BMW Motorrad’s ‘Big Boxer’ is an art deco behemoth

The latest boxer from BMW Motorrad is a 1.8-liter, air-/oil-cooled art deco monster that makes 116 lb-ft of torque. 

The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a BMW motorcycle is an air-cooled boxer engine. And, for good reason: the folks at BMW Motorrad have been powering their motorcycles with boxer engines since, well, they started building motorcycles. The latest in the long line of boxer engines is this: a 1.8-liter twin slated for the upcoming R18.

The “Big Boxer,” as BMW Motorrad calls it, doesn’t break the mold of previous BMW engines. Despite being larger, the basic formula of an air-/oil-cooled, pushrod-equipped boxer twin is left unchanged. BMW did add a host of modern features to squeeze as much power and efficiency, like modern combustion chamber architecture, four valves per cylinder, fuel injection and electronic engine management. This all adds up to an engine that makes 91 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque.

Now, considering the engine’s size, those numbers aren’t exactly exciting, especially when you consider that BMW’s S 1000RR makes more than twice that horsepower. But the important part of this new boxer engine is that torque comes low in the rev range: 110 lb-ft of torque is available from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. That makes this engine a perfect powerplant to help get a hefty cruiser down the road without struggling.

The production Big Boxer will likely power an upcoming production version of the R18 Concept, possibly as early as next year. It’s almost a shame that this beautiful engine will be obscured by a motorcycle frame, but we expect it’ll be designed to show off as much of this beaut as possible.

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