The U.S. military's workhorse, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee), is getting up there in age. A replacement is planned for the 1970s-designed vehicle, but until then, Banks Engineering has a few ideas that would bring the Humvee more up to date. To find out if the Banks Power Sidewinder is a viable solution, host Jonny Lieberman compares a standard Humvee with the Banks-tuned version on this episode of Head 2 Head.
Lieberman begins with a bit of history on the vehicles that might have replaced the Jeep as the U.S. military's light vehicle of choice, including the Lamborghini LM002. After having some fun in that V-12-powered sport 'ute, the host introduces the vehicle that did win the government contract: the AM General Humvee. When the Humvee was first deployed in 1984, its 190-hp, 355-lb-ft 6.5-liter turbodiesel V-8 might have been enough. But with modern examples now weighed down by armor to 14,300 pounds, what was a slow vehicle to begin with is now even slower. Founder of Banks Engineering and renowned diesel tuner Gale Banks goes over with Jonny the improvements he proposes should be made to extend the Humvee's service life. The Banks Power Sidewinder M1116 makes 255 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque thanks to turbocharger upgrades and other modifications, but more importantly the suspension has been tweaked for comfort and stability. The Banks-modified Humvee also gets an onboard diagnostics system, which would allow the vehicles to report any mechanical issues when in the field.
Lieberman starts at our usual test facility, but is forced to run acceleration tests in the parking lot because the management is afraid the Humvees might damage the track with their substantial weight. Hilariously, the standard Humvee completes the quarter-mile (25.0 seconds at 52 mph) well before it reaches 60 mph (36.5 seconds). The Banks Sidewinder manages to reach 60 mph in 21 seconds just before hitting the quarter-mile mark at 21.6 seconds. Braking from 60-0 mph takes around 200 feet for both vehicles, and Lieberman discovers that there is a vehicle that shouldn't be allowed on the figure-eight course. Eventually, the two vehicles are evaluated for their intended purpose: off-road driving. Check out the episode below to see if the Banks Sidewinder is the superior Humvee.