Forget Glastonbury: this off-road buggy is the most fun you can have in the mud

Side-by-side is the new four-by-four

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

Erm, is someone struggling with the alphabet?

Ignore the massively ridiculous naming convention; Yamaha's YXZ1000R SS off-road machine looks like it could be the biggest giggle since Guy Goma accidentally ended up on BBC News.

Our American readers will probably be familiar with ROVs - or Recreational Off-highway Vehicles - but for baffled Brits, it's basically a ridiculously powerful off-road go-kart with a roll cage and a passenger seat that's located next to the driver. They can also be labelled SxS, or side-by-side vehicles. Confused much?

Yes. So what's all the fuss about here?

Yammy's new YXZ1000R SS is the first of its kind to feature a racing-style paddle-shift gearbox, meaning owners can now plough up and down the gears like an F1 driver as they hysterically tear through a field at mind-boggling speeds. Last year's YXZ1000R apparently opened up a whole new supersport category in the ROV world and this latest iteration has gone one step further.

What powers it?

Underneath the rugged exterior sits a 998cc, three-cylinder engine that has been specially developed to handle dirty and dusty conditions. But this isn't some piece of farmyard machinery. It also features clever On Command two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive differential lock selector switches, bespoke Yamaha suspension and launch control.

Did you just say "launch control"?

Yes. It's called Launch System and it works like this: pull both gear paddles towards you, depress the footbrake and mash the throttle. As soon as the brake is released, the clutch is automatically engaged and the raging ROV will propel towards the horizon like a spooked horse. A further feature of the new-fangled gear system is that it will allow full throttle upshifting while powering ahead.

It looks like a very easy way to die, don't you think?

Don't be silly; there are loads of safety functions that have got your back. A special engine braking system will kick in to help prevent coasting on descents, there's a warning buzzer if you accidentally pop it in reverse and, erm, the Launch System won't work if you don't have your seatbelt on.

Madness. How much does it cost?

It's an American thing, so you might have to convince your local Yamaha dealer to ship one over and expect to pay around US$22,400 for the privilege. Oh, and it's most definitely not road worthy, so don't go selling the family Nissan Altima just yet.