by BMW themselves and not the dealers.

5 out of 5

WOW to the Beemer

11 September 2015 by Oaksey

Best feature, the smoothness, worse, none (as yet) Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
For my BIG ass the seat could be a smidgen longer. All round smooth comfortable bike.
Engine
5 out of 5
Smooth in every gear especially top and at low revs.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
£180 for a run in service is in my book too much. I suppose you buy quality so you may premium prices.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Fantastic buying experience from Mottorad East (Dalkeith)

5 out of 5

12 months on

01 July 2014 by busterrabbit

2 European tours and 10,000+ miles later the bike still impresses every time out. stewartswan there is certainly some backlash in the drivetrain, especially the pre-2013 models, but I find it's not so bad with a few more revs. Being a 6 it's easy... Read more to ride at l,000-1,500 rpm, which is great on a steady throttle but can be less smooth on/off the throttle. The gear change also improves a lot with a few more revs. Off to the alps again later this year, the bike is just wonderful, solo or two up with luggage it stops, goes and handles brilliantly. Not that it's significant once you've blown £19k on a bike but it averages around 50MPG and the original rear Z8 Interact was still well legal at 6,500 miles, looks like the PR3s will last longer. Probably 90% 2 up riding so I can't rag it too much, but we "make progress" as the Police might say.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Clunky with flaky paint

08 October 2013 by stewartswan

I own a 2011 K1600GT. The driveshaft lash is terrible and unsettling while driving. The bike is just 2 years old and the paint on the engine has blistered and is now falling off. As the engine is a major part of the bikes styling it makes a nearly... Read more new bike look older and with bad build quality! The centre stand has is completely covered in rust. BMW refusing to fix defects as I bought bike from a Kawasaki Dealership

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

K1600GT

03 July 2013 by busterrabbit

Done 1,500 miles on my new 1600GT, we're off to tour France next week. It's brilliant, engine chassis it's a superb package, very close to being a sports bike solo, and the best sport tourer 2 up. There are more differences between the GT and GTL... Read more than roadtests reveal although they are mechanically IDENTICAL except for the exhaust note. The GTL is only heavier because it has the top box and audio as standard, that's it, except slightly bigger footrests. The GT screen has a V shaped top edge to allow better visibility over the top than the rounded top GTL screen. Expensive, and I know I'm lucky to be able to afford one, but road test a GT to understand just how great they are.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

GT1600

12 January 2013 by rnrpbr1982

Have had the GT1600 for 18 months now, the bike is fantastic, the engine is silky smooth and can pull from very low revs, handling is reassuring even at slow speeds, the equipment is fantastic and functional. I love the bike and its at home in the... Read more centre of London or cruising the country lanes. However reliability has been an issue for my bike, thankfully its under warranty! the problems to date, auto cruise failure, starter button failure (had to be recovered) engine warning light (faulty coil) and had to put bike in a further three times for a faulty starter motor clutch which is now resolved. Had to have the both remote controls replaced as well. Maybe I've been unfortunate, but regardless I'll keep the bike, best bike I've ever had, just hope the faults stop!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Not bad

27 June 2012 by robespierre

I have a K1300GT SE and recently when it was in for a service, I thought I would try out the K1600GT (as I suppose this is the next bike). I had it for half a day and my initial impression is "wow" what a fantastic engine. Smooth and fast compared to... Read more my 1300. However the seat was awful. Higher and wider and harder than the 1300 and I'm 6ft tall. I couldn't get comfortable on it. Also it didn't go round bends as well. In the end I was glad to be back on my own bike. Although a rougher engine more pleasant to drive. So, in terms of upgrading, I'm not sure where to go. maybe I'll look at the new Trophy 1200 (although its a heavy beast).

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Mega

11 November 2011 by kbgains

Very capable bike for the size. Engine is awesome and at an average of 50mpg (on a tight engine)is giving a range of high 200's. Have to agree with the other review that it could do with reverse as it can be a bit of a strain trying to back-pedal a... Read more third of a tonne. Its more than happy in 6th gear from 1500rpm without labouring so should make serious touring effortless - just need some decent weather to prove the point. Having just completed a return trip to Scotland (from the Midlands) happy to report that for the first time ever had absolutely no grumbles about the wife's sore ass!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

got one

16 June 2011 by gra271

could do with reverse, screen is just a bit high in the down position,miss the automatic stand, but... everything else is great. it holds a very steady line in the bends, even on rough tarmac. have not been above 5 thousand rpm as only 650... Read more miles.70mph with cruise control is almost silent, but change the mode to dynamic and it changes the power delivery and sound. just need the sun to shine now ;}

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2011
Year discontinued -
New price £17,800
Used price £10,500 to £14,500
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £570
Performance
Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 175 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Specification
Engine size 1649cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled inline six cylinder, 6 gears
Frame type Cast front frame with aluminium extruded sections, engine as a stressed member
Fuel capacity 26.5 litres
Seat height 750mm
Bike weight 348kg
Front suspension Fully adjustable with option for electronic adjustment
Rear suspension Fully adjustable with option for electronic adjustment
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs, BMW four-piston callipers
Rear brake Single 320mm disc, BMW two-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

New for 2011

Other versions

Model name: K1600GT. Comes with sportier riding position, higher pegs, and no top box

Photo Gallery

  • BMW K1600GTL
  • BMW K1600GTL
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  • BMW K1600GTL
  • BMW K1600GTL
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  • BMW K1600GTL
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