2011 Yamaha VXR/VXS Revealed
Yamaha counters its personal watercraft competitors with high-performance 2011 models
The new Yamaha VXR and VXS WaveRunner models were introduced to dealers, along with the rest of the 2011 line, at a meeting in Atlanta on August 25. Using a classic high-performance formula, Yamaha has dropped a big engine in a little hull, specifically the 180-hp version of its 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine in a light-weight rendition of the VX-series hull, an econo-model previously powered by a 110-hp, 1.0-liter engine. The aim is to offer a high-performance model that takes enthusiast riders back in time, to the days when a fast PWC was smaller, lighter, and less expensive.
“We challenged ourselves to create a WaveRunner that could run out in front of the most high-performance watercraft on the market, and to do it at a price thousands less than anything else,” said Scott Watkins, Yamaha’s product development manager. “We achieved it by matching our 1812cc engine, the largest displacement in the industry, with a lightweight compact platform. By doing this, we didn’t need to rely on a supercharger or intercooler to meet the top end of our performance benchmarks, which helped keep the price low. ”
Pricing starts at $10,899 for the VXS, which has a traditional, stepped three-passenger seat and is only offered in Eclipse Black color. The VXR has a lower-profile, racing-style seat and metallic paint finish in blue or silver, and will cost $11,199. That’s about $2,000 less expensive than the sporty 2010 FZS models, which have a 230-hp supercharged version of the 1.8-liter engine.
A Yamaha spokesperson told me that the changes the company made to the 2010 VX models (see “PWC Expert: 2010 Yamaha VX Cruiser” ), including reshaping the deck and revisions to the pump intake area in the hull, were intended to accommodate the 1.8-liter engine in 2011. In the VXR/VXS, both the hull and deck are formed using Yamaha’s NanoXcel, a lightweight composite material developed for the FX and FZ series. While Yamaha has not release an official weight spec for the VXR/VXS, one source is claiming the new models will have a dry weight of only 721 pounds. If that’s correct, the VXR/VXS will actually weigh less than the 736-pound VX models, despite coming loaded with 70 more horsepower. That’s possible in part because of the lighter composite, and because the 1.8-liter engine is more compact than the older 1.0 liter engine. One dealer who has had a chance to test the VXS on the water reports a top speed of more than 65 mph.
Other than some new colors, there are no other significant changes to the Yamaha WaveRunner line for 2011. And, as yet, I don’t have any information on the 2011 Yamaha sport boats.
Yamaha will make the VXS and VRX available for media testing in the next few weeks, and after I’ve had a chance to ride one I’ll be back with full details of features, specs and performance.
Charles Plueddeman is the Boats.com PWC Expert.
- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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Tags: NanoXcel, Yamaha VXR, Yamaha VXS, Yamaha Waverunner