Force Motors is readying a new top-spec variant of the Gurkha. The new variant will be called the Force Gurkha Xtreme and is based on the three-door body style of the off-roader, albeit in hard-top and soft-top avatars. While this new variant may look similar to the current model on the outside, it gets major changes under its skin. The new Gurkha Xtreme will get a much-needed power bump, and the aged 85hp, 2.6-litre diesel engine will be replaced by a Mercedes-Benz OM611-derived 2.2-litre diesel unit that makes 140hp and 321Nm. This is essentially the same engine that powered the now-discontinued Force One SUV. In addition to the engine, the Gurkha will get a new gearbox too – a Mercedes-Benz G32 five-speed manual that links to the engine via a dual-mass flywheel.
Off-road gear will include a low-range transfer case but misses out on the shift-on-the-fly system. The Force Gurkha Xtreme will also come with front and rear diff-locks, like the standard Gurkhas. The suspension is set to receive an upgrade too, with a multi-link arrangement at the front in addition to the one at the rear. The front track will be wider by 40mm. The revised suspension will bring with it major improvements in approach, departure and ramp breakover angles which now stand at 44 degrees, 35 degrees and 29 degrees, respectively, compared to the Gurkha Xplorer’s 39 degrees, 27 degrees and 24 degrees. The Gurkha Xtreme has been rated with 205mm of ground clearance and a wading depth of 550mm.
When pit against arch-rival, the Mahindra Thar in our comparison test, the Gurkha came across as lacking in several areas. Now, with the more powerful engine (140hp) and a suite of upgrades, the Gurkha Xtreme could be a more challenging contender to the Mahindra.
Sources tell us that that the hardcore Gurkha will go on sale later this month. A few dealers have begun accepting bookings as well. The Gurkha Xtreme will be much more expensive than the 85hp Gurkha Explorer and could be priced in the region of Rs 14 lakh (on-road). That’s a whole lot of money for a specialist off-roader, but there is also a small but growing breed of buyers who are willing to pay big bucks for ability.
Mahindra Thar or Force Gurkha Xtreme? What would be your pick? Let us know in the comments section below.