On a recent journey to the famous Superstition Mountain, a 13,000 acre open area containing sand dunes, mud hills, rocky trails, and typical hard pack desert terrain, in Southern California, we had a chance to go Full Throttle in the New Yamaha GYTR Turbocharged YXZ. Here’s our thoughts on the second generation factory-backed GYTR turbocharger kit.
ALSO SEE THE 2024 YAMAHA ATV & UTV LINEUP including the all-new Wolverine 1000 X2, 6-speed auto YXZ and Raptor 110!
When it comes to pushing the performance envelope, the OEMs from Japan have historically been a little more reserved than their Western counterparts. In some cases, like with the YXZ, you do get a substantial durability increase as the tradeoff. While the base car makes about 110 horsepower, bolt-on modifications can take the YXZ to astronomical horsepower numbers. Built-engine drag cars from some of the leading performance companies top 500 wheel horsepower. Yamaha even fitted the YXZ’s engine with forged internals starting in the 2019 model year to make boosting the car even easier.
One of those bolt-on modifications just so happens to be a factory-backed turbocharger kit. Available from your Yamaha dealer either installed professionally or as a DIY garage upgrade, it fits model years 2019-2022, is CARB legal, and retains the factory warranty. The cost? $6,299.99 before tax and installation.
The pair of Yamaha YXZ1000R’s have amassed a cult following as an easy-to-modify UTV with an accessible entry cost. At the time this was written, a quick search online revealed a few leftover (brand new) 2021-2022 model year cars starting at $16,499. We even found GYTR Turbocharged YXZ models for sale from Yamaha dealers from $25,499. Those numbers were for shift-it-yourself sequential manual transmission-equipped versions of the YXZ. Strictly for the hardcore, this YXZ features three pedals and a quick ratchet-shifter on the center console. If you prefer the clutch pedal be removed from the equation, figure you’ll add another $500-1000 for the Sport Shift version of the YXZ.
This GYTR turbocharger kit is actually Yamaha’s accessory division’s second pass at a CARB-legal forced induction upgrade for their YXZ. You see, the YXZ engineering and testing team is full of go-fast types that love to ride, and they are pushing for performance modifications that meet Yamaha’s strict durability standards wherever they can. This GYTR Turbo kit, for instance, undergoes the same level of durability testing that Yamaha subjects the factory YXZ’s driveline, engine, and chassis to. The same thousands of kilometers of hard real-world testing, hundreds of consecutive launch starts, extreme weather and altitude tests. Yamaha’s engineering team had to make this kit bulletproof, and they seemed to have succeeded in a few ways.
Versus the first generation kit, the new GYTR turbo kit improves in three ways: engine response and performance, ease of installation and service, and more accessible parts. The way it accomplishes the increase in response and performance is by enlarging the intercooler circuit, replacing the heat-soak prone aluminum manifold with an easier-to-produce silicone molded intake, and by exchanging the Garrett GT2860 turbocharger for a new water-cooled ball bearing GT2554R. This new turbocharger is a ball-bearing design versus the outgoing kit’s journal-bearing turbocharger. It’s also slightly smaller in size, which attributes to a quicker spool, but no loss in overall horsepower. Yamaha claims a 60% increase in horsepower on their CARB-approved tune and stock spark arrested muffler, which equates to around 180-185 horsepower.
Yamaha made this kit easier to service versus the last model, using clever tricks like mounting a YFZ450R radiator up under the hood that functions as the intercooler’s heat exchanger. Smarter usage of machine-made parts versus handmade components on the previous kit should improve availability, claims Yamaha. The GYTR kits have always been such a hot commodity that they seem to be eternally out of stock. Hopefully some of these changes help increase the amount of kits Yamaha can supply.
The kit comes with everything you need from tip to tail, including tuning and plumbing. The installation is quite involved and will take some time with routing coolant lines front to back for the intercooler circuit, tapping into oil lines, and replacing the interior upper firewall panel to install the new airbox. Still, it can be completed by your average mechanic that can change oil and replace a radiator, which are your two toughest parts of this job. The rest is just removing nuts, bolts, and push pins.
Yamaha’s second generation kit features one very interesting feature- a cast 310S stainless steel exhaust manifold. This replaces the old hand-fabricated manifold from the first kit. It was a huge expenditure for Yamaha to invest in the tooling for this application, which makes us hopeful that we will see a factory turbocharged YXZ very soon now that it exists in the parts bin.
The Yamaha engineers focused a lot of their attention on the sound of the Turbo YXZ. So much so that they explained to us that it was second only to overall performance in their mission. They moved the intake to between the seats, utilizing a nicely-sealed airbox with a big oiled foam performance filter and a quick-release cover. It is about as easy to access and service as the stock YXZ airbox. The ball-bearing turbocharger spools up incredibly quickly, making some really great noises in the process. The second-generation YXZ turbocharger kit achieves the end goal of effectively delivering boost about 2,000 RPM sooner than the first kit, which makes for a big difference in seat of the pants feel.
The turbocharged YXZ starts making boost at light throttle openings, and the resized Garrett turbo responds quickly to inputs with great chops and flutters from the wastegate filling out the orchestra. In the SS paddle-shift version we drove, turbo lag was all but nonexistent if you were even close to the right gear. Roll-on power when you’re lugging along in a high gear is fantastic, and the swell in bottom end torque makes the YXZ much happier in the sand. The GYTR turbocharger kit really accents the YXZ’s personality, and improves it in every manner. The YXZ we drove didn’t even have any suspension modifications done. Yamaha’s engineers asked us If we wanted to make any changes during our 6-hour test session, but we didn’t touch a shock all day.
Mid-range torque from the boosted triple is ample, and the engine responds incredibly quickly with no CVT to spool up. Hooked up in the right gear, the YXZ puts power down so quickly you’ll swear the throttle is connected to your brain. It makes the car a riot on tight trails and in places with a lot of elevation change, as it lets you light up all four tires at any time with a flick of your foot. This all happens at a very safe, warranty-friendly 7 pounds of boost pressure. A 60% horsepower increase at 7 PSI should give you a pretty good idea of how efficient this Yamaha engine is. Aftermarket tuners provide tunes capable of much more horsepower with supporting modifications, for racing use only of course.
2019+ YXZ1000R, YXZ1000R SS GYTR TURBOCHARGER KIT