By Joe Gresh
At Daytona, Polaris loaned me a Slingshot for a few hours and I’m not even sure the three-wheeled Slingshot should be in Motorcycle.com, but that’s Evans’ problem. I just do the typing. The 2020 Slingshot is mostly new from the brake pedal forward. The driving experience is 80% automotive, 20% ATV Quad, and 100% motorcycle when it rains. It’s going to take me more than a few hours to acclimate to the oddness of this gearbox and the three-wheeler’s handling characteristics.
One thing that takes no getting used to is the new, proprietary-Polaris, 2000cc, 203 horsepower (claimed) R-spec ProStar engine: This engine flat rips. Gone is the old Slingshot’s 170-ish horsepower General Motors supplied engine along with most of the old front end. Polaris has a slightly cheaper SL-spec 178 hp version of the ProStar, but if you’ve come this far, you may as well go all the way. I’m going to make a bold prediction here: Look for a restyled ProStar engine to show up longitudinally-mounted in an Indian touring bike. With a simple frame stretch, Indian could close the door on the competition and pay homage to their great inline fours of the past. C’mon, you know you want a 200-hp bagger.
The new ProStar engine. Plenty of power to put those other 3 wheelers on the trailer.
The Slingshot’s transmission is like no other automatic I’ve driven. It’s a manual 5-speed gearbox that is computer controlled and electrically shifted. Going from Drive to Reverse you can hear mechanical linkages moving around under there. Shifts are very positive if a bit slow. The transmission has two modes, Comfort and Slingshot (sport). There is no paddle option. If you floor the throttle in Slingshot mode, the transmission holds each gear longer, shifting up at around 7,000 rpm-ish. Comfort mode shifts …read more