The German giant’s foray into Nepal is accentuated by the sleek G310R; a beguiling Bavarian beauty.
--BY SARTHAK RAJ BARAL
Bayerische Motoren Werke, recognised worldwide by its prominent abbreviation, BMW, enjoys an extensive and illustrious standing in the annals of the automotive industry. The Munich-based manufacturer has been a pioneering force for over 100 years and occupies a hallowed stature in the hearts and minds of the automotively inclined.
Renowned for its exquisitely designed cars that elicit a sense of opulence while clinging to the ever-dependable stamp of pristine German engineering, BMW has also been producing motorcycles of similar grandiosity since 1923, under its umbrella brand, BMW Motorrad.
The brand made a debut in the Nepali market in December, with the G310RS and the G310R. While any bike that bears the BMW emblem is destined to pique curiosity, that very emblem carries with it a stern array of expectations. The G310R is a part of BMW’s gambit at conquering the global market, including the Indian subcontinent. Assembled at a TVS Motor Company plant in Tamil Nadu, India, it is the first BMW bike manufactured outside of Europe. We rode the BMW G310R, the first sub-500CC bike in the BMW stable, to determine how it stacks up within its grand pantheon and whether it does justice to its near epochal emblem and more pertinently, its price tag – Rs 950,000.
Positioned as an entry-level premium roadster, the G310R is markedly lighter on the wallet than BMW’s more premium offerings worldwide. However, BMW has ensured its budget philosophy concerning this series does not encroach upon the design language and build quality.
On first gaze, the bike’s aesthetics are analogous to multiple naked street bikes, but upon closer inspection, the G310R’s metronomic build quality, understated yet stylish motif and adherence to the brand’s legacy allow the bike to emerge triumphant.
The bulky gold-plated front forks not only add further luster to the bike’s premium appearance, in conjunction with a chiselled fuel tank and angular headlamps, lend the bike a muscular visage. On the rear, the high-standing exhaust pipe solidifies the look. Housed in the front is a feature rich LCD console that incorporates a gear indicator, trip computer, bar graph tachometer and more.
The cushioning on the seats is laudable; they are soft and comfortable. In fact, the overall finishing on the bike merits appreciation. BMW has dealt with every aspect of the design and build with aplomb. It is this attention to detail that renders the bike visually arresting and the subject of much envy for fellow commuters.
Engine, Performance and Ride Quality
The liquid cooled, 4-valve engine generates a maximum output of 34 horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 28 nM of peak torque at 7,500 rpm. Suffice it to say, the bike is not wanting in the power department.
Further, courtesy the relatively light nature of the bike, the acceleration is rapid, explosive even. While out on the street, I spurred the bike from 0 to 50 km/h in approximately 3 seconds. Overtaking too is a breeze, particularly when the bike is sustained at around the 6,000-rpm mark. The engine lets out a thumping, guttural roar as one revs it up, adding to the thrill of the ride. Further, unwelcome vibrations at higher speeds are nowhere to be found here; the bike sails along with authority.
Maneuverability is yet another aspect where the bike excels; weaving in and out of traffic is a relatively hassle-free endeavour. The handling endows the rider with confidence while approaching corners at moderate speeds. Moreover, the G310R dispatches potholes and blemishes on the road with disdain; the suspension set-up is surefooted.
The rider stance is upright, and combined with the plush seats; ensure that both long rides and traffic-heavy commutes are comfortable.
Braking and Safety
The Michelin Pilot Street tyres offer excellent grip. Regarding the brakes, the front brake is a single disc, 300 mm diameter, 4-piston fixed calliper, radially bolted set-up. Whereas at the back, the bike has a single disc 240 mm diameter, single-piston floating calliper set-up. The primary draw here though is the incorporation of ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), which instils tremendous confidence while cruising along the cacophonous and unpredictable roads of Kathmandu.
Both the brakes offer tremendous bite and ample stopping power; the dual channel ABS is expertly implemented.
BMW’s excellence rests on its uncanny capacity to marry emerging technological innovations with their century-long heritage. The G310R is an attractive, sturdy and astutely tuned continuation of that tendency. Designed with graceful surety and built with imposing authority, the BMW G310R is worthy of both the iconic emblem embossed in its frame and the thorough consideration of potential buyers. The price may serve as a deterrent for some, and some may challenge its relevance when affordable alternatives are available. However, both economy and first-class tickets travel to the same destination; it is the journey that demands the surcharge. The BMW G310R is akin to a first-class ticket; not everybody needs one, but everybody wants one.