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27 Aug 2022

What We Dislike
Heavy
Expensive
Not the most storage capacity

The BMW C 400 GT is a refined and high-quality scooter with ample performance, but all that quality certainly doesn't come cheap.


I think the last time I rode a clutch-less scooter was more than a decade ago. And while scooters may not be my choice of bike, I can definitely understand the appeal. Fuss-free one hand operation, relaxed riding position, zippy around town, what's not to like? 

This though, the BMW C 400 GT, is perhaps not the most ideal bike to get reacquainted with scooters.

Big boy

The C 400 GT is a hefty bike, and it takes some effort to negotiate it at low speeds
First, it's very big, and feels heavy (214kg when fully fueled). This is also compounded by the fact that the seat height is somewhat high, and the seat quite wide, so at an upright standstill I am still tip-toeing to touch the tarmac (I'm 1.71m tall).

As such, the C 400 GT isn't quite happy at low speeds. Trying to lane split up towards a red light is a little harrowing because it's not particularly easy to pedal while twisting the throttle. And, because it's surprisingly wide, negotiating gaps in traffic or through a carpark barrier isn't a breeze.

Second, the C 400 GT has surprising power, more than you might expect from a Class 2A scooter.

Paired to the BMW Motorrad Connected app, you can get navigation instructions displayed on the TFT screen
You get 34bhp from the gutsy 350cc single-cylinder engine, and it feels strong when you give the throttle a generous twist. The bike is also now throttle-by-wire - while not particularly engaging, it is certainly accurate and responsive.

Acceleration off the line is brisk, and even accelerating from 50km/h you can see the numbers on the speedometer climb pretty quickly. And, it actually also handles tidily enough through twisty roads - through fast corners, the bike has a flow to it that's not exactly scooter-ish.

The plus side of the bikes size and weight is its high speed stability. At highway speeds, it is very stable and smooth, and the engine never feels out of breath. Even BMW's stated 139km/h top speed is, conservatively modest, shall we say.

The C 400 GT is also pretty efficient, which is ideal for a scooter
It's fitting to its GT moniker - the wide and long seat is comfortable, and the relaxed and ergonomic riding position allows you to cover long distances effortlessly. Though, I did find that I have to slide forward slightly when coming to a stop (to get my toes properly planted to the ground).

As far as efficiency goes, I managed 30.3km/L, which actually exceeds BMW's stated 28.5km/L, but I admittedly did not experience much (if any) traffic throughout my test ride.

Dressed up

The iRide rotary controller is very easy and intuitive to use, even when on the move
The C 400 GT is also a sharp-looking scooter, with equipment and build quality you'd expect from a premium bike maker like BMW. You get LED lights all around. There is the option of the easy-to-use iRide rotary controller paired to a BMW Motorrad Connectivity TFT colour display.

You can also connect your phone via the app to have navigation prompts on the screen. There's also a USB port in one of the two storage compartments to charge your phone.

Under the seat, you'll also find the Flex Case system, which extends downwards to accommodate a full face helmet. However, because of how low it extends, the full capacity is only available when the bike is parked.

The Flex Case system allows you to store a full face helmet under the seat
For a bike branded as a GT, this C 400 GT actually doesn't have ample amounts of storage room as standard. If you foresee long rides, you likely want to option the additional topcase and/or softbag.

Plus size

If you're looking for a simple runabout scooter that's largely for 10-minute 40km/h jaunts to the supermarket, this isn't the bike for you.

It's much more of a mid to long-distance scooter - instances where the bike's performance, smoothness, quality and refinement shine through. This is the scooter wrought large and made premium and classy, and with a badge to match.

The C 400 GT is a refined and highly capable scooter over long distances, but quality comes at a price
The price tag also tells the same story. Starting at $33,800 (without COE, as of 25 August 2022), this is expensive. Throw in the $11k COE and you're looking at quite an eye-watering number (though BMW is offering a discount and COE subsidy).

And while it technically is a Class 2A bike, I doubt many 2A riders will be looking at this particular model. Beyond functionality, it's for people who want (and appreciate) a more upmarket experience. 

This isn't just any old scooter, certainly nothing like the one I rode more than a decade ago. The C 400 GT feels sophisticated and high-quality, but you are going to have to pay a premium for it.

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bmw  bmw motorrad  motorbike  bike  c400  c400 gt  c 400  scooter