Kawasaki(Ultra 260 LX)
The horsepower wars have returned to the PWC market in recent years, and Kawasaki has responded by bringing out the biggest guns. After Sea-Doo briefly eclipsed the brand in 2008, the Big Green has responded by once again bumping up the horsepower of its flagship Ultra. The tweaks themselves are rather subtle. New pistons have raised the compression ratio. Intake and exhaust camshafts have been redesigned, and the ignition timing has been altered in kind. Kawasaki also owns up to a little fine-tuning of the impeller and stiffening of the hull. The end result, however, speaks for itself. At a realistic 260 hp, the supercharged, 1498cc engine once again makes the Ultra the undisputed horsepower king.
To make the Ultra more than just a winning dragster, Kawasaki added a touring seat with a bolstered saddle that cradles both driver and passengers, with additional back support for long-distance rides. The seat is also tiered, giving the passengers a raised perch to look over the driver's shoulder. Rounding out the LX upgrades is what can only be called a more mature, sophisticated color scheme. Rather than the standard Ultra's bold hues, the LX opts for a rich silver metallic.
What hasn't changed is equally important. The Ultra has always traded a certain degree of cornering ability for its supremely confident ride on the straightaway, a boon in rough waters. That makes it ideal in big lakes and coastal areas. Hull design also provides an extremely dry ride thanks in part to the well-designed spray rail around the bow. The watercraft's chart-topping capacities also make it excellent for touring: 53 gallons of stowage and a 20.6-gallon fuel tank blow away the class averages.
Bonus Tip: PWC are difficult to secure at the dock. To best avoid dings, center your craft beside a cleat, running a line from the bow or handlebars to the cleat, and then back to the aft grab handle.
• SLO Mode: Second magnetic key activates a speed-limiting mode for less-experienced riders.
• Stand or Sit: Five-position adjustable handlebars allow riders to dial in their most comfortable setting.
• Lean-In Style: Deep-V hull banks into turns, allowing riders to employ a natural lean-in, motorcyclelike riding style.
• Performance: Expect a true 65-plus mph top speed and 0-30 acceleration in less than two seconds.
- Numerically Speaking
- Length: 132.7"
- Beam: 47"
- Dry Weight: 1062.8 lb.
- Engine: 1498CC, Supercharged/Intercooled 4-cylinder, 4-stroke
- Fuel Capacity: 20.6 gal.
- Storage Capacity: 53 gal.
- MSRP: $12,299