Split Sixes: BMW 740i and BMW K1600GT

A. J. Mueller

As opulent and indulgent as the 740i and the K1600GT are, they're not the end-all of luxury touring machines. Should you find yourself in need of more power or refinement, BMW is eager to help. For a mere $67,380, you can double the cylinder count, stretch the wheelbase by 5.5 inches, and finish the interior in BMW Individual style with a 760Li. You can't improve the K1600GT's power situation at the BMW dealership, but you can add a few thousand to the price by stepping up to the GTL, which trades in some of the sport-tourer credibility with a top-mounted luggage case, a rear-seat backrest, chrome trim, and comfort footrests.

Halving the cylinder count doesn't make the 740i half the car. It is every bit a 7-series. Even though our tester is modestly equipped with only $5600 in options, there is not a single notable feature that's absent. The 740i delivers the essentials -- navigation, heated seats, and a rearview camera -- as well as rich touches like the ceramic iDrive controller and the matte wood trim. If you're looking for restraint without compromise in this new age of redefined priorities, this is your car. There is no need to justify eight and twelve cylinders when six are this good. That's the beauty of a straight six. Stepping into a

V-6 hybrid Mercedes-Benz S-class is stepping down. Stepping into a straight-six BMW 7-series isn't a step down at all -- it's a step into a special club where a company stands by the merits of an engine layout that's continually being threatened with extinction.

Whereas the GT might not be the GTL, it is still a $20,000, six-cylinder motorcycle, and it is still a luxury. Straight-six engines are also a luxury. They're a luxury because you can get them only in luxury cars and on luxury motorcycles, but the sound, the feel, and the experience they provide make them worth it. Like Las Vegas itself, a motorcycle with a straight-six engine is a symbol of no-apologies, conspicuous consumption. It is a reminder of just how good materialism can feel. And even if we're not quite ready to return to that lifestyle, this big BMW bike is something worth having, because when you find a great road, the K1600GT's price and image don't matter. Now go find someone to loan you the money.

BMW 740i

Base price $71,875
Price as tested $77,475

24-valve DOHC twin-turbo I-6
Displacement 3.0 liters (182 cu in)
Power 315 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque 330 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Rear-wheel

Hydraulically assisted
Suspension, front Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes Vented discs, ABS
Tires Goodyear Eagle LS2
Tire size 245/50VR-18

L x W x H
199.8 x 74.9 x 58.3 in
Wheelbase 120.9 in
Weight 4344 lb


Base price $21,395
Price as tested $25,035

24-valve DOHC I-6
Displacement 1.6 liters (101 cu in)
Power 158 hp @ 7750 rpm
Torque 129 lb-ft @ 5250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel

Suspension, front Control arms, coil spring
Suspension, rear Parallelogram swing arm, coil spring
Brakes, F/R Dual vented discs/vented disc, ABS
Tires Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact
Tire size f, r 120/70WR-17, 190/55WR-17

L x W x H
91.5 x 39.4 x 56.7 in
Wheelbase 63.7 in
Weight 703 lb

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