Yamaha’s latest side-by-side X4 Wolverine is a four-seater mountain goat, slush puppy and go-anywhere off-road taxi, says ATV correspondent Bruce McMahon:
The Wolverine X4 – the first of this model with room for four Australian-sized adults – scores a race-bred motor, self-levelling rear suspension, fly-by-wire throttle plus a tonne of ability for tackling tough tracks. There are any number of optional extras too, including a fully-enclosed, fully-lockable cabin, a sub-woofer for the optional stereo and a front-mounted winch.
It becomes a flagship for the bike maker, heading into a new – albeit small – market for multi-seat SSVs says Yamaha Australia’s Sean Goldhawk. It is important too for keeping riders in the Yamaha family from mini-bikes through bikes to side-by-sides for off-roading.
All-new X4 Wolverine
This all-new X4 model joins Yamaha’s existing two-seater Wolverine but with narrower chassis and host of fresh mechanicals.
It sits at just over three metres long and 1.5 metres wide, weighing in at 755kg when fuelled-up and will carry 272kg. All four seats are high-backed, the rear pair foldable for more cargo space, plus there’s tilt adjustment for the steering column – tall or round, most riders will find a comfortable drive spot.
The Wolverine’s electric power steering is speed sensitive and Yamaha’s Ultramatic Constantly Variable Transmission can be run in two or four-wheel drive with a quick flick of the dash-mounted switch; there’s also a locking differential.
And the crown jewel in this treasure box of mechanicals is the all-new 847cc motor, a liquid-cooled, parallel twin with double overhead cams and eight valves. It runs at 10.5:1 with a dry sump and was developed from Yamaha’s motorcycle road-racing programs. (There’s a ‘tortoise’ switch to limit the Wolverine to 40km/h if needed.)
So the result of this engineering is an eager, forever tractable power plant with swags of low-down torque. That, allied to a CVT with excellent responses and downhill braking, plus great suspension travel, means there’s little chance of the Wolverine faltering, even when loaded with four adults and scrambling up a steep, washed-out track.
Thrills and fewer spills
Off-road adventuring with family or friends rarely comes as comfortably or competently; this nimble X4 offers the thrills, and fewer spills, of trail bike riding with open-air experiences not found with traditional four-wheel drive vehicles.
And the $23,999 Yamaha Wolverine X4 will go further – through mud, sand or snow – than most bikes or wagons.
The X4 joins Yamaha’s established two-seater version as a machine for work or play, up against the likes of the four-seater Polaris General and Can-Am Commander. Yamaha see 40% of their X4s being bought for recreation, 30% for agricultural operations, 20 per cent for commercial uses and 10 per cent for hunting.
Buyers will likely be four-wheel drive owners with ATV experience and while SSVs are not a huge part of Yamaha’s market, this Wolverine is an important part of the brand’s ‘customer-for-life’ strategy, says Yamaha’s Lance Turnley.
“People start out with a Pee Wee (mini bike) and then get into trail bike riding, motocross … a couple of generations later you have the grandfather who wants to spend time with his grandkids, take them exploring and all that sort of thing,” Lance said at the Wolverine X4 launch in Queenstown, New Zealand.
“Anybody who enjoys motorcycling, especially off-road, likes that bit of excitement that side-by-side vehicles offer.”
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