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BMW Will Manufacture Inline Six-Cylinder Tourer: Previewed by the Concept 6

BMW has unveiled the “Concept 6”, a bike that heralds a new era for BMW Motorcycles utilizing inline six-cylinder power. BMW has already indicated the six-cylinder engine format will be featured in production models, including initially a luxury touring machine. The new six-cylinder unit (which will displace 1600cc, at a minimum) is extraordinarily light and compact, not much wider than a four-cylinder machine of similar displacement. Here is BMW’s press release regarding the Concept 6 and its new engine design:

Munich. Six-cylinder power
units have always had particular appeal, offering not only supreme smoothness
and refinement, but also superior power and performance as well as a
truly emotional driving – or, in this case, riding – experience.
A further point is that the typical sound of a straight-six almost like
a turbine is absolutely incomparable, with straight-six power units
at BMW having stood for fascinating engine technology in BMW cars for
more than seven decades.

Looking at motorcycles, inventive
engineers have also tried time and again to offer the enthusiast the
thrilling concept of a straight-six power unit. But while a few engines
in straight-six configuration have indeed been fitted in motorcycles
both lengthwise and crosswise, the straight-six has never really made
a genuine breakthrough neither on production models nor in motorcycle

Depending on the way the engine
was fitted, six cylinders in-line inevitably made the engine either
very long or very wide, creating disadvantages in terms of the running
gear, weight distribution, and the centre of gravity. A further drawback
was much higher engine weight usually setting off the benefits of extra
engine power.

The BMW Concept 6 now proves
that a straight-six, benefiting from the most advanced construction
and production technology, may offer not only unique prestige, but also
a supreme standard of riding dynamics.

The new BMW straight-six will
further expand the K-Series in the foreseeable future. The first model
to be introduced will be an innovative and luxurious BMW touring machine.
Reflecting the tradition of the BMW K-Series, this will of course be
a genuine top-of-the-line product. 

Highly compact and dynamic

The starting point for this
dynamic introduction of the straight-six in the new Concept 6 from BMW Motorrad
is of course the extremely compact form and configuration of the engine.
The power unit is approximately 100 mm or 4″ slimmer than all former
straight-six production engines and only a bit wider than a large-capacity
straight-four with conventional technology.

The reduction in width is
achieved in particular by the slightly over-square bore: stroke ratio
with relatively long stroke and very small gaps between cylinders. To
achieve this very compact configuration with minimum width, the electrical
ancillaries and their drive components are positioned behind the crankshaft
in the open space above the transmission.

High-tech lightweight construction
in all areas serves to make the power unit relatively light from the
outset, important components in this context being the two hollow-drilled
camshafts and the very light connecting rods. The perfect compensation
of masses ensured by the configuration and layout of the engine avoids
the need for a balance shaft and its drive elements on the new straight-six,
which again means lower weight and enhanced running smoothness.

In its layout, the straight-six
featured in the Concept 6 follows the well-known straight-four in the
K 1300 model series, again coming with cylinders tilted to the front
by 55o. This ensures not only a low centre of gravity, but also very
good weight balance as an element essential above all under sporting
conditions for precise feeling and clear feedback from the front. A
further advantage is that the tilted engine provides extra space for
the aerodynamically positioned intake manifold directly above the engine
and allows ideal configuration of the frame profiles following the flow
of power.

The straight-six featured
in the BMW Motorrad Concept 6 comes with dry sump lubrication. Apart from
greater reliability even under extreme conditions, dry sump technology
serves to keep the crankcase particularly low and flat, with the engine
being fitted lower down and masses concentrated around the centre of
gravity. Doing without an oil sump, the engine may be positioned far
lower than on a conventional layout.

The oil reservoir is provided
by an oil tank integrated at the rear of the engine block. This avoids
the need for a separate tank, again helping to make the entire power
unit more compact and reduce weight to a minimum. 

Maximum supremacy in running
refinement and performance.

Designed and laid out as a
straight-six, the engine also opens up new dimensions in motorcycling
in terms of supremacy, power reserves, performance and running refinement.

Output of the new six-cylinder
will be in approximately the same range as on BMW’s 1.3-litre straight-four
power units. Torque, on the other hand, will be right at the top of
the range, even in comparison with the largest motorcycle engines, such
superior power and muscle coming inter alia from engine capacity of
no less than 1.6 litres.

The engine’s power and performance
characteristics are equally impressive, offering 130 Nm or 96 lb-ft of
torque from just 2,000 rpm and at the same time revving up almost to
9,000 rpm – a dynamic potential quite unparalleled in the tourer segment.
This alone qualifies the engine of the Concept 6 as the ideal power unit
for a wide range of different motorcycles. 

Environmental compatibility
and all-round economy re-defined.

The Concept 6 shows the absolute
supremacy of its six-cylinder drive system also in ecological and economic
terms. Fuel consumption of this six-cylinder naturally equipped with
a fully controlled catalytic converter is lower than on a comparable
four-cylinder under normal touring conditions. The use of E-gas technology
(ride-by-wire) then offers further potentials for enhanced fuel economy
and riding dynamics throughout a wide range of different riding modes
and conditions. And last but not least in this context, the straight-six
power unit featured in the Concept 6 offers long inspection intervals
through the use of cup tappets controlling the engine valves. 

Dynamic and powerful design
in Café Racer style.

Supremacy and dynamism are
also borne out clearly by the thrilling design of the Concept 6 and,
as usual, this project from BMW Motorrad is more than “just” the
attempt to develop a motorcycle of a kind never seen before.

Working on Concept 6, the
designers at BMW Motorrad have therefore focused yet again on technical
function and quality and, in particular, the emotional element bringing
together man and machine. Their rule, quite simply, is that a motorcycle
must not only follow the laws of functionality, but also arouse emotion
in all its facets. In a nutshell, therefore, the machine must be simply

Precisely this is why the
design of the Concept 6 focuses in particular on the powerful straight-six
engine as the heart of the machine. Conceived as a mixture of classic
and modern styling elements in motorcycle construction, the Concept 6,
with its long front end and short rear, takes up the design language
of the legendary Café Racer. Powerful and muscular, the body elements
extend around the power unit finished in a special platinum colour, presenting
the engine almost adoringly from every angle.

Smooth and soft lines ensure
fully organic integration of the power unit within the machine, while
at the same time they create a powerful, exciting and dynamic contrast
to the sharply contoured front and rear ends.

The so-called Split Face,
a well-known design element of the latest models from BMW Motorrad, extends
smoothly from the front of the fairing all along the top of the fuel
tank made of carbon-fibre, again confirming the high technological standard
of the Concept 6 and forming an exciting contrast to the outer shell
in aluminium with its white layers. The division into three sections
created by the Split Face is further accentuated at the front by the
LED headlight integrated longitudinally in the machine in its rod shape
and by the slender LED rear light extending far up into the seat hump.

The powerful and supreme character
of the Concept 6 is also underscored by the six-chamber exhaust system
complete with sidepipes and the strong presence of the intake ducts
again finished in platinum look. Aerodynamic components such as the
twin-tipped engine spoiler and the air guide elements derived from the
design of the new S 1000 RR Supersports, on the other hand, bridge the
gap between functional and clearly visible technology, on the one hand,
and the soft and smooth design of other body elements, on the other.

Innovative suspension technology
and equipment

The suspension of the BMW Motorrad
Concept 6 is built around a light-alloy bridge frame as well as Duolever
and lightweight Paralever arms holding and guiding the wheels front
and rear. Seventeen-inch HP forged wheels as well as the extra-large
brake system with its six-piston fixed callipers emphasise the sporting
look of the new machine and its high level of technology.

The outstanding supremacy
of the Concept 6 and its drivetrain is also reflected by details such
as the instrument panel intentionally kept in minimalist design but
nevertheless completely equipped with all the instruments and gauges
required. While a digital display performs its usual function of clearly
presenting road speed, there is intentionally no rev counter on account
of the supreme flow of power at all speeds. So instead of a conventional
rev counter, a LED display shows the rider at all times how much torque
is readily available whenever required. 

* * *

MD Readers Respond:

  • G’day from Australia – All I can say is – WOW !!! – I WANT ONE !!! I can only describe it as a “THOROUGHBRED MOTORCYCLE” – The NEW BMW CONCEPT 6 – 1600cc 6 Cylinder (hopefully) to be released by BMW in the near future ….

    Of all my years of motorcycling and there have been plenty, and of all the bikes I have owned and ridden, 35 of my own and hundreds of bikes I have worked on in my trade, which had to be Test Ridden after work performed on them, I have never seen anything that grabs me like this BEASTIE …. Man, would I love to give that thing a good Test Ride ….. 🙂 – Got the roads down here for it …. I guess I will have to start buying lotto tickets now, won’t I …… Cheers – Greg

  • Still to this day the CBX is one of my favorite bikes. There is no substitute for the aural experience of blipping the throttle of the CBX w/ a 6-1 header. The sound is inexplicably beautiful, sole-satisfying, exhilarating & it the motor is smooth as glass. The closest approximate in sound I can think of is a well tuned air-cooled flat six Porsche, but the CBX is far superior.

    We can only hope the BMW will have some of the above flavor. The BMW looks very attractive. Jimbo

  • The heck with the touring version, make the Concept 6 as presently designed!!! That is the first bike from BMW that actually caused a major flutter on my motorcycle style meter. Beautiful lines and a presence that screams “This is one Bad Ass Bike”. If they make it hopefully they don’t ruin the front end with one of their asymmetric light treatments. Steve
  • The Germans are finding back to their roots it appears (shudder): 5 x
    “supremacy” (once even “maximum supremacy”) and 4 x supreme in the article.
    Is this the ‘final solution’ of motorcycling? Nice as the concept may be, I
    think BMW overdid it a bit with the hyperbole this time! Thanks for the great site, Phil

  • I’ve always been a fan of sixes with the most magic of them all perhaps being the CBX. Listening to the advance press laid out before us, this had be quite the leap in experience to meet all their hype. Time will tell and at what cost? Rick
  • That concept bike is the first BMW to ever make my loins tingle. Damn – build it ASAP, that cafe racer is wicked cool. Keep the big tourer, bring the exciting cafe racer! Brian