First Test: 2018 Turbo S!
We have been almost giddy waiting for the chance to drive the 2018 Polaris RZR XP Turbo S. The S is Polaris’s most advanced and exotic two-seat model to date, and it is a monster in many ways. From the outside it looks a little different from any of the current RZR two-seaters. The front and rear have been restyled with a cleaner, more modern look and added color. Other things you instantly notice are the standard aluminum roof, massive 32-inch ITP Coyote 8-ply tires on 15-inch rims and factory four-point harnesses.
The Advanced Suspension
It is fitting that this advanced car features the space age Dynamics platform as well. The car has the Ride Command touch-screen, rear camera and GPS. It also has the ability to receive and play radio stations, but the S is not equipped with speakers. The sound show here is the 168-horsepower intercooled turbo inline twin 925cc engine. The Dynamix needs portions of the Ride Command package to make the most of the electronic active Fox suspension. The Ride Command GPS works with an on-board three-axis accelerometer and a five-axis gyro to allow the suspension to adjust instantly to driving conditions.
The Dynamics package on our 2018 RZR XP Turbo Dynamix is effective but and reacts to changing conditions incredibly fast, but it wasn’t the smoothest. Our Dynamix 4 is much smoother now that it has over 500 miles on it. With the increase in width the S also gained travels. Where our 64-inch- wide Dynamix machines have 16-inches of front wheel travel and 18-inches in the rear, the S has 19-inches in the front and 21-inches in the rear. Combine that suspension with 32-inch tires that are three inches taller than the other Dynamix models, and you feel the difference immediately. It is a higher step to enter the machine, and there is more ground clearance as well.
Our S had close to 250 desert miles on it, so we had no need to break-in the belt or suspension. When you mash the throttle the S squats like you see Trophy trucks do. The suspension feels very active and supple in all sorts of driving conditions. We have had the car in the dunes, on desert trails and on rocky mountain trails. In every case the suspension action is amazingly compliant.
The handling is very planted, and the turning is quite good for a car with tall tires and this much travel and ground clearance. It gobbles whoops, cruises over rocks and rearranges dune faces. The ITP Coyote tires have a hard terrain tread pattern better suited for desert, so they were not as happy in the sand as the Maxxis Bighorn 2 tires that we see on most production cars. Interior comfort is good with seats that lean back a little more than other XPs. The four-point harnesses are a little fussy to get adjusted, but won’t be an issue for one-driver cars.
It is obvious that this machine was built with the desert in mind, and it is a formidable machine in that terrain. It also did fine on our mountain trails and in the dunes. For dune running we would probably go with 30- or 31-inch tires. At $27,499 the RZR S is expensive, but there is no way you could buy a lesser XP model and get this level of suspension and handling without spending a lot more. You definitely get the performance for the money.