It’s rare for a motor scooter to create as much buzz within and outside the scooter world as the forthcoming BMW C series. First unveiled in 2010 as the C Concept, the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT are the culmination of years of speculation that the company was developing a maxiscooter. ScooterFile has been informed that U.S. dealers will be receiving training on the models in the next few weeks and that demos will arrive on most dealer floors the first week in November. Those interested in test riding one should contact their local BMW motorcycle dealer.
Naming conventions aside, both models feature chain-driven 647cc twin cylinder engines capable of 60hp and 109mph top speeds, making them more powerful than their closest US competitor (in terms of displacement), the Suzuki Burgman 650. While MSRPs of $10,690 (Sport) and $11,090 (GT) put the BMWs at the apex of the scooter price scale, the prestige of the familiar blue and white roundel combined with performance, sportier styling and “Highline” trim package (including heated grips and seat and tire press monitors) may be enough to lure in buyers new to the scooter market or away from the $9,899 Burgman.
The C scooters’ name recognition, buzz-worthiness and earlier release date could have more of an affect on Aprilia’s forthcoming sport maxi, the SRV 850. Based on Gilera’s GP800, the retooled SRV 850 is the undisputed world’s fastest production scooter but carries a heftier $12,000 price tag and lacks ABS and some of the BMWs’ other features.
Regardless, these new models signify that some manufacturers are betting on a future when commuters and recreational riders will be willing to pay premiums for high displacement luxury scooters that compete more directly with their motorcycle cousins than those currently available. The next step for BMW is an electric version of the C, which has already appeared as a concept vehicle. We’ll be happy enough to get our hands on the gas-powered ones and take them out for a spin.