2022 BMW K 1600 GT/GTL Review: Sweet Six Team

Derryn Wong
2022 BMW K 1600 GT  - K 1600 GTL Review  - Singapore - - on the road frontal shot

A superb engine and minor updates keep BMW’s K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL touring bikes at the top-rung of luxurious, long-distance motorcycling

Malaga, Spain – When it comes to the upper-echelon of sport touring motorcycles, BMW’s K 1600 family has always had the edge thanks to the joy of six, and incremental upgrades for 2022 haven’t changed that.

First released in 2010, BMW’s K 1600 is one of two six-cylinder motorcycles still currently in production (the other is the Honda Goldwing) but the extra magic of BMW’s six-cylinder heritage means the K 1600 has always been a little more heartbeat raising.

Gruppe Sechs – the BMW K 1600 range

2022 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 B / K 1600 Grand America - Singapore - - group shot
From left to right: BMW K 1600 B, K 1600 Grand America, K 1600 GTL, K 1600 GT

The model lineup spans four models now – the traditional sport tourer in sporty GT and full-dress GTL forms, and the newer K 1600 B (Bagger) in the American bagger style, and a full-dress version in the K 1600 Grand America. We test the first two models here.

As full-sized touring bikes the GT and GTL pack almost everything but the kitchen sink, so there are few motorcycles more massive.

2022 BMW K 1600 GTL - Review - Singapore - - front side shot
BMW K 1600 GTL

Even though BMW’s huge R18 cruiser is longer for instance, and almost as heavy at 340kg, it’s closer to the ground and easier to manoeuvre with leg power alone. Smaller riders will need to work on their squats and bicep curls to nudge these beasts off the sidestand, so you also need to be judicious about inclines when parking too. 

Luckily, BMW now includes an optional reverse gear which uses the starter motor to drive the motorcycle backward, so less leg power is needed here. 

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - static front side
BMW K 1600 GT

But the bigness hides surprising agility. Like it is with the R 1250 GS, which is a cinch to ride once you start moving, the K 1600 GT and GTL are not unmanageable even for average-sized people (at 1.73-metres tall and 65kg, I’m no Hulk Hogan). The six-cylinder engine is ‘leant’ forward, for a low centre of gravity, and both bikes have relatively low seat heights too.

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - static rear
BMW K 1600 GT

The GT, as a sport tourer, lacks a topbox and sticks to two side panniers for stowage, while the GTL has a huge topbox and integrated backrest, which makes quite a difference to the bike’s overall lines.

Six mania – an epic motorcycle engine 

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - engine
1,649cc transverse inline six is tilted forward for a lower centre of gravity

BMW has focused on incremental updates here, with the 1,649cc transverse inline six-cylinder engine receiving minor updates – improved engine control software, sensors, probes – which means it’s now EU5 compliant, and now makes its peak power 1,000rpm earlier in the rev range at 6,750rpm. BMW also claims improved pulling power, with peak torque going from 175Nm to 180Nm. 

In plain English, the inline six is an epic piece of combustion-engine motorcycle technology. Despite the surprisingly guttural start-up bark, it delivers prodigious torque smooth as butter all the way through the rev range, in seemingly every gear and all situations.

2022 BMW K 1600 GTL - Review - Singapore - - on the road
BMW K 1600 GTL

The real eye-opener here is the smoothness and flexibility. Nothing I’ve ridden beats this in smoothness: there are some tingles through the control points, but they don’t ever become extremity-numbing. You just twist your wrist, the inline six howl increases, and you fly along faster and faster.  

There’s a lot of mass to shift, so the K 1600 is more velvet glove than armoured fist, but that fits perfectly with the brief of being a top-of-the-line mile muncher. 

An inline six on a motorcycle is like a V12 on cars, nothing beats it in terms of refinement, lack of vibes, and power delivery. The other thing to note is that, like V12s, the inline six is exclusive, and unique in the world of modern motorcycling and will not be around forever. 

Turn and learn – dynamics and handling

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - on the road
The K 1600 GT in Option 719 paintwork with pinstripes

The aluminium frame and suspension layout is the same, with a Duolever front end and single-sided rear swingarm, but the suspension itself has a notable upgrade. It’s BMW’s Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) generation-two, which features a six-axis IMU on board and, accordingly, continually-adaptive suspension with a Dynamic or Road preset.

Overall riding modes include Rain, Dynamic, and Road. Complementing the onboard tech are new self-levelling adaptive LED headlights, and optional lower flood/fill lights – but we didn’t test those as we only rode in the daytime. 

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - on the road , side panning shot

There is a 15kg weight difference between the GT and GTL, likely accounted for by the GTL’s big, high-mounted top box and the two behave quite differently on the road.

The GTL has a lower default seating position (750mm) and more relaxed ergonomics, almost like a flying armchair, really. It corners more leisurely, even in Dynamic mode. It feels in its element on the Spanish autovia, cruising above 100km/h, with the electrically-adjustable windscreen (on both bikes) reducing high-speed windblast significantly, and that wondrous six-pot generating turbine-like thrust whenever you want.

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - on the road

In contrast, the GT has a higher, sportier position,  more on the bike than in, so it has a more connected front end feel, and is a real joy to aim from apex to apex on mountain roads. Conversely, high-speed motorway runs are also possible but also require more effort from the rider. Nevertheless both motorcycles will make the miles melt away beneath your (heated) bottom, it’s just a matter of how plugged-in you want it to be when the tarmac starts to twist. 

Mission Control – infotainment and amenities

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - LED headlight

One new element on the bike’s front end are the lights: There’s a new LED active headlight which doesn’t just illuminate more of the bends during cornering, it can also correct for pitching movements (up to two degrees) for more even lighting at night, though we didn’t test it out on our day ride.

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - - 10.25 inch infotainment screen

Replacing the old dial-and-screen layout is a fully digital instrument/infotainment display which at 10.25-inches, is larger than the one you find on many cars. And we never thought we’d see the day when BMW motorcycles have an iDrive controller – but the cars do not.

2022 BMW K 1600 GT - Review - Singapore - -  controller left handlebar
We live in a society where BMW motorcycles have iDrive, but the cars do not

With BMW’s riding app connected and your phone stowed in the ventilated charging compartment under the windscreen, you have navigation and tunes available on demand. The new widescreen also does split screen info – familiar to BMW drivers. There’s an optional Audio system 2.0 for blasting your tunes, which is exactly what full-dress tourers are for.

But even without all those bells and whistles, it’s the inline six engine that really makes the K 1600 models special. Other motorcycles that could boast an inline six have long since become history. While this one will hang on a while more, but not forever, the fact that this one is made by BMW and found in a velvet beast of a sport touring motorcycle just makes it all the more sweet. 

BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL

Engine1,649cc, inline 6
Power160hp at 6750rpm
Torque180Nm at 5250rpm
Gearbox6-speed manual with up-down quickshifter 
Wet Weight343kg /358kg 
Fuel capacity 26.5-litres
Seat Height 810mm / 750mm
AgentPerformance Motors Limited 
Price TBC 
Verdict A top-dog of the motorcycle touring world, BMW’s K 1600 shows there’s almost nothing better than six on two-wheels 


bmw k1600 k1600 grand america k1600b k1600gt k1600gtl motorcycle motorrad sport touring touring

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism, previously being the editor of Top Gear Singapore, a presenter for CNA, contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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