BMW has brought out its big guns in the form of K1600 six-cylinder GT and GTL touring bikes, due in SA in June 2011.

Replacing BMW's four-cylinder K1300 models, the new in-line sixes are made for supreme running smoothness with effortless power delivery. The output of 118kW is the same as the K1300 GT's but torque has grown from 135 to a muscular 175Nm, with more than 70 percent of this already available from only 1500rpm.

Weighing 102.6kg, the engine is the lightest and narrowest serially-produced six-cylinder in-line engine for motorcycles in the over 1000cc class, says BMW, which means there are no drawbacks in terms of chassis geometry, weight distribution and centre of gravity.

The bikes are still no lightweights, however; the K1600 GT (without panniers) tips the scales at 319kg and the K1600 GTL (with panniers and topcase) a full 348kg.

The big Beemers come with high-tech features that include dynamic traction control with three modes, second-generation electronic suspension adjustment, and a see-around-the-corner headlight - the first on a production motorcycle - that reacts to lean angle.

The instrument panel is a large, liquid-crystal, colour display and suspension is by the traditional BMW Duolever front and Paralever at the rear.

An electrically adjustable windshield has a memory function, automatically returning to its starting position when the ignition is switched off and acting as an anti-theft system for the optional satnav.

The K1600 GT has an impressive range of standard features, including of xenon headlights, heatable grips and seat, cruise control and trip data computer.

The luxurious K1600 GTL is a serious long-haul tourer with a more upright seating position. In addition to sharing the abovementioned features with the GT, it also has a standard audio system with Bluetooth and MP3 interfaces.