The line between cars and motorcycles is getting thinner every day. Morgan’s Three Wheeler is open topped and uses the majority of bike’s powertrain for proulsion. Track day toys like the Ariel Atom promise the same type of acceleration as superbikes, and KTM , a motorcycle company, even builds a competitor to the Atom called the X-Bow . On the motorcycle side Can-Am has the Spyder , which is essentially a reversed trike. For 2015 we can add one more name to the list of motorcycle-car `tweeners: the Polaris Slingshot . The Slingshot features a design similar to the X-Bow, complete with a side-by-side seating arrangement, but it brings in the three-wheel layout of the Can-Am and Morgan.
Propulsion comes from a 2.4-liter, Ecotec four-cylinder sourced from General Motors that sends 173 ponies to the pavement. Yes, it’s time to yell "at least!" The Morgan 3-Wheeler is finally getting a competitor that can be acquired on U.S. soil without having to worry about import taxes and other headache-inducing duties.
Update 7/28/2014: Polaris has officially unveiled the long-awaited Slingshot. Read more after the jump
Click past the jump to read a little more on the Polaris Slingshot.
Updated 07/03/2014: Polaris unveiled a first of four teaser videos for the Slingshot sports car. The next two teasers hit the web on July 7th and 14th, 2014. Full details will be unveiled on July 27th, 2014 so stay tuned!
Updated 07/08/2014: As promised, a new video of the future Slingshot was revealed. Called "Ignite Your Senses" this new video make us eager to see the model to be revealed on the 27.
Updated 07/15/2014: Polaris unveiled a new teaser video for the future Slingshot set to be unveiled in two weeks time. Enjoy!
Updated 07/21/2014: Polaris unveiled one last video before the car’s official debut next week. Stay tuned!
The Slingshot has been long rumored for Polaris, but never confirmed. New information released in a recent document outlining organizational changes for the company makes mention of a 2014 release for the Slingshot product line.
As the car is not confirmed, and the specifications are not required for a patent application, we have no knowledge about transmission, brakes or suspension. If what the report says is true, the car should be announced in the coming months. We will update with all the details when we get them.
the Slingshot is a tad too basic for a car, but Polaris is aiming at a completely different market, with customers looking for an extreme vehicle that’s light and fast
At first glance, the Slingshot looks like the love child of a KTM X-Bow and a Morgan 3-Wheeler. It rides on three wheels like the latter, while it sports an open-top, side-by-side design like the former. Even its styling cues lead us to the KTM , although we wouldn’t go as far as to say Polaris looked at the X-Bow while designing its vehicle. It’s the X-shaped front fascia that makes us think of the KTM, but the Slingshot definitely has a design all its own.
The nose is sharper, the hood is slightly longer, and the bumper is nothing more than a pair of thin blades paired with a large splitter. The headlamps are pushed toward the edges of the front end, while a pair of additional light units are fitted right on the center of the nose, above the intake slot. There are no doors on the sides — a typical feat for such a vehicle — while the rear end is plain and simple, with only the third wheel in sight.
Sure, the Slingshot is a tad too basic for a car, but Polaris is aiming at a completely different market, with customers looking for an extreme vehicle that’s light and fast. No room for fancy stuff like doors, fenders or convenience features. Speaking of non-existing fenders, the Slingshot’s body panels are made from rustproof, lightweight and impact-resistant polymer.
The base version weighs in at 1,666 pounds, with a few pounds added when the SL model is selected.
|Front Track||69.1 Inches|
The vehicle’s interior is equally simple, but sporty. Essentially wrapped in a motorsport-like roll-cage, the cockpit consists of a bare-aluminum floor, a large center console that splits the area in two and a simple dashboard. Despite its spartan design, some features hint that the Slingshot is a machine built in the 21st century. These include a 4.3-inch LCD screen that incorporates a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity and an audio system that comes with six speakers.
The vehicle’s interior is equally simple, but sporty
Adjustable, waterproof seating and tilt steering are standard, while two storage bins are mounted behind the seats. However, the bins fit no more than a helmet or a standard backpack. That’s enough for a day at the track or a trip up and down a mountain road, but you shouldn’t plan your vacation in a Polaris.
Safety-wise, the Slingshot comes with three-point seat belts, which, truth be told, is a bit worrying. All we can hope is that Polaris will introduce five-point harnesses once the vehicle is launched.
Power comes from a GM-sourced, 2.4-liter, Ecotec four-cylinder engine that generates 173 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 166 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. It might not seem like much, but given its weight, the Slingshot is quite fast. No performance numbers are given, but expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of less than five seconds and a top speed of around 130 mph. The power heads to the wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. Just what the doctor ordered.
|Engine||2384 CC DOHC Inline-4|
|Horsepower||173 HP @ 6200 RPM|
|Torque||166 LB-FT @ 4700 RPM|
|Brakes||11.7-In. vented rotors front and rear, ABS|
|Steering||rack & pinion, electric assist|
|Fuel Capacity||9.8 gallons|
Suspension and Brakes
The Polaris Slingshot rides on sport-tuned, double wishbone independent suspension with gas-filled shocks. Traction is provided by 18-inch wheels on the front and a 20-inch wheel out back, all wrapped in low-profile, high-performance tires designed by Kenda. Electronic stability control, traction control and speed-sensitive power steering come standard to keep the three-wheeler on its best behavior under heavy throttle.
|Front Tire Type||Kenda "Slingshot" 799|
|Front Tire Size||225/45R18|
|Front Wheel Type||Forged; 10 Spoke|
|Front Wheel Size||18x7.5 J|
|Rear Tire Type||Kenda "Slingshot" 799|
|Rear Tire Size||255/35R20|
|Rear Wheel Type||Forged; 10 Spoke|
|Rear Wheel Size||20x9.0 J|
The Polaris Slingshot costs $19,999 in standard guise, with the sticker going up to $23,999 for the SL model. This makes it way cheaper than the Morgan 3-Wheeler, its main competitor, and a lot more affordable than the KTM X-Bow . In fact, only the base Caterham Seven 160 poses a threat pricing-wise, with a sticker that sits at £14,995 ($25,400 as of 07/28/2014).
Polaris also offers a number of options for the Slingshot, starting with $49.99 iPhone cases and mounts and ending with cockpit and trailer covers that cost $249.99 and $449.99 respectively. The infotainment center kit, priced at $2,199.99, is the most expensive option you can check. All told, the Slingshot can cost nearly $27,400 once all the options are selected.
|Polaris Slingshot Red Pearl||$23,999|
|Infotainment Center Kit||$2,199.99|
|iPhone 4 Case + Mount||$49.99|
|iPhone 5 Case + Mount||$49.99|
|iPhone 5c Case + Mount||$49.99|
|Full Trailer Cover||$449.99|
|Interior LED Lighting Kit||$149.99|
Judging by the number of wheels alone, the Morgan 3-Wheeler is the most appropriate competitor for the Polaris Slingshot . Leave this similarity aside, and the Morgan competes in a league of its own, mostly due to its classic design and no-nonsense approach. The modern 3-Wheeler still resembles the classic V-Twin cars launched in the early 1910s, although its underpinnings and engine are pretty much fresh in terms of technology.
Speaking of engines, the 3-Wheeler is powered by a Harley-Davidson, 2.0-liter unit that generates 82 horsepower. Paired to a five-speed manual transmission, the mill is powerful enough to propel the 1,157-pound vehicle from 0 to 62 mph in 6 seconds and onto a top speed of 115 mph. Pricing for the Morgan 3-Wheeler begins from £25,950 in Britain, which translates to about $44,500 as of 07/03/2014.
Gallery Morgan Three-Wheeler
The KTM X-Bow may have one extra wheel, but the principle it is built on is the same. The X-Bow is light, it has a small engine and a whole lot of power for considering its weight. Although it’s heavier than the Morgan 3-Wheeler at 1,867 pounds, the 2014 X-Bow GT benefits from a lot more horsepower, as its Audi-sourced, 2.0-liter TFSI delivers no less than 281 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque.
With this kind of power at its disposal, the X-Bow GT thunders from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 143.5 mph. Base pricing for the KTM X-Bow sits at $88,500, but a GT model will get you closer to the $100,000 mark.
Gallery KTM X-Bow GT
The world of lightweight, no-nonsense sports cars just got more interesting with the Polaris Slingshot. Those looking for a pure driving experience for the weekend (or even full-time) have one more option to consider. Making things even better is that the Slingshot is available Stateside, unlike the Morgan 3-Wheeler, at an affordable price. Will it be enough to draw customers that are unlikely to trade four wheels for only three? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
- Light and powerful
- Built for sheer driving pleasure
- Lacks the heritage of the Morgan 3-Wheeler
- More a motorcycle than a car?
- Some states require a motorcycle license