In 2012 BMW unveiled two new scooters, or Urban Mobility Vehicles, as described in the German company’s marketing lingo. The C600 Sport and C650 GT siblings shared the same 60 hp (44.7 kW) 647 cc Kymco-derived engine, despite their names suggesting otherwise – a tactic we've seen from BMW before in the case of the F700 and F800 GS that also share an engine of the same capacity.
After three good years in the market, BMW has announced several upgrades for the two scooters, featuring the usual refining touches and new colors, plus a new safety technology that has never been used before on a motorcycle or scooter.
Part of BMW's "Safety 360" campaign, the Side View Assist is introduced as an optional accessory for the 2016 C650 GT. The system consists of four sensors placed at the corners of the scooter, monitoring a radius of 5 m (16.4 ft) around it. This includes all the typical blind spots which are are not adequately covered by the rear view mirrors.
Every time the rider uses the indicators to signal a trajectory change – for instance, when changing lanes – the system warns if other vehicles are moving within the monitored radius. The Side View Assist is active when the C650 GT travels at speeds from 25 to 80 km/h (15.5 to 49.7 mph) and detects vehicles whose difference in velocity does not exceed 10 km/h (6 mph). In this case, a yellow warning light is activated in the corresponding mirror’s stem.
Apparently this system is designed for the urban environment, where speeds are usually kept within its operating range. Vehicles moving much faster than the scooter itself will not be detected, therefore it cannot be considered as a valid substitute for the rider’s attention. Looking around to make sure it is safe to change direction is still the way to go, yet the Side View Assist sounds like a useful addition for those that commute every day in busy streets. Saving that one-in-a-thousand mishap could certainly make it worth the extra money spent on it.
The other updates announced for both BMW scooters include a revised CVT transmission offering stronger set-off response, new suspension settings, new exhaust silencers and the addition of Automatic Stability Control (ASC) in their standard equipment – an elementary form of traction control that BMW introduced in 2007 on the air-cooled R1200 GS.
The C600 has been renamed C650 Sport, went through an extensive redesign and will be available in three new colors, Valencia Orange metallic matte, Lightwhite non-metallic and Blackstorm metallic. The C650 GT enjoys only some detailed stylistic updates.
The operating principles of the Side View Assist are illustrated in the following video from BMW Motorrad: