World Premier: 2016 BMW C650 Sport

In 2012 BMW returned to the scooter market with a pair of 650cc maxi-scooters. The sportier of the two was the C600 Sport, which BMW has now unveiled as a fully redesigned model for 2016 as the C650 Sport.

A new look

BMW C600 Sport

Most noticeable in the C650 Sport is a nose-to-tail exterior redesign. While still sporting that distinct BMW style, the new C650 Sport is now further differentiated from its more touring-oriented sibling, the C650 GT. Seemingly every line and detail has been tweaked and refined, resulting in a bike that looks fresh, while still looking like itself.

New color ways

The C650 Sport will be available three color options:
• Lightwhite non-metallic (my personal favorite)
• Valencia Orange metallic matte
• Blackstorm metallic

Engine and power delivery

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Beyond shifting the C650 Sport’s body panel designs, BMW have updated the 647cc power plant, most notably with a new exhaust system. Power output remains at 60 hp, but the revised output system may update the feel of power delivery of the C650 Sport. We won’t know for sure until we get our hands on one.

The new C650 Sport is addressing EU4 pollution regs classifications as well as ECE R41-04 via this new exhaust system, new ECU mapping as well as providing an entirely different output variant of the C650 Sport that only produces 48 hp.

The C650 Sport’s CVT has also been updated. BMW states in their official release that they’ve changed the the friction materials, the overall gear ratios in the transmission, and have altered the roller weight mix. The result is what they’re describing as “a significantly more dynamic set-off response.” In our tests of the outgoing C600 Sport, we certainly didn’t find the take-off anemic, so this has us curious as to just how much quicker the C650 Sport will feel off the line.

Suspension

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Also new on the C650 Sport is an updated suspension. According to BMW, they’ve tweaked the dampening in the rear suspension to provide a more comfortable ride. We’re assuming adjustability remains the same, and looking at the photographs, the front suspension is the same sportbike style upside-down front frok setup.

A focus on safety

BMW C650 GT

The outgoing C-series scooters already featured ABS as standard, with a three disk braking system overall. With the C650 Sport, BMW have added two additional features. The first is ASC, BMW’s traction control system. This will be especially useful in wet weather or on loose surfaces. Unlike some smaller scooters that don’t really make enough power to warrant an ASC system, the C650 Sport is heavy enough and high-performance enough where a system like this actually starts to make a lot of sense.

Correction: Previously this article talked about BMW’s new Side View Assist system. This system is exclusive to the C650 GT and will not, for the time being, be offered on the C650 Sport.

Instrumentation, controls and lighting

BMW C650 Sport

New on both the C650 Sport and the new C650 GT are updated handlebar profiles and instrumentation. To their credit, BMW have resisted the color TFT screens favored by, for example, Ducati, for a high-contrast LCD readout. While still modern in its visual design, this new instrumentation remains easy to read in any lighting condition.

BMW have also tweaked the center-stand geometry to make the C650 Sport easier to park and have added automatic LED running lights for better daytime visibility to other drivers on the road.

More evolution than revolution

BMW C650 GT

Overall the updated C650 Sport is a significant refresh of the bike’s aesthetics, with a few new features thrown in for good measure. Already a very good maxi-scooter, this evolution of the C650 Sport is definitely a welcome change. No new pricing has been announced as yet, but given that the current model is near-as-makes-no-difference to the price of the Suzuki Burgman 650 (actually slightly less), BMW remains aggressive in this segment. With a far more sporting orientation than the Suzuki or even its C650 GT sibling, the C650 Sport makes a strong choice for anyone looking for maximum capability in a scooter form factor.

Gallery: 2016 BMW C650 Sport

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  • Dean Klein

    Sigh. BMW brand engineering. I used to sell them; I’ve never worked for a more cynical and less caring company. Mind you, I love airheads, but scooters? I go Italian.