BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

The man without fear

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.

 

“XP1K” is the latest cinematic effort from California’s Martelli Brothers, Matt and Joshua, who gained fame directing Ken Block’s dazzling “Gymkhana” series of precision-driving films.

The new film, shot at Eagle Mountain, an abandoned iron mine east of Palm Springs, California, delivers 10 breathless minutes of razor’s-edge off-roading, with nothing more than engine roar and tire rumble as its soundtrack.

After building a sprawling, skatepark-style daredevil course, the Martellis tapped professional off-roader RJ Anderson to drive a “highly modified” version of the two-seat 2014 RZR XP1000 off-road vehicle from US-based Polaris Industries. To the uninitiated, the RZR XP1000 arrives in a growing field of utility terrain vehicles, or UTVs, which are larger than motorcycle-like ATVs but nimbler than Jeep-like off-roaders. Think of the RZR as something of a post-apocalyptic Lotus Elise: feather light, impossibly nimble, supremely tail-happy.

The standard version, which in the US starts at a cool $19,999, makes use of a 107hp 1-litre two-cylinder engine and an on-demand all-wheel-drive system that powers the rear wheels until slippage is detected, when it will automatically engage the front wheels for additional traction. The vehicle pictured here achieves its aerial heroics with 190hp – more than ample for its 1,379lbs. Straight from the dealer showroom, the RZR XP1000 is not street-legal, but aftermarket pieces to make it so – including windscreens, wing mirrors, indicator lamps and number-plate brackets – are plentiful.