Kawasaki says the 2011 Ultra 300X is the most powerful Jet Ski it has ever built, one packing 300 horsepower. The company says it has redesigned the model “from nose to jet pump and everything in between. There’s more power and thrust, along with loads of engine strengthening to handle all that power and help ensure typical Kawasaki reliability.” MSRP is $14,499 and color options are Ebony/Lime Green and Ebony/Sunbeam Red. A 300LX model has special luxury features such as large chromed trim pieces, a special paint scheme and an extra-plush two-tone scalloped seat. It comes in Metallic Titanium/Luminous Vintage Red and retails for $14,999.
A new supercharger is “two steps beyond the abilities of the roots-type unit fitted to previous X-model Jet Ski watercraft,” Kawasaki says. The unit is an Eaton Twin Vortices Series (TVS) roots supercharger featuring twin four-lobe rotors. “Where the standard roots unit delivered compressed air in waves,” the company says, “the new Eaton TVS unit offers continuous delivery for more power and smoother power delivery. Boost pressure is up significantly, from 11.0 psi to 17.0 psi. Supercharger efficiency is also up too, nearly 30 percent, while mechanical losses have been reduced to just 10 percent. A liquid-cooled intercooler helps keep the compressed intake charge cool, which stops power-robbing heat from sapping the system’s efficiency.”
The Ultra 300X is powered by a 1,498cc inline DOHC four-cylinder that Kawasaki claims uses stronger and more advanced parts. “Revised pistons team with a pumped-up valve train that includes stronger, hardened-nickel valves with thicker stems, a beefier cam chain and reworked exhaust camshaft with revised lobe profiles and increased durability,” the company says. “Stronger crankcases help harness all this extra horsepower, while an advanced and more efficient oil cooler helps minimize temperatures when the action gets really hot upstairs by sandwiching oil between two cooling jackets instead of one as before. The result is a staggering 300 horsepower, a significant jump from the previous model.”
The 300X’s electronics include a fuel injection system controlled by a high-tech ECU that works in conjunction with the all-new Electronic Throttle Valve (ETV) system (which converts throttle lever inputs into electronic signals that are then passed on to the throttle body). The ECU also allows a host of other technologies. These include a range of varied riding “modes” such as Fuel Economy Assistance mode (for maximum economy during slower going), one-touch 5 mph mode (for use in no-wake zones), the 300X’s Electronic Cruise Control system (for steady cruising speeds when touring) and the Smart Learning Operation (SLO) mode, which allows newer riders to become familiar with the handling and response of the Jet Ski at a more relaxed pace. The setup also includes a digital dash display called the Economical Riding Indicator that shows the rider when riding conditions are most efficient (such as at planing speed, where hull resistance is minimal).
The 300X’s Electronic Trim Control (ETC) system controls the nozzle angle of the revised 160 mm jet pump to adjust hull attitude to suit water surface conditions and riding style. The system has a plus-or-minus range of eight degrees, and works with the revised hull design to allow quicker turning characteristics, according to Kawasaki. A redesigned impeller is reportedly better suited to the new engine’s performance, while the addition of horizontal guide “vanes” on the propulsion grate is said to improve stability and hook-up during acceleration. “With an even stronger engine coupling assembly, it all adds up to the most advanced watercraft powerplant in the industry,” the company says.
Kawasaki engineers also redesigned the race-derived, fiberglass-reinforced plastic hull. “Hull thickness was reduced slightly throughout, and combined with special reinforcements in the inside bow area, the result is a lighter, stronger, more maneuverable and more stable hull,” Kawasaki says. The hull cleaning system has been replaced with a two-circuit design, each with a dedicated flushing port for easier maintenance. Revised styling through the use of more radically edged contours and new nose trim results in a more aggressive look up front.
Regarding the Ultra 300X’s cockpit and rider accommodations, an all-new high-visibility instrument panel has been fitted, which features an all-LCD info screen and visor. The highly legible LCD display accommodates the aforementioned riding-mode displays along with a range of other functions, including clock, time, trip and hour meter, digital or bar-graph tachometer, water and air temperature gauges, speedometer and max-speed functions.
Kawasaki says revised ergonomics improve comfort significantly over the 260X. The handlebar remains five-way adjustable to fit a range of riders and riding styles, with grips positioned nearly an inch wider to accommodate all-new handlebar switch assemblies. “The wider bar allows even better maneuverability and is more comfortable, especially on longer rides,” the company says. The two-piece seat offers “roomy accommodations” for three people, while a new, narrower (at the front) seat makes it easier for riders to ride sitting or standing. The deck design gives all riders plenty of legroom, and a redesigned reverse lever on the left side of the craft features a more ergonomic design and lighter operation.
The 300X has nearly 21 gallons of fuel capacity — the most in its class, according to Kawasaki. A storage bin with 54 gallons of capacity hides under the front cowl, and a dual drink holder keeps refreshments just a reach away. Total combined storage capacity is an industry-leading 60 gallons.
“Perhaps most stunning of all about all these performance- and comfort-related advancements is the fact that the new Ultra 300X weighs nearly 40 pounds less than a 2010 Ultra 260X,” Kawasaki claims.
Posted by Arlo Redwine