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2011 Polaris RZR XP 900

Claiming it accelerates nearly 30 percent faster than any other side-by-side, Polaris is calling the new Ranger RZR XP 900 a “whole new class of side-by-side” and “the only extreme performance side-by-side on the market.” The unit hits showrooms this month in Indy Red ($15,999 retail) and a White Lightning limited-edition model ($16,599).

2011 Polaris RZR XP 900 Engine

Polaris says the XP (Xtreme Performance) designation relates to the new 88 hp ProStar 875cc twin-cylinder engine with EFI; the new 3-Link Trailing Arm Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) with 13 inches of ground clearance and 14 inches of travel; and the unit’s light weight with a low center of gravity for better cornering.

“The Ranger RZR family delivers the ultimate combination of power, suspension and agility,” Matt Homan, vice president and general manager of Polaris’ Off-Road Vehicles Division, says in a press release. “When we set out to design the Ranger RZR XP 900, we wanted to create a ground-breaking, high-performance vehicle to complement our current, best-selling Ranger RZR line. The result is simply incredible.”

2011 Polaris RZR XP 900 Limited Edition

The engine features dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and a 180-degree crankshaft for balanced performance and fast throttle response for “groundbreaking acceleration.” According to Polaris, the combination of 88 hp with the vehicle’s light weight provides acceleration that is 29 percent quicker than the next-quickest side-by-side on the market.

The Ranger RZR XP 900 also features an all-new lightweight, compact and durable transmission, also designed specifically for extreme side-by-side performance. Polaris says it maximized efficiency by eliminating all right-angle drives to the rear axle, resulting in less friction and more power delivered directly to the rear wheels. “And the simple and efficient design also provides a very quiet transmission,” the company adds.

2011 Polaris RZR XP 900 Front View

The design of the 3-Link Trailing Arm IRS consists of two extra-long radius rods and a far-forward-connecting trailing arm resulting in a “strong yet lightweight system.”

Polaris says the patented engine-behind-the-seat design and rear weight bias help deliver agility and performance, “while the race-inspired rear suspension maximizes traction and power in the corners. To provide precise cornering, the suspension’s radius rods extend deep into the wheel hubs and feature an uneven link geometry that optimizes camber. Tires lean into the corner through the suspension travel, and plant more tire surface on the ground for maximum control. The trailing arms also minimize wheel scrub for superior straight-away power to help the driver stay true to line.”

2011 Polaris RZR XP 900 Rear View

Other features include the industry’s first factory LED headlights that throw light forward beyond conventional halogens. Performance brake calipers and large-diameter, ventilated rotors are on all four wheels. To complement the new suspension, the RZR XP 900 is outfitted with Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks on all four wheels. They have a 2-inch body with piggyback reservoirs that provide adjustable pre-load and compression dampening. ITP 900 XCT tires provide a directional lug pattern for exceptional cornering and straight-line traction capabilities. To maximize cooling capacity, the unit features a massive grill opening and a front air dam for improved air flow. For safety, the Ranger RZR XP 900 has a certified roll-over protective structure (ROPS).

More than 70 Pure Polaris accessories, including cargo boxes, winches and protection, also will be available at launch.

The Ranger RZR XP 900 is the latest member of a model family that began in 2008 when Polaris introduced what it called the only trail-capable side-by-side, the Ranger RZR 800. In 2009 came the “only true-sport side-by-side,” the Ranger RZR S 800. With the Ranger RZR 4 800 in 2010, Polaris said it was introducing the world’s only four-seat sport side-by-side.