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2011 Ski-Doo MX Z X 800R E-TEC Review


by Pascal Bastien ,

Fans of high performance Ski-Doo snowmobiles were eagerly awaiting the MX Z X, powered by an 800-cc, two-stroke E-TEC engine. tried out this rocket, labelled as a 2010 ½ prototype, at the Xtown off-road sports complex near Quebec.

The new-style riding position, more straight-up and closer to the bar, makes it easier to run the machine at a more sporting pace. As seen here, it also helps when sliding off the seat to set up a corner. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/

The addition of the powerful E-TEC 800R engine to Ski-Doo’s line of sport machines marks an important step forward for this model, as significant as the introduction of the new REV-X chassis was in 2008. After designing a new high-performance, four-stroke engine and a revolutionary new 600-cc, two-stroke mill in 2009, BRP is at it again, offering us a more potent version of its E-TEC technology for 2011. The 800R E-TEC represents a “Great Leap Forward”, to paraphrase politicians, from the 800 Power Tek and its carburettors.

Proven technology

With E-TEC technology pioneered in the Evinrude outboard marine engines, BRP sets new standards in energy efficiency, output and eco-friendliness for the two-stroke world. Integrating the E-TEC system into an 800cc snowmobile engine wasn’t easy, and the engineers had to create a higher pressure direct injection system while maintaining the economy and cleanliness of the E-TEC systems as it was used on 600cc machines from 2009. According to BRP, the new 800R E-TEC with R.A.V.E. exhaust valves generates nearly 160 hp, and delivers 35% better fuel and oil economy than the old 800cc Power Tek carburetted engine.

New “Intelligent” lubrication system

On the lubrication side, an ECU-controlled electric pump has replaced the old crankshaft-driven mechanical pump, using four sprays to lubricate only the critical parts with the right amount of oil given engine load, speed and temperature. The new system reduces oil consumption, toxic emissions and smelly oil fumes. The efficiency of the new system is impressive, as there was no unpleasant oil smell from the exhaust system on full throttle starts after several minutes at idle.

The system includes a break-in mode that limits rpm and injects a richer oil mixture over the first 500 kilometres. When the “Storage” mode is activated, the system injects extra oil and then cuts the ignition, leaving a surplus of oil in the engine to protect it during long periods of inactivity. What’s more this new system does not require any maintenance or adjustments.

The drive pulley, at lower left here, has been moved forward to leave more room for the rider's left foot. The clutches are normally protected by a cover, as is the rider's foot.
(Photo: Philippe Champoux/
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