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Rotax 900 ACE Turbo engine: My first impressions

After more than two or three years of rumors circulating within the snowmobile world, Ski-Doo finally presents the turbocharged version of the Rotax 900 ACE. Yes, for 2019, the stars have finally aligned and we can see a new 4-stroke engine to dethrone the aging 1200 4-TEC. In addition, the 900 ACE Turbo is the first turbocharged engine ever offered as standard by Ski-Doo. That’s a lot!

Why the 900 ACE Turbo?

The question is legitimate… Why a 900 ACE Turbo and not a 1200 Turbo? First of all, the 900 ACE Turbo is already used in other types of BRP vehicles. Just think of the powerful side-by-side Maverick X3 with the same engine and currently the industry’s most powerful quad with 172 horsepower. This engine is therefore already available and has proven its worth. For the manufacturer, this is very advantageous since it saves them from developing a new engine.

Another fact that is in favors of the 900 ACE Turbo is that it is small enough to be inserted inside a new and wider adaptation of the fourth generation REV platform (GEN4). So we can benefit from the versatility offered by the platform and the 150 HP developed by the engine. So we win on both sides, at least on paper…


Now, the question is, how does this platform/engine combination behave on the trails?

I will try to answer this question since I had the chance to try it a few weeks ago.

  Rotax 900 ACE Turbo - Moteur Engine Ski-Doo Motoneige Snowmobile

Rotax 900 ACE Turbo engine diagram

My first impressions on the 900 ACE Turbo

When I sat down on the snowmobile equipped with this engine and started it, I immediately noticed the race sound, but while remaining more restrained than other models from the competition. When you drive, the sound is great and when you release the throttle and the blow-off valve is activated, you only want to press the throttle again and again.

When the engine is idling, there is almost no vibration. Even at low, medium and high speeds, there is no vibration coming from the engine. This makes driving a snowmobile equipped with the 900 ACE Turbo engine very pleasant.

Rotax 900 ACE Turbo - Moteur Engine Ski-Doo Motoneige Snowmobile
Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo 2019

As soon as the throttle is pressed, the engine responds with energy and almost instantly. Indeed, the response time is barely noticeable. You can feel the power of this 150 HP engine mainly at low and medium RPM. The accelerations are quick and muscular. I would even say that they may be too quick in “Sport” mode when you negotiate very winding trails in a more aggressive way. Indeed, I found the engine very “Jumpy” which had the effect of lifting the front of the snowmobile in tight turns and decrease the traction of the skis. The “Normal” mode is then to privilege and I think, this mode is much more adapted to take a series of tight and successive curves. In all other situations, I prefer the “Sport” mode.

Here, I must specify that the engine develops 150 HP and that we should not expect the performance of a 200 HP engine. It is less powerful than an 850 E-TEC motor (+/- 165 HP), but certainly more powerful than a 1200 4-TEC (+/- 130 HP).

That being said, an engine’s success depends, among other things, on the way it delivers its power. I think the people at Ski-Doo have done their homework for that. We have an engine that offers quick and sustained accelerations over its entire power range, an almost instantaneous response and a very good acceleration after a curve. Above all, it puts a beautiful smile on the snowmobiler face.

Why 150 HP and no more?

Over the past few weeks, lots of people ask me this question. I invite you to read the article that explains the reasons and that was recently published on SledMagazine.com: Rotax 900 ACE Turbo Engine: Why 150 HP and not more?


Rotax 900 ACE Turbo - Moteur Engine Ski-Doo Motoneige Snowmobile
Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo 2019

Combination Gen4 platform and 900 ACE Turbo engine

The combination of the 900 ACE Turbo engine into the Gen4 platform is very good. Even though the engine is heavier than the 850 E-TEC, you don’t feel it as much as you might have thought. The snowmobile combining the Gen4 platform and the 900 ACE Turbo is easy to handle and is versatile, regardless of the type of driving, trails or weather conditions.

The snowmobile is well balanced which allows the rider to immediately feel confident. It remains predictable in curves or in bumpy trails. We don’t fight to have control of our sled, which makes our rides even more enjoyable.

Rotax 900 ACE Turbo - Moteur Engine Ski-Doo Motoneige Snowmobile
Ski-Doo Grand Touring 900 ACE Turbo 2019

The clutch system is very smooth and efficient. Even during sudden starts, power is efficiently transmitted to the track. Everything is smooth.


I want to mention that the 900 ACE Turbo snowmobiles I had the chance to try were prototypes. These tests took place over a short period of time so my comments above summarize my first impressions. As you can imagine, I can’t wait to be able to push my tests further and especially to be able to give you more details


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