Polaris reveals 2004 plans
August 18, 2003
Filed under Features
Something old is now — wisely — something new
While dealer meeting schedules, embargo dates, and other behind-the-scenes tinkering conspired to keep details about many 2004 product lines mostly out of the August news, Polaris Industries has revealed its lineup for the new year.
The result may seem a little familiar to those who previewed the 2003 line. Why? Because much of the news concerns Polaris’ four-stroke boats, two craft that were introduced as 2003 models but never quite made it into the year’s production schedule. Production issues with various suppliers is the official line on why the two models never hit the water in ‘03, delays that caused Polaris General Manager Ron Bills to make the tough decision to step back and wait yet another year before unveiling the four-strokes to the masses.
“Rather than try to push everything and take risks,” Bills explains, “we made a conscious decision to only give a few to some district sales managers.”
Of course, another year of fine tuning has likely led to a better end product. The 150’s engine management system, produced in conjunction with Bosch, and the dialed-in calibration of both the fuel delivery and the impeller have resulted in a better machine than was introduced one season ago. Production should begin in just a few months, meaning Polaris dealers — and enthusiasts — should have the long-awaited product long before boat show season hits full swing.
Just as it has recently done with its jetboat introduction, Polaris opted to team with established, outside-the-industry experts in order to produce the type of finished product it desired.
Bosch is the name most often tossed about. The company played an integral role in the development of the engine management system and had a hand in developing the boat’s electric multi-port fuel injection. Bosch’s engine management system reportedly optimizes performance all around, affecting not only fuel efficiency but also throttle response, eliminating much of the turbo lag inherent to this type engine.
Polaris also enlisted the help of automotive of superbike giant Wenko AG to design an engine that made the most of its power-to-weight ratio. Wenko AG has assisted firms like Porsche and Audi, and its input resulted in a relatively small, 750cc displacement powerplant claimed to be the smallest and lightest four-stroke engine on the market. The engine churns out 150hp in its turbocharged version, and 110hp with conventional aspiration. Top speed for the 150 promises to be in the 60mph range (Bills tosses out 63mph as the target number), and acceleration is to be better than the MSX140, the company’s already released fuel-injected two-stroke.
While the arrival of the four-stroke powerplants should generate enough hype for Polaris, the company insists that dealers and customers alike not overlook the overall advantages of the MSX hull design. What Bills has dubbed a “modified-V, progressive dihedral stepped” design. For 2004, Polaris is touting the loss of 30 pounds from the 2003 MSX hull, further enhancing the horsepower-to-weight ratio.
Another addition for 2004 is the option to “personalize” the craft to match the personality of its owner. Polaris has developed a wealth of accessories — including chrome windscreens, chrome mirrors, and colored rub rails — and a greatly enhanced choice of top deck colors. The 150 is offered in not only the Turbo Silver featured in 2003, but also Stealth Black, Catalina Blue, and Solar Red. The 110 is available in a choice of Havasu Red, Sarasota Yellow, and Bionic Copper.
Polaris has also committed to retail pricing for the MSX line. The MSX 150 retails for $9,699, the MSX 140 for $9,099, and the MSX 110 for $8,699.
On Deck Circle
The 150 and 110 aren’t the only show in town, obviously. The successful, fuel-injected MSX 140 also returns for a sophomore season, now even reportedly better thanks to the shaved hull weight, as does the fuel-injected Genesis i, Virage i, entry-level Freedom and Virage; and the stand-up Octane.