Polaris has a turbo version of their RZR and Can-Am’s Maverick X3 is turbocharged as well. So, it’s reasonable to expect Yamaha to eventually offer up a turbo version of their YXZ1000R too. This makes sense, because they already sell a vehicle using the YXZ’s engine that is turbocharged.

If you live in the northern climate, you probably have some knowledge of snowmobiles. Therefore, you’d be aware that some of the most popular models these days come from Yamaha’s Sidewinder line-up. These snowmobiles are powered by a 998cc, three-cylinder, four-stroke engine and all get an extra boost of horsepower from a turbocharger system.

yam snomo

Yamaha’s Sidewinder snowmobiles have been around for awhile now, so they’ve had time to monitor the reliability of their turbo system. When looking at the specs you can see they started off with the right stuff from the get-go. An intercooler system circulates coolant around the three separate throttle bodies to deal with the heat that the turbo generates. The turbine body is made from nickel alloy and the bearings are ceramic which is needed to survive the high temperatures. The Mitsubishi ECU uses 9 sensors to gather data to control ignition timing, fuel delivery, manifold air pressure and turbo boost pressure.

yam snoaction

One advantage of a turbo is it can compensate for elevation changes. When riding up high in the mountains the air gets thinner and your motor begins making less horsepower, unless you have a turbo. The ECU sensors measure the lower air pressure and increase the turbo boost pressure to help maintain the power it had at sea level. This is a good thing for snowmobiles that are ridden in mountainous terrain. and it’s also good for UTVs ridden in that environment as well.

sidewinder turbo

Yamaha’s Sidewinder snowmobiles are rated at 180 hp, which is quite a bit more than the YXZ1000R’s 155 hp. With the turbo, it’s possible for the Sidewinder to make even more power than 180 by changing the boost pressure settings. However, for engine longevity, Yamaha didn’t want to go too extreme and felt that 180 horsepower was a safe number. If you installed an aftermarket ECU and blow-off valve you could get as much as 240 horsepower from this turbo engine, if you don’t mind voiding Yamaha’s warranty.

yxz yel se

Back when rumors first began about Yamaha’s new YXZ1000R performance UTV, the Dirt Wheels crew speculated that it would probably use the Sidewinder engine, but most likely without the turbo. We were also thinking it would use the Sidewinder’s CVT system as well, since it was already designed for that motor. It was a surprise to see the YXZ show up with an actual gearbox and manual clutch. Perhaps Yamaha wanted to offer something different, or perhaps they were suspicious of a belt system’s durability with this much horsepower in the dirt. Keep in mind, high-powered snowmobiles are ridden in colder temperatures. There’s also some track slippage in the snow when you nail the throttle. A UTV’s knobby tire in the dirt can get a good bite which can put more stress on the belt, especially on a hot 95 degree day. With that said though, Polaris, Can-Am and Arctic Cat get by with a CVT belt system on their fastest UTVs, so obvious it can be made to work. Will Yamaha eventually offer a fully automatic CVT for the YXZ too? Probably not for a turbo version, but anything is possible.

We have anonymous inside sources who say Yamaha does indeed have prototype Turbo YXZs being tested and have been for awhile. The question is if they’ll be okayed for production and be included in Yamaha’s 2018 model line-up. The Dirt Wheels crew will go out on a limb with the bold prediction of… maybe.

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