BMW’s history with scooters started in 2001 with the unique C1 which was the first and only scooter to feature a roof and seat belt. The idea with the C1 was to make driving a scooter more like a car by avoiding the need for a helmet.
This idea was hoped to be popular with women, but many jurisdictions didn’t relent on helmet requirements, which undermined BMW’s efforts. This 176cc C1 (or 125cc in markets limiting learners to 125cc) was sold only in Europe for 2001 – 2002 before being dropped due to slow sales.
BMW wouldn’t return to the scooter scene until 10 years later with a new maxi scooter design. This new design was introduced in many jurisdictions for 2012, and eventually was the model that lead to BMW’s first scooter foray to North America in 2013.
After much anticipation, BMW launched two versions of their new C series scooters in Canada and the USA.
There was a cheaper and lighter “sport” model called the C 600 Sport (above), and then a pricier touring model called the C 650 GT (left) with more storage and passenger amenities. Despite the difference in naming, both models use the same 647cc motor.
For 2014 BMW carried over same two models of their C scooters but they did mix up the color palette. Alpine white replaced Silver Metallic for the C 600 Sport, while the C 650 GT was offered in black, brown and blue instead of black, red and bronze.
After two years on the North American market, BMW dropped the cheaper C 600 Sport from their line up and only offered in the C 650 GT for 2015. The GT model carried over unchanged aside from a new Grey Granite color options in the USA. The price for this model also rose $500 to $10,490.
After a year’s absence, the Sport version of the C series returned for 2016 to the USA (but not Canada). This time around BMW changed the name to a more logical C 650 Sport which reflects it’s 647cc motors (why it was originally called a 600 is a mystery).
In addition to the new name BMW also revised the exterior styling and make a number of tweaks to the drivetrain (CVT, exhaust) and rear suspension. Standard traction control was also added.
BMW Canada added a new “GT” model to their lineup based on the C 400 X platform. The “GT” version is more touring oriented stye and comfort rather than sport. BMW USA declined to import the C 400 GT and instead rolled over their scooter lineup unchanged, aside from dropping the C 650 Sport which was never sold in Canada.