Mumbai: Force has launched a new top of the line variant of its apex off-roader, the Gurkha, at Rs 12.99 lakh (ex-showroom). Called the Gurkha Xtreme, it comes with a Mercedes-sourced 2.2-litre OM611 engine that has powered the company’s RFC winning Gurkhas since 2014. The engine makes 140PS of max power and 321Nm of peak torque which is 55PS and 91Nm more than the 2.6-litre engine that powers other Gurkha variants. The engine comes with a dual-mass flywheel to lower NVH levels and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox that drives the rear wheel when not in off-road mode.
The Gurkha is probably the most serious made-in-India off-roader on the market today. It is a 3-door SUV built on a C in C ladder frame. And apart from the German-sourced engine, it also gets a new transfer case and a rigid live axle at the front. In addition, it also gets a locking differential on both axles, whereas its chief rival, the Mahindra Thar gets a rear locking differential only. The suspension gets a multi-link setup with the pan-hard rod, anti-roll bar and coil springs at both front and rear.
According to Force, this helps the Xtreme handle better on the tarmac as well. It even gets a snorkel mounted as stock to increase water wading depth. The steering is a recirculating ball type unit rather than a traditional rack & pinion setup. Its off-roading prowess is only complemented by approach and departure angles of 44 and 40 degrees respectively which are 39 degrees and 27 degrees more than the Xplorer’s, respectively. The track is wider by 40mm too.
The cabin is rather bare but functional. You get a mode selector that can switch between driving modes namely, 2ED, 4X4 high and 4x4 low. Though the Xtreme is rather short, it can theoretically seat six passengers, thanks to the jump seats that occupy the middle rather than a conventional bench seating.
Though a bit expensive compared to its chief rival, the Mahindra Thar, it packs a lot more tech and off-road features like a front diff and a stock snorkel, which should make the Gurkha a viable option for true-blue offroading enthusiasts.