Described as a sports car, it sounds wildly unsafe.
There’s not a real windshield, no doors, no roof, no airbags, and it rides just 5 inches off the ground. It weighs under 2,000 pounds, has a weight distribution of 66/34 percent front/rear and is powered by a 2.4-liter GM engine with a 5-speed transmission sending power to the rear wheels.
Or shall I say wheel.
The Polaris Slingshot isn’t a car we’d normally cover on this blog, because it isn’t a car at all. The Slingshot is a three-wheeled motorcycle, but it’s the most car-like motorcycle ever made.
Which isn’t a good thing.
There are at least two Slingshots cruising the streets of my local area, and the first glance always gives way to a second because it’s just… so… unique. The front end, including the cockpit, looks something like a mix between an Ariel Atom and a Pontiac Solstice that was created by a rookie designer at Hot Wheels. At the rear is a traditional belt-driven single tire that provides the thrust.
The Slingshot has floor pedals, a car-like steering wheel, antilock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and space for a driver and passenger. It’s so much like a car that Polaris, on its website, has disclaimer after disclaimer saying that it’s a motorcycle and all helmet laws are in effect.
In its review of the Slingshot, Autoblog said,
the Slingshot combines killer motorcycle-derived elements like a single-sided aluminum swingarm, tubular steel frame, and wind-in-your-face exposure with automotive killjoys like electronic stability control. Further confounding the three-wheeled paradox for motorcyclists and cagers alike is the inability to lane split, the lack of a crumple zone or airbags, and the impossibility of leaning into corners.
So the Slingshot is a motorcycle that can’t be enjoyed like a motorcycle, and it’s a car that can’t be enjoyed like a car. So why buy a Slingshot? That’s a question I can’t answer. If you’re looking for a lightweight sports car, but don’t like the $24,000 price of entry for the Polaris, look for a used Lotus Elise or Pontiac Solstice.
Could you see yourself in a Polaris Slingshot?