42099 4x4 X-Treme Off-Roader is the first Technic set to make use of LEGO's new technology platform Powered Up, which is the replacement for the decade-old Power Functions system.
Essentially, the system consists of a hub into which motors and sensors are connected, and an app to control them, via Bluetooth, that runs on a smartphone, tablet and, in some cases, a PC.
Technic's long-awaited implementation of the platform is called Control+, which introduces a new hub, two new motors and a new app.
So, 42099 4x4 X-Treme Off-Roader is thus a vehicle which is remotely controlled from your phone. Let's take it for a spin...
Box and contents
It's actually a relatively small box for such an expensive set (£199 / $249.99 / 229.99€), and that's because, other than the huge wheels and tyres, there isn't a lot in it.
Its 950-odd Technic parts are packed in bags numbered 1 to 3, while the Powered Up components are packed in their own small box.
The 220-page instruction manual contains 337 building steps, and there's also an extensive sticker sheet.
As this is the first set in which the new electronic parts have appeared it's worth taking a closer look at them.
The Control+ hub (6142536) is 9 units wide, 9 units long and just under 4 high. It has four input/output ports, two on each side, a green on/off button on the top, and a LED light on the end. Inside there are 6 sensors: 3 gyro and 3 accelerometers.
The bottom comes off by squeezing two clips to access the battery box. It takes 6 AAs and the way it's been designed perhaps signals that a rechargeable battery pack will be forthcoming in the future.
The larger of the two motors (6214088) is 5x5x7 and is furnished with a multitude of connection points which enable it to be used as a structural part of models if needed.
The smaller motor (6214085) is 3x3x7 but has protrusions on the top and bottom. Again, there are plenty of holes in it to secure it firmly in the model.
The new motors are capable of producing a lot of torque and we were told at the fan media days in May that a new joint was needed to be able to handle it. This consists of two pieces, one with an axle, the other with an axle hole. They clip together firmly and feel very robust although the range of angular movement possible is not as great as that of the older universal joint. The light grey part is element number 6262966. The dark grey part is not included in the inventory at the back of the instructions for some reason.
A new wheel connector (6275902) has been introduced which contains a planetary gear system to reduce speed and increase torque. The gear ratio is somehere between 1:5 and 1:6. It's connected to an axle using the light grey half of the new joint.
Cable management has always been a problem in Technic models so it's good to see a solution in the form of these cable clips. There's also a red one in the set: the colours are used to identify the cables.
Their element numbers are 6278194 (white), 6263067 (red) and 6263071 (blue).
Construction begins with the front axle assembly. The front wheels are powered, steer (of course) and have suspension. It's a very compact subassembly, so is thus extremely complicated.
The rear axle assembly, is a little less complex but still very dense. The two turntables on either end of the front axle and its motors allow it to rotate independently and tackle rough terrain, as you'll see below.
Here you can see the motors and hub in the chassis. The two large ones power the front and rear axles, while the smaller one in the middle handles the steering.
The hub can be removed with a minium of fuss to change the batteries.
The bodywork is built as a separate subassembly which will allow you to get creative and build alternate ones, perhaps in a different colour, should you wish to.
It's covered in stickers although I think it would look OK without them. I probably wouldn't have applied them if I wasn't photographing it for this review.
Some of the vehicle's 'sponsors' are quite amusing: Accele Rate, Indi Kator, Firm Gripp, Mani Fold, Car Buretor and EN Gyne!
The completed model
A pin at the front and two axles on the sides are all that are used to hold the bodywork to the chassis which therefore allows easy access to the hub.
I'll let you admire the completed model from all angles...
The rotating front axle allows the vehicle to tackle some rough ground, such as these 8cm tall squashy bricks. With a ramp leading up to them it would have no trouble driving over them.
Please continue to part two of the review to learn how to operate the vehicle and to read my verdict of the set.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.