What’s New for the Polaris?
Before we get any further into what it’s like to drive, let’s talk about what the Slingshot actually is, because it’s not exactly clear just looking at it. For starters, it’s got three wheels, which means it lands somewhere between a traditional car and a motorcycle. The single rear wheel is belt driven, like a motorcycle, but the tandem seating position, steering wheel and pedals mean it’s piloted like a car. Whether or not you need a motorcycle endorsement to drive it depends on your state, but regardless of local laws, Polaris suggests a full-face helmet be worn at all times. Polaris tells us its three-wheeler is 70% new with upgrades spanning from the cockpit to the all new Polaris-built Prostar four cylinder engine and the AutoDrive “automatic” transmission mated to it.
How the Performance?
The Polaris has finally addressed the power issue, plus a few other things on the Slingshot’s to-do list. The most drastic change isn’t the bump in power now 203 horses, up from 173—but the way in which that power is delivered. The new engine, designed in-house for the Slingshot, is a 2.0-liter four with a righteous 8500-rpm redline. This peaky, whirling dervish, dubbed Prostar, makes its power up high, in keeping with the Slingshot’s sportbike-inspired attitude. The more powerful iteration, found in the $30,999 R model, hits its horsepower peak at 8250 rpm. The detuned base engine is somehow even more manic, making 178 ponies at 8500 rpm. That’s not a stat you see every day—horsepower peak and redline sharing a number. Torque is wispy in either model, with 120 lb-ft in the $26,499 SL model and 144 lb-ft in the R, compared to 166 lb-ft from the old GM tractor engine.