— 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.