Friday, August 03, 2012

BMW HP4 is the hottest S1000RR ever

The HP4 is BMW's greatest high-performance motorcycle ever, and the regular S1000RR will also get all of the HP4's goodies next year

BMW have officially confirmed the S1000RR-based HP4, which packs 193 horsepower and weighs 199kg (with ABS and a full tank of fuel). ‘The new BMW HP4 sees its world premiere in 2012 and is a continuation of BMW Motorrad's HP model series founded in 2005. After the Boxer models HP2 Enduro, HP2 Megamoto and HP2 Sport, the BMW HP4 is the first 4-cylinder motorcycle in the HP family,’ says a press note from BMW.

Built as a limited edition model, the BMW HP4 features upgraded brakes, revamped suspension and upgraded electronics – the race-ABS and traction control systems have been tweaked and refined in a big way – and BMW will homologate the machine for superbike and superstock racing. The HP4’s all-new dynamic damping control (DDC) system allows the bike’s suspension to adapt to changing road and track surfaces in real time, providing the best of grip and traction at all times. DDC is, of course, fully integrated with the HP4’s ABS and traction control systems.

BMW expect many HP4 owners to go racing, so the ABS has been tuned accordingly. In ‘slick’ mode, the so called IDM (International German Motorcycle Roadracing Championship) mode keeps ABS intervention to an absolute minimum, while the new 200/55 ZR17 rear tyre is said to offer outstanding levels of grip and cornering ability. And the HP4 also has a ‘launch control’ system that has been designed for maximum acceleration from a standing start. The system automatically limits engine torque when it detects front wheel lift, thereby making sure that all of the engine’s power is directed towards propelling the bike forward rather than wasting energy in pulling wheelies.

Other new bits on the BMW HP4 include lighter 7-spoke forged alloy wheels, tinted windshield, LED turn indicators, a lighter battery, titanium exhaust system and a ‘shift assistant’ that allows the rider to change gears at full chat, with minimal disruption in the power delivery. And with 193bhp at 13,000rpm and 112Nm of torque at 9,750 revs, BMW are confident that the HP4 can take on anything in the litrebike segment. Also, unlike the S1000RR, the HP4’s engine bunts out all of its 193bhp in all riding modes (rain, sport, race and slick), though we suppose the torque curves would differ, providing a relatively softer power delivery in rain and sport modes.

The HP4’s revised instrument cluster provides an extended range of information and functions, and the display now shows the DDC set-up menus as well as the figures for DTC fine adjustment and launch control activation. If you’ve been driving around in a new BMW M5, you should feel right at home on the HP4, at least in terms of being familiar with the electronics!

For those who want still more, BMW are also offering the HP4 with a ‘competition package,’ which includes HP carbonfibre parts like engine spoiler, adjustable HP rider footrest system and folding HP brake and clutch levers. The competition package also includes wheels finished in metallic racing blue.

While we love the HP4’s high-performance intent, we do think it’s a bit of a marketing gimmick. The S1000RR should already be the best high-performance superbike that BMW are capable of producing – having a special, limited-edition model that’s vastly more capable than the regular S1000RR is not really fair. In any case, we believe BMW will ultimately provide all of the HP4’s mechanical and electronics upgrades to the regular S1000RR – that is likely to happen by mid-2013. The fancy carbonfibre bits will still remain on the options list though… :-)

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