Kawasaki unveils the 2012 Jet Ski Ultra LX

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from a release

For many watercraft fans, maximum this and ultimate that aren’t always necessities. Sometimes, a high-end, high-power PWC that’s focused more on balance and efficiency is just right – and for these value- and performance-oriented enthusiasts, Kawasaki’s new-for-2012 Jet Ski Ultra LX may well be the perfect boat.

Smooth, fast, technically advanced, comfortable in the extreme and blessed with an emissions footprint small enough to be recognized by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board, Kawasaki’s 2012 Ultra LX is an all-around, go-everywhere cruiser that’ll blow you away with its amazing blend of performance, convenience and functionality. Think of it as a normally aspirated version of Kawasaki’s supercharged, 300-horsepower Ultra 300LX and you’ll be on the right track.

The comparison to Kawasaki’s pinnacle boat is an apt one, as the 2012 Ultra LX incorporates a handful of advanced features and technology from the supercharged unit, which itself was redesigned for 2011. The big change is the move to the Ultra 300LX’s advanced hull for 2012, a fiberglass-reinforced design that’s stronger and lighter (by nearly 43 pounds) than before. It’s also more stable at speed and more maneuverable than last year’s hull, thanks to its 22.5-degree deep-V hull design, which allows high bank angles and motorcycle-like turning performance – something we know quite a bit about.

There’s more Ultra 300LX crossover in the propulsion system. The jet pump, driveshaft and nozzle come straight off the 300, and the results are devastating for the competition. This advanced system converts the Ultra LX engine’s horsepower into immediate yet controllable thrust via a large-diameter 155mm jet pump developed from Kawasaki’s racing machines. Combined with a 20mm shorter nozzle for lighter handling, the system delivers super-stable and controllable output, and also plenty of bite, even in rough water.

Everything Kawasaki knows about high-tech engine building goes into the Ultra LX’s super-efficient powerplant. The reliable 1,498cc inline-four 4-stroke is based on the engine powering the legendary ZX-14 sportbike – one of the fastest and quickest motorcycles on the planet – and incorporates a number of improvements for 2012: Stronger con-rod bolts, more durable main journal and big end inserts, and reinforced crankcases. It delivers stunning power – 160 horsepower and nearly 1,000 pounds of thrust – and ultra-manageable throttle response thanks to its double overhead camshaft cylinder head design, lightweight pistons, advanced fuel injection system, maximized intake tracts and optimized exhaust. The big inline-four is also surprisingly fuel efficient, which means you’ll get in a lot of exploration and wave-whipping before the biggest-in-class 20.6-gallon fuel tank runs dry.

Another reason you can disappear all day on the Ultra LX is its 60-gallon storage capacity, which means food, drinks, supplies and extras of all sorts can be easily stowed. On-board comfort for rider and passengers is supreme, of course. There’s a revised luxury seat with bolsters to keep everyone’s behinds happy, five-position steering that allows the rider to dial in just the right amount of height while standing or sitting, and splash deflectors to help minimize spray and keep everyone dry. There’s also a new, larger and easier-to-read LCD display to look at, one serving up a multitude of key digital information including water and ambient temperature. There’s also a redesigned reverse lever offering lighter operation.

There’s no end to the fun and exploration you can generate on a watercraft as performance-oriented, practical and fun as the all-new 2012 Ultra LX. Here’s what one journalist remarked after getting off an LX recently: “It unlocks parts of the ocean and the planet you simply couldn’t get to before. And that’s an amazing and wonderful thing.”

We couldn’t agree more.

posted by Dennis Johnson

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