“Do not attempt these stunts. You could be seriously injured or die.”
So starts the Polaris marketing video for its new Slingshot X. Oh Polaris, you had us at stunts!
Who doesn’t like speed, great handling, a manual transmission and Batmobile looks?
The problem with all this fun, of course, is that to get it you need to pay up. Cars like Mustangs and Camaros that can offer this level of excitement are priced near $40K. Even the bargain-basement Mazda Miata costs about $30k.
And so price may be the Slingshot’s advantage. The Polaris Slingshot starts at about $22K and tops out around $28K. The turbocharged Slingshot X is not yet for sale, but its performance is a lot more intense and could compete with cars costing nearly twice what it will.
The way Polaris can offer all this fun in such an affordable package is by removing the safety stuff that all cars must have. In fact, the Slingshot is not a car, but a motorcycle.
By taking out the airbags and all the other unnecessary stuff, the Polaris tips the scales at just 1,700 pounds, and it has a 173-hp four-cylinder engine made by GM.
This is where things get a little weird. The Polaris Slingshot can zip you from zero to 60 miles per hour in a bit under six seconds, but it should be even faster. With just 155 hp, the 2016 Mazda Miata which weighs 2,300 pounds has similar performance. The Slingshot X may resolve this dilemma with a turbocharged engine and not much more weight, but at what cost? The company has not yet priced it officially.
Then there is the practicality. When it was introduced, our own Craig Fitzgerald took the Slingshot to task last for being snow-incompatible. We drove the new Miata in a snowstorm recently and were cozy with the roof down.
And some car magazines also questioned the Slingshot’s advantages over a sport bike. But here we go again getting all logical. The Polaris Slingshot is not about logical. It’s about getting back to where hot-rod cars started. Power, fun, a manual transmission, and “You could be seriously injured or die.”