There was an audible sigh of relief coming from the Kawasaki camp when BRP announced the their new engine’s output of 300 horsepower. Despite the challenge by Sea-Doo, the Big K retained its crown as the “King of Horsepower” again for 2016. And again, Kawasaki remains the undisputed champion of offshore racing, with sweeps of the podium at the venerated Long Beach-to-Catalina Offshore Championship, the grueling 700-mile Russki Offshore multi-day event, and the world-renowned Karujet Guadalupe Offshore Championship. If there is one craft to tackle Mother Ocean, it is the Kawasaki Ultra 310X.
And of course it would. The Ultra’s deep-V hull design splits chop and surf like a battleship, strong and sturdy. Propelled by a true 310-horsepower erupting from a Eaton TVS twin-strew roots-style supercharger pressing an impressive 16.8 psi of boost down the electronically-controlled 60mm throat of a 1,498cc 4-cylinder 4-stroke. The Ninja ZX-14R–derived 1.5L plant boasts a 83 x 69.2mm bore-and-stroke with a tight 8.2:1 compression ratio. For the sake of comparison, the Ultra manages to produce more horsepower with less bore width and boost than the new 1,630cc ACE 300 with its is 100 x 69.2mm, and 18psi of boost.
Out back, the big Kawasaki spins a Skat-Trak stainless steel three-blade, oval-edged prop inside of an industry-leading axial-flow, single stage 160mm jet pump. All of this equates to 1,890 lbs. of thrust, which many will note, is needed to push the Kawasaki’s 1,040.8 lbs. heft. Two years ago marked when Kawasaki made significant improvements to its then-current 300X model, primarily to the engine’s internal temperature management via expanded cooling circuits (along with a secondary inducted water circuit for the high volume intercooler), a new single semi-dry sump system and double under piston oil jets.
Combined with Kawasaki’s new Digital Fuel Injection (DFI) system – with larger injectors plumbed into a two-piece composite long-runner intake manifold, not only increased the engine’s longevity and increased efficiency, but opened up an extra 10 horsepower. Kawasaki also increased the DOHC (dual over-head camshaft) 4-cylinder’s oil capacity to an impressive 6 quarts. That, with its 20.6 gallon fuel tank (91 octane-or-better premium fuel only), makes the Ultra 310X’s fluid capacity nearly that (or more) of most pickup trucks on the road today.
Beneath the hood, storage capacity is equally impressive with a baffling 56 gallons of storage via a drop-in bin and furnished bow. Although there’s no locking or screw-top lids, Kawasaki’s hood and glove box door have thick rubber weatherstripping ensuring a near-watertight seal. And for all Ultra models (except the 18-place 310R moto handlebars), 5-place adjustable tilt steering is standard along with a standard use operating key and a green SLO (Smart Learning Operation) key that limits acceleration and top speed.
For the individual models, we’ll begin from the top and work our way down the price sheet: The Ultra 310LX continues with the industry’s only on board factory sound system: Jetsound. Two 30-watt speakers and a 2×20-watt rated amplifier pump out tunes from your waterproof-encased iPhone/smartphone, or through a USB port to accommodate a memory stick.
Likewise, the $17,999 310LX features a shaped and scalloped, two-tone, three-passenger LXuryseat saddle. The bench uses the industry’s first heat-resistant cover, and comes with two-tone Hydro-Turf deck traction matting. For 2016, the 310LX gets its first color change to Ebony and Metallic Carbon Gray.
The 2016 310R is almost completely untouched save for new graphics. It retains its motocross-style electro-polished stainless steel handlebar with its 16-position solid handlebar mount (including optional mount extensions), and contoured sport seat with a “grippy KX-style” seat cover. Priced at $16,299 (no price change from 2015), the 310R is a favorite of offshore riders and even 300 Class AquaX racers.
The 310X and 310X Special Edition (or “SE”, which is unavailable to certain markets outside of the US), are too unchanged, save for the versatile 310X’s change to an Ebony and Metallic Stardust White livery. The SE shares the same race-inspired seat as the 310R, but without the moto-style handlebars. The 310X and 310X SE are priced at $15,299 and $15,799, respectively.
Kawasaki’s two most fuel-efficient and price-efficient vehicles, the naturally-aspirated Ultra LX and STX-15F share the same powerplant, the previous edition 1.5-liter 4-stroke, four-cylinder and retain the traditional cable-operated throttle and trigger. You won’t find cruise control, electronic trim or Eco mode on either of these models like you do on all 310-powered Ultras listed above. And only the LX gets a new color change (Ebony and Metallic Phantom Silver).
Priced at $11,199 and $9,699, respectively, the STX-15F still remains Kawasaki’s number one seller, be it current units or discounted previous models. So much so, that Kawasaki showed an impressive 17-percent growth in sales in September attributed heavily to the STX unit sales (it’s particularly worth noting as both Yamaha and Sea-Doo showed 10-percent sales growth in the same month). And with rumors in full swing as to what Kawasaki has cooking for next year (more on that later this month), Kawasaki is looking to be pouring on the steam.
All Ultra JetSki models (310LX, 310X Special Edition (SE), 310X, 310R and LX) as well as the perennial STX-15F remain unmodified for the 2016 model year, with only new aforementioned rich metallic colors and eye-grabbing decals (most in the iconic “Kawasaki Green”) being the sole additions. And for 2016, all JetSkis carry a 12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty with an optional 12, 24, 36 or 48-month Kawasaki Protection Plus plan. With a network of 1,200 independent retailers, a new Kawasaki JetSki can be yours today – that’s right, the new 2016 models are available today!