The BMW R18 Is A Modern Throwback With The Brand’s Most Powerful Boxer Engine Ever

The 1800cc air cooled motor makes a hearty 91 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque

BMW released the new R18 online yesterday, bringing the brand into an entirely new segment of cruisers. Though this is a new area for BMW Motorrad, many of the R18’s features come straight from BMWs of the past.

The BMW R18 Is A Modern Throwback With The Brand's Most Powerful Boxer Engine Ever
[Photos: BMW]

Powering the brute is an 1802cc, air-cooled boxer engine which BMW calls the “Big Boxer.” The aptly named power plant produces an impressive 91 horsepower at 4,750RPM and 110 lb-ft of torque from 2,000-4,000RPM. It’s a good thing the R 18 has so much torque, because it will inevitably be a heavy beast. 

The BMW R18 Is A Modern Throwback With The Brand's Most Powerful Boxer Engine Ever

The engine offers three modes, Rain, Roll, and Rock. Rain mode reduces throttle response, Roll gives full response monitored by stability control, and Rock allows for the stability control to intervene less. The braver rider may also disengage ASC entirely. Power flows through a 6-speed transmission and a single plate, dry clutch.

The R18’s styling takes inspiration from its older brother, the R5. With a classic solo seat and BMW’s signature flared exhausts, the R18 fits right in with much older bikes. However, if any particular element of the styling doesn’t suit your fancy there are options.

The BMW R18 Is A Modern Throwback With The Brand's Most Powerful Boxer Engine Ever

In collaboration with Roland Sands design, Vance and Hines, and Mustang seats, BMW will offer a wide range of custom parts so that the R18 can take any number of different shapes. BMW specifically designed the R18 to be modified easily so that parts can be swapped without much hassle.

One of the BMW R18’s most interesting features is a nickel plated driveshaft with an exposed U-Joint. This piece joins the fork sleeves and wire spoke wheels in making sure the R18 looks perfectly retro. Not only will these elements be classic in design, but all of the body panels are sheet metal giving them a vintage feel that stands apart from any composite. 

Just because the R18’s design is based on heritage doesn’t mean it will lack in features. Factory options include a reverse assist, hill start assist, keyless ride, and adaptive lighting. Luckily, these being options means the motorcycle can be kept simple for riding purists.

The R 18 will also be available in a First Edition trim when it launches. This adds black paint with white pin striping, additional chrome accents, and First Edition badging. Buyers will also receive a First Edition box which contains a whole bunch of extra goodies including historical tank emblems, assembly gloves, assembly screwdriver, and a book of BMW Motorrad’s history.

Base MSRP for the R18 is $17,495, and the First edition starts at $19,870 plus $695 destination fee.