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TEXTRON WILDCAT XX & MORE

September 6, 2017
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— PREVIEW OF THE NEXT GENERATION PERFORMANCE CAT:

— Way back in June of 2016, we reported on the partnership between Arctic Cat and Yamaha in which Yamaha’s 998cc Genesis turbocharged triple would replace Suzuki’s 177-horsepower 1100 C-TEC4 engine in the Arctic Cat 9000 King Cat snowmobile for 2017. We speculated that the high-performance triple that spawned the stellar YXZ1000R would be easy to slip into the Wildcat X chassis with a dual-range CVT. In the King Cat, the Yamaha turbo triple produced an astonishing 211 horsepower, and the rumor mill started about a new Wildcat. In November of 2016, Arctic Cat entered three Wildcats in the Baja 1000 in Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction), with Robby Gordon, “Tonka” Todd Romano, Sheldon Creed, TJ Flores, Jaime Romero and Juan Romero on the three teams, with the Gordon and Creed ’Cats listed as Speedcat 77 entries. None finished, but the secret was exposed. The Speedcat 77 was a prototype test mule for the Wildcat XX, just like the Speed-modified Wildcat Xs used in the last couple of years’ spec-UTV class at Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck Series.

Here’s the C-TEC4 Yamaha Genesis turbocharged triple that powered the Speedcat 77 in last year’s Baja 1000. OEM intake, exhaust and plumbing were scrapped to fit the Speedcat, and the snowmobile CVT was swapped out with a TEAM Rapid Response clutch and beefed-up transmission, rear transaxle, front diff and driveline with double-plunge axles.

 

Although the Speedcat 77 doesn’t have operating doors like the prototype Wildcat XX, the all-new front fascia, fenders and bodywork are next-generation Wildcat surrounding a new tubular chassis with RG Pro Wildcat A-arms and rear trailing arms.

 

TEXTRON BUYS ARCTIC CAT

This spring, Textron Specialty Vehicles acquired Arctic Cat and announced at dealer shows in Canada and Texas that Wildcat and Prowler UTVs and Alterra ATVs would carry the Textron name, while snowmobiles would remain in the Arctic Cat brand. The merger created some delay in the introduction of the Wildcat XX and 4XX and Stampede-based, long-travel, 100-horsepower UTV. Textron even had dealer demo rides of the prototype Wildcat XX in Quebec, Canada, but the actual specifications of the three new sport UTVs remain in limbo.

At the two dealer shows, Textron announced the Wildcat XX and 4XX with obvious Robby Gordon Racing influence, displaying the cars side by side.
Yamaha’s 998cc triple makes 114 horsepower in the YXZ1000R, but Textron claims the Wildcat XX will make 125–130 horsepower. The 998cc triple has three 80mm pistons, a 66.2mm stroke, DOHC, 12 valves, 11.3:1 compression (in the YXZ; the XX may be more) and three 41mm EFI throttle bodies.

WILDCAT XX AND 4XX FEATURES

Both Speedcat 77 and Wildcat XX frames are totally tubular with anti-intrusion V-bars on the front and rear of the cage with 1.75-inch tubing. Subframes attach the front suspension and rear end. Extrapolating from the photographs, the wheelbase is around 102 inches, which is more like the Maverick X3 than the Wildcat X’s 95-inch wheelbase. The tie-rods and steering rack are in front of the front spindles, which is a Trophy Truck influence for less bump-steer during travel extremes. The downside of the front steering setup, which Wildcat Xs have always sported, has less Ackerman, where the inside wheel turns tighter and pulls the car through full-lock turns.

The new XX bodywork has the largest in-class bed with a 300-pound capacity, and it’ll carry up to a 33-inch spare tire lying flat. Half doors will have a top-side latch handle and inner liners, and accessories include a vinyl soft roof and windscreen, including a roll-up sunroof.

 

Robby Gordon’s RG Pro suspension carries over to the XX and 4XX. The split trailing-arm design has zero tire scrub during travel, which is said to be 17.5 inches, front and rear. That’s a lot less than the Maverick X3’s 20 to 24 inches of travel, but the compression-adjustable King Racing 2.5 piggyback shocks with dual-rate springs and adjustable cross-overs provide high ride quality. Front A-arms are as long as possible, with zero-offset wheels, and the front shocks attach to the lower gull-wing arms for a milder shock angle and not having the front shock tower and shocks sticking out of the hood, like a YXZ1000R or X3.

Stadium seating gives rear-seat 4XX passengers a better view, and colors will be lime green or black. XX cages are much stronger than on Wildcat Xs, yet they’re still attached to the frame by bolts.

 

Test mules shown have billet front uprights, which will more likely be cast in production. Textron announced the Wildcat XXs will come with 30-inch EFX Moto Hammer tires on KMC 15-inch beadlock wheels, but there is room under the new fenders for up to 32-inch tires. Front and rear torsion bars fight body roll, which is considerable on Robby Gordon’s Wildcats. Gordon has seven SCORE #1 plates, four Baja 500 wins, three Baja 1000 wins and nine Dakar Rally stage wins, so he knows how to set up his suspension.

Here’s the Gordon Baja 1000 Turbo Speedcat 77 in Baja. The dry-sump XX engine requires a separate oil tank, which won’t be hand-made aluminum on the production XX. A 65-amp alternator rides where this tank sits on the Wildcat XX. Yamaha’s GYTR alternator kit is $661.99, so XXs will save money for owners who add a lot of electrical accessories.

 

With 130 horsepower, the driveline had to be strengthened for durability, and Textron’s new Speed Accessories division will have a 200-plus-horsepower turbo kit, long-travel kit with 77-inch width (Speedcat77) and a plethora of electrical accessories. Not only is the XX line designed to be race-ready, they’ll be pre-wired for LED lights, LED whips, audio systems, intercoms and radios. There will also be seatbelt options. Instead of the three-point belt, owners can go with Speed four-point or IMMI Click-6 harnesses. There will also be 12-volt and USB ports.

The Weber MPE 850 twin comes with normal induction (left) with 89mm forged pistons, 68mm stroke 11.5:1 compression and 44mm EFI throttle body, and the turbocharged MPE 850 (right) puts out 130 horsepower with 9.0:1 compression. To get the 100-plus horsepower number, Textron will likely bore and/or stroke the MPE 850 out to 1000cc.

 

TEXTRON’S LONG-TRAVEL SPORT UTV

Following introduction of the extra-cab Stampede and four-seat Stampede XTR for the recreation utility market, Textron Off-Road set out to make some noise in the new cross-over sport utility class created by the Polaris General. The Stampede 900 engine is built by Textron subsidiary Weber Motors and delivers 80 horsepower, while the Weber Turbo 850 makes 130 horsepower. Stampede travel is 9.3 inches in front and 10.4 inches out back, and the EPS+ has 27-inch Bighorn 2.0 tires on 14-inch wheels.

King Racing shocks, longer A-arms, dual-piston front-brake calipers and 28-inch ITP Ultracross R-Spec tires on 14-inch two-tone aluminum wheels will increase trail speeds, and two-row LED headlights will preserve those speeds after sunset.

 

The new Stampede-based UTV is claimed to have 100-plus horsepower, long-travel suspension and King Racing shocks. The yet-unnamed sporty UTV will have longer A-arms and King shocks, and we expect travel to be at least 12 inches and rear travel to be 12–13 inches, like a General, but with way better shocks and ride quality. Arctic Cat influence is obvious with lime green cage tubes, suspension components and sportier bumpers, plus Wildcat seats instead of bench seats. Like the Stampede and General, expect the long-travel UTV to come in various trim packages. Stampedes have three trim levels, plus three appearance packages.

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