BMW HP4 (2012 - 2014) Review
- A gloriously exotic superbike
- The next step up from S1000RR
- High resale values
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Welcome to our BMW HP4 review and used buying guide. As if the standard S1000RR wasn’t good enough already, BMW made it even faster, lighter and more technologically-advanced, with this HP4 version.
The jewel in the HP4’s crown was the new electronic Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) suspension system, which adjusted the rebound and compression damping as you rode along. It gives the BMW the perfect suspension setting whether you’re on a bumpy back-road or hammering around a smooth racetrack.
This was the first generation of BMW HP4, and we were lucky enough to spend a lot of time with this bike during 2014 - we had one on the long-term test fleet. A new one was launched in 2017 and went off sale in 2018.
Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to join an online community to speak to people who actually own these bikes. We'd suggest the S1000RR Forum is a great place to start.
Watch: BMW HP4 vs BMW HP4 Superstock
BMW's HP4 FIM Superstock 1000 cup bike has made racing history. It was the first bike to race with electronic damping both front and rear and, furthermore, it was a winner. We grabbed the opportunity to throw a leg over the current, leading STK bike, and its stablemates to see how this highly-evolved road bike translates to superstock racing.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Compared to a fully-spec’d S1000RR the HP4 weighed 9kg less, tipping the scales at 199kg. This saving came from the use of lighter wheels, battery and various ancillaries - as a result the HP4 steered crisper and with less effort. New Monoblic Brembos gave more bite and the ABS settings were racier – developed in the German IDM superbike championship.
The big improvement to handling came from the electronic suspension. The suspension was more or less pliable depending on which of the four riding modes you chose, then it adjusted itself depending on the HP4’s road speed, throttle position, lean angle, ABS and TC intervention and rear shock movement. The system is impressive, giving you perfect ride quality, support and control no matter what the conditions.
Cornering ABS was added as a retro-fit optional extra in October 2014.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 193bhp S1000RR was already the most powerful superbike you could buy at the time - the HP4 had the same peak power, but more midrange torque and full power (instead of 163bhp) in its ‘Rain’ riding mode. The throttle response was even smoother than the revised 2012 S1000RR’s and in its ‘Slick’ riding mode, you could adjust the traction control via a button on the left bar (in 15 increments).
Just how fast is the BMW HP4?
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The HP4 was beautifully built and the polished aluminium swingarm was a work of art. We were stunned by the build quality on the launch of the bike.
Fast-forward to 2021 and our BMW HP4 owners' reviews show mainly glowing remarks, although one buyer does complain of paint chips from stones, and another of high servicing costs.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
When it came to power, equipment, electronics, handling and speed, no other superbike came remotely close to the HP4 when it was launched.
It's main rival was the Ducati 1199 Superleggera, although the BMW was a little less of a collectors' item and more of a usable weapon.
As well as the electronic suspension, the BMW HP4 had a new 15-stage traction control system, four riding modes, Brembo Monobloc front calipers, lightweight wheels, racing ABS, quickshifter, 200-section rear Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa SP, mini LEDs, tinted screen and an enclosed bellypan all included in the price. There was also a BMW HP4 Carbon model, with carbon fibre body panels.
Could the HP4 be too good for the road? It operates stratospheres above what you can get away with and at low speeds an inline four engine lacks character compared to a V4 or V-twin. But you can’t argue with its performance.
Its short-stroke motor should be peaky, but it has so much instant grunt at low revs that you’d never know it and only the Honda gets close to the BMW’s instant acceleration at the low end of the tacho. And when there’s a straight long enough to let it off its leash for a moment, your head spins with sensory overload.
There’s crushing acceleration, a high-pitched exhaust howl and the crackle and pop of the quickshifter doing its thing through the gears.
With its semi-active suspension constantly adjusting the damping as you ride, the HP4 never gets out of shape. The fork and shock are soft unless they need to stiffen up under braking and acceleration loads, so the ride is plush and you always feel the tyres digging in, searching for maximum grip.
With its clever suspension, predictable power delivery and race-grade brakes, you can’t ruffle the HP4’s feathers on the road. A choice of four electronic riding modes give you ascending levels of engine response and suspension stiffness and descending levels of traction control, anti-wheelie and ABS. So, there’s a mode to increase performance and safety to suit any conditions.
The motor is smooth, the riding position is natural and it even has heated grips. Our guest tester Berryman is gobsmacked: "It feels like juggling with a chainsaw. It’s so brutally fast and powerful, but not unmanageable. Every gear feels like first and the acceleration never seems to stop. It’s a struggle to recalibrate your brain to what’s happening."
|Engine type||16v, inline four-cylinder|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar frame. Double-sided aluminium swingarm.|
|Fuel capacity||17.5 litres|
|Front suspension||Electronically-adjustable 43mm upside down forks|
|Rear suspension||Electronically-adjustable single rear shock.|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four-piston Brembo monobloc radial calipers. Racing ABS|
|Rear brake||220mm single disc with twin-piston caliper. Racing ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||200/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||37 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£150|
|Used price||£12,800 - £20,000|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||193 bhp|
|Max torque||83 ft-lb|
|Top speed||186 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||145 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2012 – September: press launch of HP4 in Jerez, Spain.
- 2014 - HP4 goes off sale.
- 2017 - Second generation HP4 revealed.
- 2018 - Second-gen HP4 goes off sale.
Owners' reviews for the BMW HP4 (2012 - 2014)
6 owners have reviewed their BMW HP4 (2012 - 2014) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Excellent bike and does what it says on the tin. real bargain if you are looking for a very fast bike for the track- or road.
with the adaptive suspension the bike is almost a tourer - super comfortable but not a 1200 gs
no issues ever.. impressive
costly to service - and parts have occationally been an issue.
Only just got the bike, so will add to this review later if possible. First impressions - no fuel gauge, less torque than GSXR-1000 k6, until you hit the power band. Brake bite amazing, couple of fingers on the front brake and it will haul you to a stop. Electronics package although early tech for that sort of stuff, still incredible. On the road the traction control/abs and anti wheelie all work together even when pushing it. With a side benefit being plush suspension. It really is smooth, making doing distance on this thing easy. Wind protection is the best I have experienced. Being a taller rider 6ft 3. That is a really good thing. Peg position is also really good. If anyone has the standard RR and is considering rear sets, just do it if you are tall. You won’t regret it. Engine, it’s a cracker. Coming from a Suzuki GSXR-1000, it actually feels less torquey below about 3,750rpm then it let’s loose. Frees up and revs quickly, at around 8,000rpm it gets rapid. The sound is pretty addictive, even with the standard acropovic system, it’s still pretty loud and fun. The clutch is nice and light, so taking off above 4,000 rpm isn’t a problem. In summary. Amazing. A mate has ridden it, and said it rides like a 600, being able to flick it around, where it feels lighter than the GSXR, even though it’s the same weight within +>-2kg. It is so easy to ride. Cuts through the air better than any sports tourer I’ve ridden or other superbikes. A-B can be ridden very quickly, you can throw this thing about, the suspension soaking up the bumps and the electronics keeping the rubber in contact with the road means you can concentrate on really enjoying yourself. Heated grips as standard is also really nice.
Mind bending how this bike achieves such effortlessness, going over crap roads. Brakes haul you to a stop even from warp speed and over poor ground. Even if you try and downshift, get right on the front brake and the rear goes light, the BMW version of the slipper clutch, sorts out the traction mechanically and you maintain grip on the road.
Only 4 out of 5, because I believe there is more to be had. Compared to a Suzuki GSXR-1000 k6. It is a peach and gathers speed well. I think it could have more low end grunt, as in just off idle. Mapping and removing the cat will probably do this.
Allot better quality finish than Suzuki with the same amount of miles. Key is moulded in plastic, not rubber which as it wears, allows key to move within rubber. The lightweight wheels can easily chip from stones. And the front mud guard can peel again from stones. Swing arm is lovely, a departure from the many painted black ones they chuck on superbikes. Screws and fixings In general look like they are made of stainless steel
Had large service upon purchase.
Folding front levers, heated grips, adjustable rear pegs, lap timer, different rider modes, steering damper, electronic damping on suspension (comfy) anti wheelie control, quickshifter, back torque limiting clutch (slipper clutch) 200 section rear tyre. Doesn’t have fuel gauge on the pre s1000rr’s in general. So this is the same. Low fuel light only.
Buying experience: Motoline, lower Farringdon (near Alton). Great experience. Cannot recommend highly enough, great customer service. And Bahnstomer, the main BMW dealer right by them, very helpful and friendly. Have a look online at Motoline, they get lots of interesting bikes in.
Version: HP4 Carbon
Annual servicing cost: £150
Far and away the best bike I've ever owned or ridden. Outrageously fast, but also feels safe and secure.
Easy and reasonably comfortable to ride. Need to stop for a stretch after a tank of fuel. One finger for braking.
The engine is fantastic. More power than you'll ever need.
Never had a single thing go wrong with it. Maybe I've just been lucky??
Reasonable for service costs. Especially compared to an MV F4 that I had in the past.
The quality of all the parts is superb. As it's the Carbon Edition it has lots of lovely Carbon bits, beautiful levers and rearsets.
Buying experience: Bought from a main dealer. No issues.
Annual servicing cost: £150
Beautifully put together, fairing and associated carbon and plastics are solid. Stunning looking head turning machine, the Blue/white and carbon parts are perfect. Handling and brakes are as good as you'll get, two finger on the front brake lever are all you need. Photographs don't do it justice. Worst features..I don't like the longish can, swapped it for a much shorter 3 inch Delkevic open can...can't think of anything else so far.
DDC makes it easy, hop on and the bike educates the suspension to your riding style, no need to set anything up. How long can it be ridden before you need a break? Running out of gas or a pee break.
Not as smooth as RR 8 Blade onwards, mid range suffers slightly, hit the upper quartile and you better hang on, 9.5k and upwards it's mental.
German engineering nothing to add really.
Everything you will ever need, no gimmicks, essential features designed to keep you safe and upright.
Buying experience: Purchased from Dealer, positive experience.
Maybe I'm just lucky. Had a 2010 S1000RR and never had a thing go wrong with it. Just upgraded to the HP4, and impossibly, it's better in nearly every respect. The handling is even sharper, the mid range even harder, the suspension - well, I thought it would be sales hype, but what a difference. Open it up, and it literally tkes my breath away (and that's just in Sport /Race. . . haven't graduated to 'Slick' yet). Best bike I have ever owned, by some distance - and heated grips too!
Whilst the s1000rr has fantastic amounts of power, is easy any light to flick around any twisty road or track the build quality is just shocking. A recent survey on one s1000rr forum showed that only 2 out of every 30 owners haven't had part or engine issues... Ive had to have the sump replaced along with chain and petrol cap and my bike is only six months old and never been ridden in the rain.... Such a shame especially after paying so much...