Kawasaki continues to add features and horsepower to its Ultra line of Jet Skis. For 2014, Kawasaki adds more horsepower to four top-shelf models, all a variant of the newly badged Ultra 310. This raises the offerings in the Jet Ski line to a total of six. For the Ultra 310 models, options range from luxury and comfort to aggressive race-inspired style.
All four Ultra 310 models share the same hull and engine configuration based on the $15,299 2014 Ultra 310X. For 2014 Kawasaki upgraded the 1498cc liquid-cooled Inline Four powerplant to churn out an additional 10 horsepower. This makes the Ultra 310 the most powerful personal watercraft on the market. The Eaton TVS series supercharger is unchanged, but Kawasaki reduced mechanical loss and friction to increase efficiency and achieve the power bump. Additionally, a new heat-resistant plastic intake has been reshaped for more low- and mid-range power.
Not only did Team Green boost the power but it also turned its attention to increasing reliability. Starting with the pistons, Kawasaki added V-grooves to the ring land for better oil retention, and cooling oil jets have been increased from one per piston to two. Thicker water jackets improve cooling performance and feature a check-valve for proper temperature control. Baffle plates have been added to the oil pan to prevent slosh during tight turns, and enlarged crankcase oil return holes get that oil back to the pan quicker.
Transforming all of the Ultra 310’s power to forward thrust is a revised three-blade impeller inside the tried-and-true 160mm jet pump. The new impeller is designed to give even more acceleration from the first squeeze of the throttle.
With all that power on tap, Kawasaki has given the rider a host of electronic aids to temper the fury when needed. The cruise control-equipped Electronic Throttle Valve includes a range of riding modes such as an Eco mode that softens and smooths engine performance when riding slow. The Fuel Economy Assistance mode has been revised for significant fuel savings and increased range. Lastly, a one-touch, push-button five mph mode makes navigating no-wake zones easy.
Other comfort and convenience upgrades that span the full Ultra 310 range start with a new easy-to-read LCD screen that features a new face design. Instrumentation now includes a fuel consumption function that displays gallons per hour or gallons per minute. Reshaped mirrors are optimally curved for a wider view of what is being left in the Ultra’s wake. The passenger handrail has been relocated to a more ergo-friendly location for reduced fatigue and has a redesigned handle for better grip.
Ultra 310X SE
The Ultra 310X SE model builds on the base 310X with aggressive graphics and a new Sportseat that offers a special support bolster and a grippy KX-motocross-like seat cover for spirited riding. The price jumps $500 to $15,799 for the SE treatment.
The 2014 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310R is the hardcore mount of the bunch drawing on Team Green’s championship-wining racing. Several ergonomic changes have been made for a dozen different height and reach combinations to fit the rider and riding style. The electro-polished stainless steel bars offer more leverage for quick direction changes. The Kawasaki Sportseat features a slimmer design with a gripper seat modeled on the KX motocross bikes that allows the rider to hold on better when standing. MSRP for the 310R is $16,299.
The Ultra 310LX is the luxury flagship of the Jet Ski line with its large chromed trim pieces and special paint scheme, but the big news on the LX is the addition of Kawasaki’s new JETSOUND audio system that allows riders to crank their favorite tunes while making waves. A 2x20 watt-rated amplifier and a pair of 30-watt speakers blast rocking sounds from either an iPod or iPhone and there’s a port for a USMB memory stick as well. Volume and song selection is easily controlled from an audio interface on the handlebar pad. A generously padded two-tone seat features a scalloped shape for excellent touring comfort. An industry-first heat resistant seat cover keeps the rider and passengers cool even on the hottest days. Superior foot grip and comfort is provided by a striped pattern Hydroturf deck matting. The Ultra 310LX’s luxury features will cost you; it retails for $17,999.