The new Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 260LX is one of the most powerful PWC on the water. Packing heat in the form of a 1,498cc 260-hp rated supercharged power plant, this high-end PWC was obviously designed for riders who know what they’re doing. At just over 7,700 rpms it produces a max thrust of 1,585 lbs. through its 155mm jet pump. Weighing in at 1,062.8 lbs. (wet) that’s a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than 1:1 -- can anyone say F/A-18 Hornet!? Kawasaki is #3 in sales but the company is trying to change that with this new machine that has to be fast out of the blocks. And the babes will love it. And, there’s plenty that we like under the hood, and only a few things we don’t.
Supercharged and intercooled, 1,498cc, liquid-cooled in-line four-cylinder engine
Kawasaki Smart Steering (KSS) monitors steering input and engine speed and, when certain conditions are met, raises rpm to help initiate a turn
Scalloped luxury touring seat designed for enhanced long-distance comfort
Water cooling line modified to optimize the cylinder wall temperature
Lower crankcase strengthened around the oil-return passage to handle with the increased engine output and further increase durability
Two different air bypass valves are used to prevent over boosting at low and medium rpm
Inter-cooler pressure valve setting changed to improve the pressure control
4-into-2-into-1 powerboat-style exhaust system routes the exhaust pipe upwards
The new Kawasaki Ultra 260LX Jet Ski is now the most powerful PWC on the water.
What we like: An engine that is supercharged as well as intercooled means that as much oxygen as possible is being crammed into the cylinders without a turbo. This lets you maximize power and especially acceleration, in this case, from the inline four-cylinder, sixteen-valve engine.
The Ultra 260LX 260-hp has 16 valves.
Another thing to like: the Kawasaki Smart Steering (KSS). Any PWC rider knows what happens when you enter and aggressive turn, so the KSS is designed to monitor the steering input and engine speed and, when certain conditions are met, it will increase the rpm and your power output so you do not bleed off speed in the turn. How cool is that?
If you are going in harms way (aka saltwater), not a prissy little lake, you need a lot more hull under you. The 260LX measures in at just over 132 inches or 11 feet, a size we think is perfect. And note how the bottom is raised in the bow area to help handle bone-jarring chop.
This PWC has plenty of storage for both you and your honey.
Storage is another area we like, and under the forward hatch you will find the fully sealed storage area with a detachable storage tray. If you’re like us, you bring lots of stuff with you- line, extra PFD (just in case you meet someone you need to give a lift to) clothes and anything else you need for the day. There is also a console storage compartment for small items -- 53 gallons of storage in all.
The new Ultra Kawasaki 260LX Jet Ski is a powerful package with torque to spare.
The seating is also a definite “Like”, the raised scalloped backs do make a difference, especially for those who like the long ride. The width, or distance across the seat for the driver is very natural and you don’t feel like your sitting on a barrel. For the passengers, the seating narrows and helps add to a nice sense of security when maneuvering.
The adjustable handlebars also made it on our “Likes” list – although other brands offer this, Kawasaki has a system that is easy and simple with an extremely sturdy feel to it.
And what is there not to like about more fuel -- 20.6 gallons to be exact. Yes we know, more fuel means more weight, but to our way of thinking, you can never have too much fuel aboard if you are cruising in big water. If you go boating in a pond, you probably don’t need 260-hp in the first place.
Something that is more subjective, is the feel of this machine. When you open the hatch, adjust the handlebars, and latch the seat back in place, everything about it just feels solid and reassuring. As we said we can’t measure that feeling, it’s subjective, but there nevertheless.
This picture gives a better feeling of scale with the 260 in action on the water.
The 260LX has the Smart Learning Operation (SLO), a lower RPM mode like the other brands. The purpose being to limit the power output for less experienced riders. Nice idea, but in reality, since it comes with two keys, not so useful. If you’re not that experienced, start small and work your way up and keep the kids off of it – this sweet baby is not a toy.
We would like to see a dry storage (a.k.a. waterproof) area that the rider can place a cell phone, car keys and wallet someplace close to the handlebars. This is an obvious and important need.
The dash/display is small and needs more contrast to increase ease of reading the information; you can’t really see the gas gauge, easily.
Last item – the Ultra 260LX has no cruise control or throttle lock. It would be great when you are getting aggressive to not have to balance your fingers on the throttle lever.
Small back deck, but reverse foot rests when a rider is acting as a spotter when towing a wakeboard or tuber.
One of the fun things about PWCs is all of the things that can be done with these incredible little machines. For example, how about a fuel flow reading? And how about pop-up docking cleats that the rider can reach while seated, that would help when you meet your buddies and need to tie off to the raft-up?
With an MSRP of $12,299.00 it’s a pretty good price to be on the water, having a great time, and oh yes – knowing you have more HP than the guy next to you – unless he is on a 260 as well.
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 260LX (2009-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 260LX (2009-) Warranty
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 260LX (2009-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 260LX (2009-) Price
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 260LX (2009-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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