“When do we reach the point of having too much horsepower?” That’s a question being asked by some (but not too many!) in the UTV/Side-By-Side Vehicle market today with the unveiling of the new 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo RR models that produce a claimed 195 horsepower.
Being motorheads at heart, we’re intrigued by any new piece of powersports equipment, but considering that this new machine is from Ski-Doo’s parent company, BRP, plus the fact that the Maverick’s base powerplant is the Rotax 900 ACE four-stroke that is found in many snowmobiles… well… we can’t help but to wonder about the possibilities for our sport.
To recap, the 900 ACE mill is a three-cylinder 900cc four-stroke that is utilized by BRP in various markets — including snowmobiles, UTVs and personal watercraft. Before last year, though, for snow is was a peaceful and dependable engine with an output that was 10 percent of its displacement — so, 90 hp.
Then for model year 2019, BRP’s Ski-Doo division unveiled models with the new 900 ACE Turbo engine that was boosted up to 150 horsepower. In an exclusive interview with Snow Goer, BRP designers and engineers Claude Trahan and Julien Collin very closely tied the new snowmobile engine design — available in Renegade and Grand Touring models — to Maverick UTV/SSV models carrying the same engine and turbocharger. The major differences, they said, were in the “packaging” of the turbocharger and intake in the smaller, more compact snowmobile chassis.
Now, with news that a new Rotax turbo units has been added to the 900 ACE base engine to add more boost to the high-end Mavericks (the RR models), it begs an obvious question: What about us snowmobilers?
Here’s one more factor to consider: Ski-Doo is run by a prideful group that does not like to be outgunned when it comes to having the highest horsepower — that can be seen throughout the history of the brand. Well, the 998cc turbocharged Yamaha four-stroke found in Yamaha Sidewinder and Arctic Cat ZR 9000 models has been alone at the top of the power heap for several years now, with a claimed horsepower around 180-190 (and some dynos rating it over 200 hp). How long will Ski-Doo let that stand? The 850 Rotax two-stroke is certainly a mega-strong engine, but for ultimate lake racing the Yamaha four-stroke is the king… for now.
We reached out to Ski-Doo officials for a comment, and as of this writing are awaiting a return phone call. That said, we’re fully expecting a “you know we can’t comment on future products or plans” sort of answer — and, as a public company, they truly can’t tip their hand. This one will be left to the blowing winds of the rumor mill for awhile.
One final note to consider: The Maverick X3 X rs Turbo RR shown has an MSRP for $27,499 — which sounds massive to many of us snowmobilers, but for a vehicle with this much capability in the dunes, it’s a bargain to the guys and gals that are running or considering buying a sand rail. And that is the market for which this vehicle is clearly aimed.
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