Highlights of This Report:
November 11, 2011 - BMW formally released the production versions of what is now known as the C 600, a "maxi-scooter", at the 2011 EICMA show. The C 600 was first introduced at the 2010 EICMA show as the BMW Concept C (report).
Last year's prototype was a bit rough around the edges, but the production versions look clean and smart and ready to go. The C 600 will be available as the BMW C 600 Sport and the BMW C 650 GT versions. The Sport is, well, sportier and the GT is the touring version.
This is a huge step for BMW, opening up a completely new market. While it is unclear what effect the C 600 will have on the opinions and use of scooters in the U.S.A., scooters are extremely popular in Europe, due to high fuel prices (gas costs about the equivalent of $9.00 per gallon here in Italy) and crowded streets and parking difficulties.
I wasn't sure what to make of it in 2010 and, quite frankly, I never thought it would reach production. And I still wasn't sure about it this year. But after going back to the BMW display early in the morning on two occasions, where I had time to study it in the absence of crowds, it appears that the C 600 is not just another scooter. In an EICMA show chock-full of scooters of every shape and form, from electrics to 800 cc maxi-scooters and from across the glove, the C 600 is...a BMW.
After considering it, listening to BMW staff and reading the massive amounts of information provided about this vehicle, I think it will indeed change the course of scooterdom in the U.S.A. It has touring potential and, from watching the videos shown by BMW, it handles like a motorcycle. It should work just as well in downtown D.C. as it will out on the interstate in Wyoming.
BMW motorcycle traditionalists are probably shaking their heads in amazement -- as was I -- but, from everything I've seen so far, this is "the BMW of scooters" and, frankly, calling it a "scooter" is probably a disservice. It's handsome, modern looking and it probably has more and better weather protection and storage than just about any bike other than perhaps the big K 1600 GT (report) tourer, yet it's probably less than half the size of that bike.
By the way, pricing has not been set as of the date of publication and it's not clear when European and/or U.S. deliveries will commence. I'll report on that as soon as I learn more.
BMW handed out a huge press release for the C 600. I had to edit and re-edit, because it is probably one of the largest BMW press releases I have ever received, with many details of the new scooter. Hendrik von Kuenheim, the General Director of BMW Motorrad, spoke at the 2011 EICMA show to introduce the new BMW and Husqvarna motorcycles for 2012 and he gave a good summary of the strategy for this product.
I've edited his remarks to include only the part relevant to the C 600. After the slide show below, I have included an edited version of the BMW press release on the C 600, which includes the details and specifications:
Today is a very special day for us - I might even say, it is an historical day. At the most important motorcycle and scooter fair, BMW is celebrating the world premiere of the first maxi-scooters in the history of the BMW Group.
With these two outstanding premium vehicles, we are once again entering a segment new to BMW: we are expanding our existing range of motorcycles to include the facet of "Urban Mobility". The Motorcycle Division of the BMW Group is investing heavily in the future of BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna Motorcycles, penetrating new segments and moving into new markets.
In a time in which the motorcycle markets are in a state of ongoing crisis, we are facing up to the challenges. Our aim is to continue to grow strongly and profitably within a difficult environment. As you all know, times for the motorcycle industry are extremely tough. However, the development of BMW Motorrad is running completely counter to that of the market.
Now, we come to the part you have all been so keenly looking forward to: the world premiere of the BMW maxi-scooters. I said at the beginning of my speech that we aim to grow profitably in the future - with both brands, BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna Motorcycles. To this end we are looking at which other business areas above and beyond our existing portfolio we might consider as potential new territory.
One such area is that of individual mobility in the constantly growing urban areas. The requirements of mobility concepts, especially in big cities, are subject to considerable change. Increasing traffic, energy costs and CO2 constraints on travelling in inner city areas are the challenges of the future.
The BMW Group has identified these challenges and is already today putting solutions on the market to meet the needs for the future individual mobility. As an integral part of the BMW Group, BMW Motorrad is now expanding its business activities to a new facet: that of "Urban Mobility".
Today we will be presenting to you the first products in this area - two premium vehicles in the maxi-scooter segment.
They are called the BMW C 600 Sport and BMW C 650 GT. Both vehicles combine the agility and comfort of a scooter with the outstanding riding qualities of a motorcycle. They are scooters "Made by BMW Motorrad".
It was totally clear to us, that the standards among the top players of the established competition are very high. For this reason we focused on four main points in developing the two BMW scooters: An attractive, clearly identifiable BMW design. An exceptionally fine suspension. A particularly agile drive. And the functionality and everyday suitability which is typical of this segment.
Our high level of expertise and longstanding experience in building supreme touring and sports motorcycles provided the perfect basis for this project. It has meant we have been able to raise the benchmark to a somewhat higher level within the competitive field. However, it is up to you to decide how well we have succeeded in doing so.
But above and beyond this, some high-quality technological solutions are to be found in the two models. They show just how much innovative power went into their development.
The new maxi-scooters are being built at our BMW Motorrad plant in Berlin. Serial production is in fact already underway, but our future scooter customers will have to wait a little before it is time for the official market launch. Delivery of the two vehicles will start early spring 2012.
The C 600 Sport is mainly geared towards scooter riders with sporty interests, while the C 650 GT is aimed at customers who attach greater importance to comfort and touring orientation. Although they are clearly distinct from one another, they are both based on the same technical backbone, i.e. the drive and the suspension are identical.
The scooters are powered by a very efficient 650 cc 2-cylinder in-line engine. It develops a maximum output of 60 bhp and has a powerful torque of 66 newton metres. Its conceptual design focused particularly on low vibration and a strikingly individual sound.
The power is transmitted to the rear wheel by means of a CVT gearbox. The suspension of the two scooters is especially elaborate and unusual for this segment: the front wheel control is by means of an upside down fork; and for the first time in this class the rear wheel is controlled by a single swingarm.
In both vehicles two integral helmets can be stored. In the case of the C 600 Sport this is enabled by the very innovative and patented storage concept BMW FlexCase. This are only a few highlights of the BMW scooter technology.
I also believe it is important to mention that both maxi-scooters are typical BMWs when it comes to safety and environment: Both vehicles have generously sized ABS brake systems as standard. They can also be optionally fitted with a so-called daytime running light, which enhances ride safety in city traffic especially.
And in addition to a low level of fuel consumption, the scooters also offer low emission levels. In fact they already fulfil the future exhaust gas limits defined by the Euro-4 standard.
The innovative and, as I believe, distinctive and very emotional design of these two vehicles was created by our design team under David Robb.
The two-cylinder inline engine of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT is an all new development by BMW Motorrad with a displacement of 647 cc. In both models, its rated power output is 44 kW (60 hp) at 7,500 rpm, and its max torque of 66 Nm is available at 6,000 rpm.
The power is transferred via a directly integrated CVT, or continuously variable transmission. The engine owes its low position and therefore low centre of gravity to its cylinder bank, which is inclined to the front through 70°. The characteristic sound and low vibration levels are the result of the 90° crank pin offset, 270° ignition spacing, and two balancer shafts driven by spur gears.
An electronic fuel injection system supplies the four valves under the two overhead camshafts. Oil is supplied from a dry sump with double oil pump, and an efficient cooling concept optimises the thermal equilibrium in the 2-cylinder engine.
The exhaust system is made completely of stainless steel and complies with motorcycle specifications. Fitted with a closed loop catalytic converter and an oxygen sensor, the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT fulfil today the Euro-4 emission limits of tomorrow.
The forces inside the drive unit are transferred via a central output from the crankshaft to an intermediate shaft with torsion damper connected with a primary toothed chain. At the same time, this intermediate shaft operates as the input shaft to the continuously variable transmission (CVT) with automatic centrifugal dry clutch on the output shaft.
The CVT is connected rigidly to the crankcase. Two gear stages arranged directly behind the clutch provide the reduction ratio needed for the secondary drive. The secondary drive to the rear wheel is transferred over a roller chain with 72 links and 525 pitch. This runs fully encapsulated in the oil bath (750 ml SAE 90) and therefore needs very little maintenance. In this respect, a constant chain tension.
One objective in the development of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT was to combine directional stability at high speeds on the motorway with playful handling in city traffic and clear feedback to the rider -- just like a motorcycle. Accordingly, the design of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT suspension features a torsionally rigid hybrid interconnection of a tubular steel bridge frame and a diecast aluminium unit at the swingarm bearing.
In addition, the 2-cylinder inline engine functions as a bearing element, presenting a particularly rigid construction for stable and high precision response. The greatest possible riding stability is also provided by the bearing for the cast light-alloy single swingarm with coaxial centre of rotation.
Also the suspension elements fulfil more fastidious needs for sporting character and comfort. At the front, an upside down fork presents a generous fixed fork diameter of 40 mm. The tail presents a reclining spring strut on the left side. The spring travels are each 115 mm, as they also occur quite commonly on the motorcycle sector. Also the tyre widths and cross sections of the C 600 Sport and the C 650 GT are aligned to motorcycle dimensions.
The top priority in developing the suspension for the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT was to combine the best handling qualities and a transparent feedback for the rider with stable directional stability at high speeds.
With a wheelbase of 1591 mm, a steering head angle of 64.6°, and an after-run of 92 mm, the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT present key geometry features that don't need to shun comparison with motorcycles. In the field, the overall concept behind the two maxi scooters' suspension systems manifests itself particularly in ease of manoeuvrability, for instance in city traffic, and in fascinating riding stability on country roads and motorways.
The asymmetrically arranged spring strut is installed at a reclined angle on the left side of the vehicle, and its mount can be adjusted to diverse loading states. The spring travel is 115 mm. The damper tuning on the C 650 GT provides a particularly high level of comfort in line with the vehicle concept.
The front suspension is provided by an upside down fork with a standpipe diameter of 40 mm and a spring travel also of 115 mm. The two fork bridges are forged steel parts. A welded steel structure, the handlebar is bolted directly to the top fork bridge.
On their front, the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT roll on a 3.5 x 15" five spoke diecast light alloy wheel fitted with a 120/70-15 tire. The rear wheel measures 4.5 x 15" and is fitted with a 160/60-15 tire. Here too, the maxi scooter presents a series of widths and cross sections aligned to customary motorcycle specifications. The 15" rims safeguard the highest riding stability with the optimal agility and handling.
The new C 600 Sport and C 650 GT are fitted with a generously sized braking system consisting of a two-rotor disc brake at the front and a single disc brake at the rear, each 270 mm in diameter. At the same time, the BMW Motorrad ABS fitted as standard ensures maximum possible safety.
BMW developed a particularly innovative solution for the mandatory hold brake on scooters. Whereas the rider normally has to engage this brake with a separate lever, this is engaged automatically on the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT when the side stand is extended. This is connected to a pull cable that engages a second, mechanically actuated rear braking calliper that prevents the vehicle from rolling away.
This measure makes sure that the vehicle is parked absolutely safely. The range of optional equipment for the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT also includes the tyre pressure control RDC. Here, sensors installed inside the rims register the current air pressure and communicate this information to the display field in the instrument cluster.
The foot boards allow the rider to place the feet for greater riding ease and comfort. Like on a motorcycle, the passenger on the C 600 Sport has footrests, while the C 650 GT presents foot boards in this area as well.
The instrument cluster of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT presents a large, easily readable LCD display with integrated engine speed readout and an analogue speedometer. The instrument cluster presents considerably more functions than usual in this vehicle class. For the first time, BMW Motorrad is also offering an LED daytime running light as an optional equipment feature on its C 600 Sport and C 650 GT.
The FlexCase for the C 600 Sport is an innovative stowage space concept. A flap in the tail base under the seat enlarges the stowage space on the stationary vehicle. This can be used to hold two helmets.
The sporty, dynamic scooter BMW C 600 Sport is characterised by a seat positioned for extremely active riding. This was made possible by the arrangement of the foot boards, seat, and handlebar in an ergonomic triangle.
More fastidious needs for touring and long distance capabilities, on the other hand, are fulfilled by the luxurious C 650 GT. The rider and passenger can therefore adopt a more relaxed sitting posture that is highly appreciated especially over long stretches.
The ergonomics designed for even greater passenger capability and comfort can be felt in particular on a more comfortable seat with adjustable backrest for the rider in conjunction with a higher handlebar and comfortable floor boards in lieu of separate footrests for the passenger.
In addition, the C 650 GT presents a larger, powered windscreen for even better protection against wind and weather.
Ergonomics: The C 600 Sport with dynamic seat position as a result of flatter handlebar, sporty seat design for both one and two persons, and sporty footrests for the passenger; seat height 810 mm. The C 650 GT with emphatically comfortable seat position as a result of higher handlebar, more comfortable and larger seat with adjustable backrest for the rider, and foot boards for the passenger as well; seat height 780 mm.
Windscreen: C 600 Sport with windscreen adjustable mechanically to three positions. C 650 GT with larger windscreen adjustable electrically over 10 cm for even greater comfort and protection from wind and weather.
Body and Design: C 600 Sport with sporty, spartan panels. The lean tail with the dynamic upswing and emphatic body edges lend it lightness and dynamics. C 650 GT with an organic design language emphasising comfort attributes. Generously sized panel parts for outstanding comfort and protection against wind and weather.
Lighting: C 600 Sport: front turn indicators integrated in the panelling, twin circular headlights with two side lights on the left and right, LED rear light cluster with single turn indicators. C 650 GT: front turn indicators integrated in the mirrors, twin circular headlights with side lights between them presenting a vertical light strip of three elements, LED rear light cluster with integrated turn indicators.
Storage: C 600 Sport with world premiere FlexCase and hence variable stowage space concept in the tail under the seat. Despite its sporty, spartan tail section, two helmets can be easily stowed in the parked vehicle. C 650 GT with a large stowage space of about 60 litres in the tail for taking two helmets and other utilities.
Colors: C 600 Sport: Cosmic blue metallic. Matte Titanium silver metallic. Sapphire black metallic. C 650 GT: Sapphire black metallic. Platinum bronze metallic. Vermilion red metallic.
The electrical system in the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT is based on the established systems fitted in the BMW Motorrad models. The electrical system is based on a CAN bus (controller area network). This networks the instrument cluster, the ABS and engine controller, the electronic immobiliser, and (as optional equipment) the anti-theft alarm system and the tyre pressure control (RDC).
The standard scope also includes a power socket installed in the left storage compartment. For example, this can be used to recharge a mobile phone while it is connected via Bluetooth to the BMW Motorrad communication system in the rider's helmet.
A strong and stable power supply under all operating conditions is safeguarded by the alternator located on the left tail shaft and delivering 588 Watts output. The battery has a capacity of 12 Ah and is installed in the vehicle's front section behind the right side panelling.
The cable harness on the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT is designed to allow retrofits of all optional electrical equipment and all optional accessories, such as heated grips, heated seat, alarm system, tyre pressure control RDC, etc.
The instrument cluster on the maxi scooters presents considerably more functions than usual in this vehicle class. It presents a large, easily readable LCD display with integrated engine speed readout and an analogue speedometer with a highly legible scale. The instrument cluster also integrates all indicator lights.
The development of this instrument cluster focused primarily on the best legibility and the elimination of reflections on the display. The analogue speedometer and the LCD display are illuminated in easy to read orange. This lighting is deactivated when the daytime running light is activated.
Besides the eight bars representing the fuel level, the instrument cluster also presents as standard useful details on the oil level, distances travelled, and (via the onboard computer) distance covered on the 4-litre fuel reserve, date and time, average fuel consumption and rate, outside temperature, and service information.
The C 600 Sport and C 650 GT are already fitted as standard with a rear light and LED stowage space lighting. The LED technology is characterised in particular by high fail safety, long service life, high luminous efficiency, and low power consumption.
The front lighting on the C 600 Sport consists of one headlight each for low and high beams and two side lights (or alternatively a combination of side light and optional daytime running light).
The C 650 GT likewise presents two headlights, but the side light and optional daytime running light take the form of three LED light elements arranged at the centre. Both the side lights and the stowage space lighting come with a so called way home function, i.e. they continue their light after the vehicle has been parked.
Whereas LED turn indicators are offered as optional equipment ex works for the C 600 Sport, this feature is fitted as standard on the C 650 GT. In addition, both models can make use of the highline package (optional equipment ex works) that provides the LED daytime running light, a rare treat today for that extra safety on the scooter market.
For the first time at BMW Motorrad, the optional accessories and optional equipment heated grips and heated seat also feature a so called AUTO level with automatic temperature control in addition to Levels 1 and 2.
When the rider selects the AUTO level, the heaters for the grips and rider's seat are regulated automatically as a function of the outside temperature and vehicle speed. The heaters switch on automatically from an outside temperature of +8 °C.
The heater output first starts very gradually and rises with falling outside temperature. The max heater output on the AUTO level is reached at -15 °C. The heater for the passenger's seat can be activated at a separate switch by the passenger himself, when he can select Level 1 or 2.
The touring and long distance capabilities of the C 650 GT are also underscored by the generous stowage space consisting of a spacious storage compartment (about 60 litres) under the seat and two smaller compartments (locked on the left) in the front part of the leg well.
The storage compartment with internal lighting in the tail of the C 650 GT can also take two helmets when the vehicle is stationary. In addition, the bulges on the left and right of the tail offer additional stowage space for utilities. The claims to comfort made by the C 650 GT – also for two persons – are likewise corroborated by the generously upholstered seat with the adjustable backrest for the rider.
Although the tail section of the C 600 Sport is essentially shorter and sportier, the BMW Motorrad developers managed to integrate a stowage space concept that can also take two helmets on this model as well. The so called FlexCase was designed specifically for this purpose. This takes the form of a flap in the tail base that can be opened to deepen the available stowage space.
This variable space is made possible by the use of a high strength, elastic material based on kevlar and providing a flexible, but dirt and water repellent connection between the flap and the tail base. A world first and patented by BMW Motorrad, this stowage space solution can take two helmets when the vehicle is parked.
The FlexCase flap is closed when the vehicle is moving. But it can still take one helmet. A safety switch makes sure that the engine cannot start when the FlexCase flap is open. When the flap is open, this appears as a warning symbol on the instrument cluster.
On the C 600 Sport too, the stowage space under the seat is fitted with internal lighting. On both models, additional stowage space is available in the form of two glove compartments in the front part of the leg well. The one on the left can be locked.
The compartments are locked automatically when the vehicle is parked and locked. For the transport of additional luggage, the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT can be fitted with a luggage rack (optional accessory) that also allows the installation of a top case (likewise optional accessory).
The central lock also opens and locks the seat, the front left glove compartment, and the fuel filler cap. The fuel filler neck is situated for ease of access behind the fuel filler cap under the front end of the seat in the leg well.
Optional Equipment: Anti-theft alarm system.
Highline Package: Heated grips. Heated seat. Tire pressure control RDC. LED daytime running light. LED turn indicators (C 600 Sport only).
Optional Accessories: Storage space programme: Topcase (35 litres). Luggage rack. Liner for topcase. Center console bag (12 litres). Load area net.
Comfort and Design: Tinted windscreen (C 600 Sport only). Clear/tinted sports windscreen (C 600 Sport only). Sports seat incl heater (C 600 Sport only). Exclusive seat including heater (C 650 GT only). Rain cowl for seat. Wind deflector. Scooter jacket (fabric wind, water, cold protection for the rider). Aspherical mirror (C 650 GT only). Backrest for passenger.
Navigation and Communication: BMW Motorrad navigator IV. Mount for BMW Motorrad navigator IV. BMW Motorrad communication system. Mobile telephone facility for storage compartment. BMW USB charger.
Safety and Electrical Systems: Anti-theft alarm system. LED turn indicators (C 600 Sport only). Fall pads. Motorcycle lock. Additional onboard socket.
Other Equipment Options: Akrapovic sports silencer. Chrome set (footrests, handlebar weights, foot board inserts).
Clothing: For its new maxi scooters, BMW Motorrad is also expanding its range of rider's equipment with attractive products for urban mobility (e.g. AirFlow 2 helmet, Urban jacket, Urban gloves, X 2 sneakers, etc.).
Publication Date: November 12, 2011