2016.5 / 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat… Polaris RZR killer? In depth prototype breakdown!

The 2016 Arctic Cat dealer show can be summed up in a single word: Meh. Sure new colors are great, sure Robby Gordon is an undisputed champion of all things badass, and thank god they got rid of the anemic 70hp Wildcat 1000. But we need a machine from AC that blows the current Wildcat 1000 out of the water. Not this time, I guess.

There was one small glimmer of hope though. Near the end of the 2016 Wildcat announcement, AC showed this video:

Below are some pictures from the video and some speculation regarding what we think is changed for the machine that’s “most likely going to be the Polaris RZR killer”:

2017cat1Ok, so what do we notice here? The plastics on the prototype appear to be unchanged, but it’s likely that the production model will have updated plastics. We also notice arched lower a-arms, reminiscent of the Wildcat Trail Sport a-arms. It also appears that the suspension travel will be increased due to the much taller appearing stance and larger a-arm angle. The cage seems to be a different design as well, with potentially more headroom and an addition of outer cage bars. This could be a test-only cage though.

2017cat2Again, here we notice the arched lower a-arms and changed cage. The tires appear to be 28-30″ as well, which would be inline with the XP1000/XP Turbo.

2017cat3Inside of the machine, we see a new gauge cluster which would be a welcomed addition to the new Cat. The current setup is usable, but it does not compare to what the RZR and Maverick have. We hope to see things like a speedometer, tachometer, and engine/oil temp readouts all in one centralized location. There are some additional cage reinforcements also, but again this may only be prototype spec stuff and not actual production spec.

2017cat4Hm, now that’s a different machine than the ones above! No plastics on that one, and an obviously shorter wheelbase. The shock mounting location in the rear also is different than the current Cat, and there are a lot of small cage differences. And now it seems that the radius arms are gone, and theres only one (or two?) large trailing arms. It does seem to be screaming through those whoops though!  The oil cooler is also in a different location compared to the current chassis and the front end of the machine seems to be a bit stubbier.

Now after the video, they brought out the prototype to rip around the convention center:

2017catMan are those trailing arms LONG! The wheel base seems to be stretched ~6″ beyond the current machine which would definitely add some suspension/wheel travel. The new shock mounting location also becomes more visible, and it seems that they might be packing some 2.5″ Elka Stage 5s for shocks. The radius arms are visible though, so maybe this model is a very early prototype and the one without the plastic is the more current version? We don’t know for sure. I do know that the Wildcat is already super long, so I don’t think AC will be adding much (if any) wheel base to the new model.

Also, look at that weird exhaust pipe routing! Gone are the head pipes coming from the drivers side of the engine, and there is a very Polaris RZR XP1000-like muffler mounted longitudinally across the back of the frame. If you watch the video, you probably hear that the engine doesn’t really sound like the current V-twin. There is a healthy exhaust note that’s undoubtedly 2 cylinders, but is it a V-twin or an inline?

Hm… 2017 Wildcat 1000X (perhaps XX?). What do we know?

-The 2016 model is unchanged. Arctic Cat has a history of introducing model changes within that model year thus designating the model to be a 2016.5. That would mean we could possibly see a new Wildcat as early as January! This surely would be great time to introduce this model because winter is peak dune time on the west coast. But as of now, let’s consider this a 2017 model.

-The new Wildcat will absolutely 100% have more power. Online rumors are saying anywhere from 120hp naturally aspirated to 180hp turbo/supercharged. It certainly would be smart for AC to introduce a boosted engine, especially considering at least 2 of their top rivals have turbo’d machines. But, we do know for a fact the machine will have more power because AC simply cannot go another year without an upgrade.

-The chassis will be improved as shown in the prototype models. Out will be the old 5 link setup and in will be the (possibly) Robby Gordon designed trailing arms. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the problems the current Wildcat rear suspension/knuckle has. It will also be an industry first to have radius arm-less trailing arms, which should be great to improve ground clearance and rock climbing capability.

-AC isn’t in a hurry to throw something together again. Rumor has it that the 2012 came off the assembly line underdeveloped and with a lot of problems simply to satisfy management that wanted a flagship SXS for Arctic Cat’s 50th anniversary. With new management at the helm, they’re definitely taking their time to make sure the new Wildcat is done right. A lot of people thought the 2015 models would be upgraded, and the same people thought the 2016 models would DEFINITELY be upgraded. Now we know that is not the case. In the long term, this is a good decision. But how many people are simply done waiting for Arctic Cat to get their act together? And how far behind will the 2017 Wildcat be with another year of development under Polaris and Can Am’s belts? And Yamaha? AC has to blow the competition out of the water to even be considered by RZR loyalists.

So, the 2017 Wildcat should be badass. What do we speculate?

-Turbo. It needs to have a turbo. And if not a turbo, a supercharger. Something! They can’t not have one.

-150hp. That’s the magic number no one has reached. That would make it (as of 2015) the highest hp SXS on the market. More than likely coming from an inline 2 cylinder with some boost added to it.

-Insane suspension. Judging by the prototype videos, this thing will be a baja/dune monster. Not only will it have insane travel, but it will be insanely good. We expect no less than it’s current travel of 17″ front and 18″ rear. Judging by the videos, this number could possibly be a few inches more.

-Reliability. Arctic Cat will not and can not repeat their history with the initial Wildcat. Not only that, but Robby Gordon’s name is on the line. I highly doubt he would put his name on something that wasn’t reliable.

-A Robby Gordon edition Wildcat. AC touted Robby so hard during the dealers meeting that there literally is no way there won’t be a version dedicated to him. This should have the best of the best components.

-A competitive price. To get people to move out of RZRs, Arctic Cat needs to come to the table with a deal people can’t refuse. Bean counters may have a problem with this, but the top tier Wildcat will be a few thousand less MSRP than the XP Turbo. It has to be!

-More marketing, lots more! Arctic Cat is a small company compared to Polaris. They are going to need to advertise their asses off to get this machine out there and known. This can already be seen with the recent announcement of a Wildcat-only race preceding every SST race (a series that Robby Gordon started) and it will likely receive air time on NBC Sports.

That’s it. I want a Wildcat 1000XX super/turbo Robby Gordon Baja 1000 Monster Energy Redbull Oakley Maxxis super duper SXS!

Us to! We sure hope someone of importance reads this!

We’ll keep you posted on the most up to date information and rumors as they become available on the Wildcat 1000XX and all this SXS.’

Hit us up on our SXSBlog.com Facebook page and stay tuned for more great articles!

10 Comments on "2016.5 / 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat… Polaris RZR killer? In depth prototype breakdown!"

  1. That’s my video of the prototype, that is the first design and they are on to the 3rd.I know what will be in it for a motor and how much power will be in it, and all the speculation is wrong

    • Keep holding off buying a sport sxs.. Waiting to see what AC does to improve the X, and if they get it right.

  2. Everyone look closely. Same gauge cluster as the Yamaha/Arctic Cat Triple Cylinder snowmobiles. I would buy this using a design and engine together with Yamaha. Can’t wait to see what comes out!

    • Wow nice catch!!!!! I wonder if that let’s any cats out of the bag? It sure sounded like a twin cylinder in the video though…?

  3. In my opinion, the one shown in the video is the Robby Gordon Racing version used for the racing series. This would make sense as a new consumer model will not be that long. I think the new unit will be the triple cylinder motor. That is what I am rooting for at least.

  4. The roll cage appears to be improved greatly as well. Much needed.

  5. 2013 wild cat owner. LONE WOLF WITH ALL THESE RZRs.mine is great handling,, great suspension , great reliability. 6870 miles hard driving. only one belt. replaced the tie rods due to being broadsided by a 300 chrysler while parked at my shop. engine is way down on power compared to other brands. can stay with a 1000 RZR in any rough country, especialy in corners. sand is another story. tires suck in rocks . weak side walls. sedonia rip saws are better wear and don’t rock break. YES WE NEED A NEW MOTOR.

  6. I’ll bet that the motor they are running in that prototype they brought out on stage is not whats actually going in there.. sounds like the 2012 cat with a shitty slip on.. if they are smart they will put that 1049 yamaha triple in there like yamaha should have done with the yxz.. it’ll be around 135 hp NA.. add turbo and you’re at 180 easy with low boost and still reliable. It would make sense. . They are using it in their sleds.. I’d assume they have some kind of rights to that motor. . It’d destroy anything out there.. I think it’d even handle that rzr turbo.. the cat already handles better than anything. . I had a cat loved the chassis.. just bought the yxz and love it by the way.. but if they put 135 hp in the wildcat I’ll be jealous of anyone who owns one.

  7. …ps I heard yamaha may put their 4cyl 155hp motor in the next version of yxz… a little off topic but if they are really doing that then they know someone else is really gunna bring it and the 135 hp motor ain’t gunna cut it.. maybe because they already know cat us going to use that.. and yamaha would have to know that so…

  8. Nothing will change it will be all the same shit, just like apple iphones same shit, arctic products seems like there company is going right down the shitter

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