Drawing: Stefan Kraft
Six-cylinder project from BMW
Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place at MOTORRAD. “Broad-heron” does not mean a species of bird, but rather stands for a sensational engine that BMW is secretly developing. Not secret enough, because the news of the six-cylinder in-line engine came to light over a few corners.
BMW and the straight six? this is a glorious story for the Bavarians, who have created a whole range of these dynamic and sophisticated engines. In many variants from two to 3.5 liters displacement with outputs from around 120 to over 300 hp. But always only for cars and with appropriate dimensions.
That is why an experienced mechanic, whom the MOTORRAD editorial staff does not know and does not want to know for his own protection, was taken aback when he got his hands on some engine parts that were BMW and clearly belonged to a six-cylinder in-line engine. However, it was designed so gracefully and compactly like no other car engine from the manufacturer. So he pondered a little and informed a motorcycling friend, who in turn consulted his motorcyclist »Spezl«. He finally called MOTORRAD, shared the discovery that had already been played across several gangs and asked whether the editorial team had similar information and what type of motorcycle such an engine could be for. The editors had no such information, but were at least not at a loss for an answer to the second question. If the Bavarians are not planning the absolute exceptional surprise, it can only be intended for the successor to the K 1200 LT luxury tourer. The last K with the four-cylinder installed horizontally as a drive, the “flying brick”. Whereupon some editors measured a number of photos of stripped old K models and began to calculate. Would a straight six-cylinder be accommodated in a motorcycle at all, regardless of whether it was lying down in the BMW tradition or standing up as in the Triumph Rocket III? Hardly. It would be too long even for such a steamer, that much became clear quickly.
So across. After all, with the K 1200 S, BMW has built a multi-cylinder motorcycle engine with a transverse crankshaft for the first time, thus opening up a new design for itself. One and a half K-1200-S cylinder blocks, so the unanimous opinion, possibly brought to 1850 cm3 by a subtle extension of the stroke, should be able to be accommodated prominently enough and with balanced proportions in a luxury tourer. Historic six-cylinder motorcycles from the Benelli Sei to the famous Honda CBX to the Kawasaki Z 1300 as well as the Suzuki study Stratosphere presented last year prove it.
The Breitling’s restriction on the lean angle is probably best endured with a tourer. Especially since the experiments that BMW is doing with the air suspension struts of the HP2 models and the G 650 Xchallenge suggest that the future LT will be equipped with a pneumatic level control so that it always offers the greatest possible freedom from leaning. In terms of further technical refinements that go beyond the recently presented ABS and traction control, an automatic gearbox or an electromagnetic circuit with double clutch and additional functions such as automatic double-declutching take priority. Not to forget an airbag like the one in the Honda Gold Wing is available.
But before motorcycle designer Stefan Kraft got the go-ahead for his drawing, it was necessary to comb the information black market a little. What was sought was a tiny confirmation of the project, which was only weakly emerging. And indeed: after the turn of the year-
sel hardened the extremely speculative speculation. BMW dealers are subject to so-called purchase obligations, they have to purchase a specified quantity of certain models from the manufacturer. In 2007, it was learned that this did not apply to only two types: the R 1200 ST and, correctly suspected, the K 1200 LT. Even more, there were dealers who sold such a motorcycle in 2006 and whose customers had to wait a long time because the construction of their machine in the second half of the year could hardly be inserted between the other K models. BMW is still selling the LT in the USA with a bit of a liveliness, but is apparently building the quota for the states in one go and then largely leaving it at that. Advertising measures, special models, discounts ?? all the usual promotional activities do not take place for the LT. The technical changes are limited to a modified on-board computer that is already available for other models
would have. All in all, a calm, long-term sell-out strategy.
Experienced industry insiders are certain that BMW is currently selecting the suppliers for the series production of the six-cylinder motorcycle; they close on a period of about two years from today until the market launch. So the presentation would be in autumn 2008. But what does BMW say about it? Nothing at all for such dates, that was to be expected. Press spokesman Jurgen Stoffregen did not appear to be completely buttoned up; he would like to unsettle potential buyers of the Honda Gold Wing a little. O-Ton Stoffregen: “A six-cylinder in-line engine would go very well with BMW.” He comments on the connection between such an engine and a luxury tourer with the safe use of the subjunctive: “If you were to deal with such a motorcycle, you would be Well advised not to measure the displacement too tightly. ”And then to continue with the indicative when it comes to the old LT:“ Whatever happens to the old LT does not affect the 2008 season. ”That, in turn, fits the picture perfectly.
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