Trail test: 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT

The 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT has a new Rotax four-stroke engine that's focused on efficiency.June 1, 2010

“Wow, what a nice sled!” are the first words on the page of notes I wrote after riding the 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT snowmobile with the new Rotax ACE 600 four-stroke engine. “Very smooth, electric power. All I can hear is the wind with a faint grumble on hard acceleration.”

I use the term “hard acceleration” loosely because the ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) engine is designed to be efficient and clean; it’s not built for performance-minded snowmobilers.

Efficient Rotax ACE 600 4-Stroke Engine

Ski-Doo claims the engine is capable of traveling 29 miles on a gallon of fuel and its exhaust emissions far exceed the standards for Best Available Technology (BAT) certification, a label required for it to be operated in Yellowstone National Park.

While it’s not a powerhouse by any means, this engine performed better than I expected. I rode it in Montana at our annual Rode Reports testing event this spring. At wide-open throttle the speedometer indicated 70 mph. That speed is impressive when you consider that I was riding at about 6,600 feet above sea level. Peak engine speed was 6800 rpm. When accelerating out of corners — in the 5 to 6000 rpm range — I felt a nice “tug.”

Riding, steering and driving the 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT feels the same as any other short-track sled in the REV-XP chassis. Ergos are comfortable and well-suited for a long day on the trail. Handling is precise with a comfortable ride quality from the A-arm front and SC-5 rear suspension with rebuildable Kayaba gas shocks all the way around.

While an 800R-powered Ski-Doo MX Z requires drivers to be on their game and highly attentive, the Rotax ACE 600 powerplant brings zero intimidation from the silky smooth 2800 rpm clutch engagement all the way up to full throttle. These characteristics make it an excellent sled for beginners, teens and rental shops, or someone who’s looking to take a quiet and smooth snowmobile ride. We’re not saying it isn’t necessary to pay attention while driving an ACE 600-powered sled, but it might induce a driver to daydream.

MX Z ACE 600 TNT: Entry Level Goes Modern

At $8,699, buyers will get a nice entry-level snowmobile where no corners were cut, not to mention it has a modern four-stroke engine that’s clean and efficient. But there’s no denying that’s a lot of bread for a 60 hp snowmobile, so maybe Ski-Doo should make some cuts to make the machine more affordable.

Not often is an
Installing a simpler gauge pod without a tachometer — this customer doesn’t need it — and keyed ignition in place of the DESS tether system might reduce the price of the machine. Until that happens, buyers can step down to the 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 Sport package to save $600 off the retail price in exchange for cheaper shocks.

— Andy Swanson

2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT Hits

  • Ski-Doo REV-XP familiarity
  • Quiet, smooth
  • Easy to drive

2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT Misses

  • Cost
  • Over-equipped

2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT Specifications

  • $8,699
  • Engine: Make/Name: Rotax ACE 600
  • Layout: Inline twin, 4 valves per cylinder, dual overhead cam
  • Type: Four-stroke
  • Bore/Stroke: 74mm x 69.7mm
  • Peak rpm: 7200
  • Claimed output: 60 hp
  • Front Suspension: Dual A-arm; HPG Plus shocks; 9 inches of travel
  • Rear Suspension: SC5; HPG Plus shocks; 15 inches of travel
  • Track: Rip Saw; 15x120x0.75

One thought on “Trail test: 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z ACE 600 TNT

  • Avatar for Paul

    As far as being over priced and over equipped, I’m thinking that was a very costly engine to develop and produce, so they have to charge quite a bit more to recoup that expense. Since they have to charge more just for the engine, people are not gonna be happy to at that price and get less instrumentation an cheaper shocks, etc. Just a thought.


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