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Scooter Review

BMW C 600 / C 650 Review

BMW's all new maxi scooters have landed. Available in both Sport and Touring versions. Introducing the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT.

Allen Drysdale


BMW C 600 Sport / BMW C 650 GT

When BMW sent through the invite for the release of its very first maxi, the excitement levels instantly went on the rise. This is a major model for BMW, a push into a new segment, a massive development down the path in what it terms, "urban mobility". Most of all, this is an "ALL NEW" scooter, one we are seeing for the very first time.

This is clearly uncharted territory for BMW Motorrad, especially in Australia. There's no history that will give BMW any incite on just how well the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT will sell. The maxi market here is small, limited by a lack of good new models and a real understanding about how capable a "Maxi" scooter can be. As a population we seem fixated on motorcycles, capacity and speed. Why would I buy a scooter over a motorcycle, I've heard this question asked many times before.

So before we try and answer these questions let's take a look over both scooters. Introducing the all new BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 Touring. Both scooters share the same platform and both are fitted with the same 647cc engine. Where both models differ is in appointment, style and function. The C 600 Sport is squarely aimed at those with a flair for action, the C 650 GT is all about hitting the highways and having the tools to do it comfortably.

At a glance the differences are immediately apparent. The C 600 Sport has a slimline body with less obtrusive fairings. The Sport is higher in the seat, 810 mm to be exact. The position of the seat is also forward and biased towards getting weight over the front wheel. The handlebars are lower and the passenger gets motorcycle type flip-out footrests. The front screen on the Sport is physically smaller in dimension.

The C 600 Sport integrates indicators into the body and features two separate front headlights. The LED rear tail has been given a supersport type appearance. The cockpit contains every bit of vital information you could ever need. The Sport and GT both get digital readouts for time, date, oil, revs and fuel. There are multiple readouts for kilometres travelled. One that counts up when low fuel is reached and another one that actually resets automatically overnight. Our Sport was fitted with the optional Highline package, so from the cockpit we had controls for heating the seats together or separately. The package also adds heated grips and a rolling tyre pressure readout. Daytime run lights are another nice addition with the Highline package. This is all monitored and controlled via the cockpit. Banks of warning lights keep you informed.

For the first time ever we see the use of BMW's Flexcase storage system (Sport only). When stationary the floor of the underseat compartment can drop down over the rear wheel and allow the safe storage of two medium sized helmets. When in the closed position the Sport will easily fit a good size backpack and wet weathers under the seat. The Sport will not start if the Flexcase is in use. The Sport also has two additional storage compartments located above the leg shield.

An incredibly good feature is the handbrake that activates when the side stand is down. This alleviates any fear of movement when parking and also has you bypassing the centre stand on most occasions. This feature exists on both Sport and GT models. An additional brake calliper on the rear looks after the park brake duties.   

The GT focuses squarely on long distance capabilities. The seating is wider and lower, seat height changes to 780 mm. The riders seat incorporates a comfortable integrated backrest. The passenger gets a wider broader offering, larger grab handles and the footrests are running boards, not flip-out pegs like on the Sport. The handlebars are positioned higher and the whole package is aimed at travelling for longer distances.

The features on the GT reflect BMW's experience in building premium touring motorcycles. The front windscreen is larger and electrically adjusted from the cockpit, on the Sport it's manual adjustment (still very easy). The front fairing itself is wider and provides better wind and weather protection. The GT also comes with adjustable wind deflection devices under the screen. All the nice bits that are optional on the Sport are standard on the GT. So heated seats, grips, LED run lights and tyre pressure sensors all come standard. The front LED blinkers on the GT are positioned in the mirrors and are not integrated like on the Sport.

The GT has a larger underseat storage compartment that will fit two helmets. Again, this will come down to the helmet type and size. BMW puts storage capacity at 60 litres. The rear tail is far more conservative, being wider you can store further items either side of the storage compartment, this explains the noticeable width difference. If you end up needing more storage you can take up the option of a 35 litre top case or central tunnel bag. Both options are available for the Sport. Two large front glove compartments help. These contain a 12 volt charging station and automatically lock when the scooter is locked.

Engines in both units are the same regardless of how each is named. Both power outputs are rated at 44 kw's (60hp) and both torque outputs equal 66 Nm. Peak power comes in at 7000 rpm and peak torque at 6000 rpm. The engine is the most powerful in its class. The twin-cylinder engine has been designed and engineered by BMW and is built by engine partner Kymco. The engine features double overhead cams, 4-valves and uses the same liquid and air cooling system as seen on BMW motorcycles. The engine has its own unique sound and character thanks to a 270 degree ignition spacing. The inline layout helps with positioning, balance and rider position.

BMW still uses a normal scooter-style CVT to control forward motion, so the benefits of instant throttle response are evident. What is different though is the use of a chain final drive which is encased in an enclosed oil bath for longevity. Belt change intervals on both models are 40,000 km's. Service intervals are set at 1000 km's and every 10,000 km's after that.

Wheel packages on both scooters are the same. The Sport and GT are both fitted with 15 inch alloy wheels. Both models run a 120/70 - 15 profile tyre on the front and a 160/60 - 15 on the rear. Forks on the front are full 40 mm upside down units with 115 mm of travel. The rear spring/shock is located on the left hand side of both models and can be easily accessed for adjustment. Again 115 mm of travel on the rear.

Both the Sport and the GT are fitted with class leading brakes that feature BMW's ABS standard. A system that adds only 700 grams to the total package. Brakes on both models are 270 mm twin discs on the front and another 270 mm disc on the rear. All brake lines are braided.

Both models share the same 16 litre fuel tank, range should be well over 300 km's and nearing 400 (depends on riding style). Top speed on both models is rated at 175 km/h and performance-wise the Sport will race to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds whilst the GT will get there in 7.5. These are all factory specified figures.  

Immediately apparent is the weight difference between the Sport and GT. Acceleration feels more aggressive on the Sport. Revs build quicker, and with the higher seat height, the Sport has things feeling more committed. The Sport weighs in at 249 kg's wet, though most of this is down low thanks to the engines positioning in the frame. Like all scooters and especially this one, a low centre of gravity helps. The GT in standard trim weighs in at 261 kg's kerb ready.

Pushed hard, both BMW's are in a class that would shame some of the better sports bikes on the road. Especially through tight twists and turns as you power on and off the throttle. The focus of the rider is clearly on the next corner ahead and without the need to fumble for gears, both these scooters are fun to ride fast. Our launch involved some brisk riding through Sydney's Royal National Park. As each corner passed, the confidence grew and it was soon apparent that this group of road testers were having a good time. Rolling the throttle on and off the torque curve, taking advantage of premium appointed suspension and great brakes. This is a riders package. My preference was the Sport, though the GT was sticking with it everywhere, and honestly, probably just as quick once rolling.

Both BMW's sound awesome from behind the screen. Either the Sport or the GT have a twin cylinder growl that becomes addictive under heavy acceleration. It really did leave me wanting for more. Like I stated previously, the Sport feels quicker off the line, though once up and rolling, it was hard to pick the difference. Some will scoff at the 44 kw power output, for me coming from the scooter side of things, power was more than adequate and that big fat torque curve is juicy. If you like the sound of a twin on full song, take it one step further and option up with the "Race Use Only" Akrapovic pipe. ($835) 

Clearance is exceptional and never once did either model touch down through any corner. The brakes themselves are in another league. Super strong, the ABS is just sensational. I remember running out of talent coming into a 35 km/h signposted corner, fully over with the ABS in operation. I was on the Sport at the time and it just kept its intended line beautifully. No trying to stand up straight, no massive shuddering or any need for panic. Needless to say, I'm now a big advocate for ABS equipped machinery.

BMW is aiming both these scooters at the premium buyer and in our opening paragraph we asked the question of why you'd buy a scooter over a motorcycle. Well, as any scooter rider would know, things like weather protection, upright seating position and storage are all major benefits. A low centre of gravity and an easy to use power curve thanks to the CVT transmission. All these things instil confidence in a rider. Though, BMW have upped the expectation level here. The level of features and optional accessories are something we haven't seen before.  

Both BMW's are LAMS approved. So either model could realistically be someone's first scooter in states where LAMS rules apply. And with a massive automotive database, this could be a way in which a new rider could experience the joys of two wheels without leaving the BMW brand. The BMW group is a big family and a loyal one at that. Regardless, the brand aspiration behind owning a BMW will help.  

The Sport and GT will also be a pathway for those wanting to step-up from lower capacity scooters, not wanting to lose the convenience of scooter ownership, though wanting to move into a machine with motorcycle levels of performance. Alternatively, both models could become the answer for owners of larger bikes. Big, heavy bikes, where the owners are just sick of the top heavy weight and the inconvenience that comes with motorcycle ownership. Not having to throw a leg over, throwing a leg through can be far easier.

These scooters have opened up a whole new world for BMW. These are both exceptional scooters given this is a first time effort. A premium scooter with ABS standard, top shelf features and an extensive options list like we've never seen before. BMW have raised the bar in the maxi class.

BMW Australia have locked the list price of the Sport in at $13,990 and the GT in at $15,990. Remembering you get everything standard with the GT. The Highline package on the sport offers daytime LED lights, heated grips, heated seats and tyre pressure monitoring. This is a $1250 option that BMW believe will be taken up by most buyers at the time of purchase. For the list of accessories on both models, take a look at the extensive list below.

ABS Braking Test

C 600 Sport / C 650 GT Key Features

Power and Torque Graph

Media / Photos (No Flash? - Click Here)







 Accessories / Pricing







published 20/11/2012


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