Intimidator vs. Intimidator 305 | Roller Coaster Showdowns
In this edition of Roller Coaster Showdowns the two NASCAR-inspired Intimidator roller coasters do battle. We’ll look at Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA) and Intimidator at Carowinds (Charlotte, NC). Ever since the announcement of the two roller coasters with their similar themes and proximity (it’s about a 5 hour drive between the two parks), the comparisons have been rampant across the Web. And I’ve been asked numerous times which roller coaster I prefer.

Intimidator @ Carowinds vs Intimidator 305 vs Kings Dominion

First, I’m going to acknowledge that they are very different types of roller coasters, similar in name and theme only. They’re both top-notch, world-class roller coasters and I rated them both as 9’s (Excellent). Read my reviews here: Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion| Intimidator at Carowinds Like my last showdown between Intimidator 305 and Millennium Force, I’m going element by element to pick a winner. Let’s see what happens.

Both of the Intimidator roller coasters have the same theme. They both have Chevy Monte Carlo-themed trains, and a Dale Earnhardt tribute plaza. I had hoped that Carowinds’ Intimidator would have a more expansive NASCAR experience as North Carolina is the birthplace of NASCAR. But the themes, signage, etc are basically the same probably to cut down on cost.
Edge: Neither (Even)

There was a loud collective groan when it was announced that Intimidator 305 was going to have over-the-shoulder harnesses which are typically reserved for looping coasters. Thankfully, the restraints are just comfy straps and they don’t limit your upper body at all. You can hold your hands up as much as you like. Although, the ride’s intense g-forces make it tough at times. Still, the restraints are more likely limit the airtime that’s present on the drop, second hill, and the smaller camel back humps.

Intimidator at Carowinds
Intimidator at Carowinds is a Bolliger & Mabillard-designed hyper coaster and as such it employs the Mercedes Benz of hyper coaster trains. The ultra comfy bucket seats are elevated allowing your feet to swing freely above the floor of the cars. And the only restraint is a clam shell-shaped lap bar that covers just enough to keep you in the car. Intimidator’s 4-across seating is staggered. There are two middle seats together in the front and the outer seats are spaced behind them. With so much freedom of movement, less impeding your view, and those lap bars, Intimidator’s trains crush Intimidator 305’s. This one’s not even close.
Edge: Intimidator

Lift Hill & The View
Intimidator 305 features a cable lift that is uncharacteristically quieter than your traditional chain lift system. They’re also pretty darn fast and unsettlingly steep as you climb 30-stories rather quickly. You seem to almost tear your way up the lift hill and before you know it, Kings Dominion’s other large lift hills look like small mounds below. There’s nothing particularly special about Intimidator’s lift hill other than Charlotte’s skyline (over your left shoulder) in the distance.
Edge: Intimidator 305

The Drop
After my 5 or so rides on Intimidator 305, I kept remarking how fun the drop was, but it didn’t seem quite as long asIntimidator 305 at Kings Dominion as I expected from my experience on Millennium Force. The drops are both 300-feet, but Intimidator’s is actually 5 degrees steeper. So, you’d imagine that it would be more intense. I hate to give credence to the crazed coaster enthusiasts out there that won’t shut up about the trims, but I do wonder if they’re the culprit here.

Meanwhile, Intimidator shorter 211′ drop was pretty darn intense; especially in the back few seats. It feels much larger than it is and as usual you can feel the rest of the train pulling you down that hill. As I said in my review of Intimidator 305, I was surprised to find that I probably prefer Intimidator’s drop.
Edge: Intimidator

The Layout & Thrills – Twisties vs. Airtime Hillies
Intimidator boasts a pretty standard hyper coaster layout for much of its ride with beautiful, airtime-packed, parabola-shaped hill after hill. With one notable exception being the second hill and its thrilling high altitude moment of airtime. But, on the other hand, Intimidator 305’s twisted transitions (or twisties as Robb Alvey dubbed them) are incredible! I love airtime as much as the next guy, but I give this one to Intimidator 305 for it’s unique elements.
Edge: Intimidator 305

How about a front seat view of both of these thrilling NASCAR-themed roller coasters? Check out these great POV videos of Intimidator at Carowinds and Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion:
Note – These videos were filmed by professionals with permission from the park.
For safety reason, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

This is a tough one as Intimidator 305 isn’t really designed for airtime in the traditional since. There are three hills that seem like they were made for airtime, but there are also reports of some riders getting some sudden moments of air during the twisties. Meanwhile, Intimidator’s layout is packed with airtime hills. This might be a somewhat unfair comparison, but I’ll give it to Intimidator.
Edge: Intimidator

I’ve devised a scoring system as some of these elements are more important than others. Each element gives the winning roller coaster 1 point except for the Layout/Thrill & Train elements which are most important. For those elements the winning coaster gets 2 points. No points were awarded for Theme as neither won that element. See the scoring table below:

Theme ParkLocationTicket Discount
CarowindsLocal Restaurants$10 to $15 off
Various theme parksAAA MembersVarious discounts
Sesame PlaceWawa Gas Stations$5 to $20 off
So, Intimidator at Carowinds is the winner! Although, again, I gave them both 9’s and Intimidator 305’s twisties are intense and a lot of fun. They just have to be experienced. But, Intimidator appears to be the better overall roller coaster in my book just as I had figured when the two were announced last Summer.

What’s Your Take?
Use the same elements I did and pick winners for each. Which comes out on top for you? Which of these two coasters do you pick? Leave a comment and choose a side in the poll below. Image 3 courtesy of CoasterImage.[poll id=”18″]

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

34 Responses

  1. Prof.BAM

    B&M wins again! Not really a surprise though. No matter what type of coaster it is, B&M is better than the company from which it separated from hands down!

    • Quil

      Hands a few inches off the table and turned slightly. I still like intamin more, and, as I said, I don't think the trains should count for two points. Maybe theme would, but the trains don't seem as important to me.

      • Brian

        agreed. maybe intimidator would have won truly "hands down" if it too were an intamin. B&M stands for Boring and Mild right?? hahaha that oughta get some people riled up

      • Markriss

        I am splitsies on the companies’ legacy/track record. B&M is reliable for a good experience all around. Intamin knows how to push limits. They screw around and change harnesses a million times and their rides break down and are less efficient in many other ways. BUT THEY PACK A PUNCH! They are higher and faster and overall meaner than the competition. El toro is a beast, Kingda Ka has a wicked launch and height (formula rossa has whiplash inducing speed), Green lantern (and others) have some crazy 4-D elements. For those who enjoy tried and true B&M is worthy of praise but for those who enjoy a company that pushes envelopes and innovates Intamin has to take the cake. I put 305 over carowinds’ offering on intensity and novelty alone. The trims did take away from it *whines a little* and then the new elements lacked the same oomph but even so the banks are enjoyable. I love airtime but for me the G-forces of a sharp bank quicken the pulse just a little more.

  2. Judy P in Pgh

    I enjoyed Intimidator, but it blends in with the Nitros, Goliaths, Apollo's Chariots, Diamondbacks, etc. All great rides, but becoming too cookie-cutter for me. I-305 wins in my book based upon it's uniqueness and intensity. Having said that, it still sits well below Millenium Forc (especially the blue train!).

  3. Frog

    I agree, Intimidator and Carowinds deserves the crown! I just don't like Intimidator 305 that much, although it is a great coaster. MF > 305!!!

  4. Alex

    I've ridden Intimidator 10 times and Intimidator 305 20 times and I have to honestly say 305 whips Intimidator's butt. For me, Intimidator is good, but not great. It lacks an adrenaline rush factor and I can carry on a conversation the whole ride and the ride isn't intense at all. Intimidator 305 on the other hand has scares me like no other coaster. The insanely quick lift hill, turns close to the ground, s-transitions, and the 75 foot airtime hill make the ride for me even with the trims. The ride is so intense and takes your breath away unlike Intimidator. Overall, Intimidator just makes it as my 12th favorite coaster and 305 is my favorite. Oh and yes, IMO 305 is better than MF.

    • The Coaster Critic

      Intimidator 305 definitely takes the cake when it comes intensity. I agree there. And I know that I'm trying to compare two pretty different roller coasters. But like I said they're both great.

      • Quil

        What about the Ride of steel clones versus the ultimate flight clones?

      • Chase

        ^ please tell me that was sarcasm those two would be pointless to compare it'd be like comparing rap music to orchestra music.

  5. Coasterluva97

    I305 gives an adrenaline rush BIG TIME!! never ridden Intimidator @ carowinds though.

  6. Mike

    Just got back from my Carowinds trip. I was surprised at the speed of the lift hill for Intimidator. It felt like it was much faster then other B&M hypers and I loved the the pull over the top of the drop. The back is definitely the best and on the 3rd and 4th hills I was counting 6 and 7 seconds of airtime!! 305 has incredible speed and intensity and Intimidator is an airtime machine. My vote goes to Intimidator at Carowinds. I just loved the airtime and it is my new favorite hyper.

  7. Miss_J

    305 hands down so much faster and unexpected twist and turns and so much higher I just love high speeds just updated the harnest tho made them like real racing seats with the soft over the shoulder harnest just like real racers wear I think that was pretty cool…

  8. Lisa W

    I-305…don’t like it. Browned out on the curve/next hill after the first big drop, spent the rest of the time on the ride trying to recover. To me, that’s not fun. I wasn’t the only one who browned out, the 3 other people with me felt the same thing. I rode it twice just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it…I wasn’t. Just rode Intimidator at Carowinds last month (April) for the first time. I was almost afraid to ride it after my I-305 experience. I’m glad I did…terrific coaster!! Just fun all the way around and love the lap restraint, airtime galore! I rode it 2 more times before we left the park that day. Most definetely the best of the 2 coasters.

    • Trevor

      I beleive its called a blackout or greyout, not brownout, that just sounds like you had an accident in your pants. lol

  9. Brandon Baca

    This ride is the most awesomest ride i have ever been on since two years ago!!!! I really had a lot of fun on the ride man.!

  10. DRU

    WOW! I305 is the most intense ride i've ever been on. Haven't tried the Intimidator yet, but 305 was insane. Just rode it today for the first time 6/16/11. No "grey out" but a bit dizzy and tingly afterwords. So fast, best turns and chicanes, words can't explain it… GO!

  11. Al

    I-305. I just love the speed and intensity, and the tremendous amount airtime on the first drop and second hill. The twisties are insane, I really like the way they throw you around. It gives a whole lot of adrenaline, which is what I really like about coasters. Intimidator at Carowinds is just okay, but it's just too mellow for me, and it doesn't really give adrenaline. So my vote goes to I-305.

  12. Jack

    I like B&M hyper coasters better than any others so i pick Intimidator @ Carowinds

  13. Mark

    I went on Intimidator a few weeks ago. I rode I-305 in its first year, with the trims on the drop and the staps.

    I liked I-305 much more than Intimidator.

    The high point of Intimidator is the turn at the hill after the first drop (which seems to tip you over into the parking lot).

    I thought Diamondback had better airtime. Raging Bull had the best first drop of any B&M hyper I've been on, although the rest of the ride was too trimmed. Apollo has the best setting, not just of any hyper but probably of any coaster I've been on. Goliath in Georgia had more punch to it. I haven't been on Nitro or Behemoth.

    305's drop was much better than Intimidator (for me). Much more airtime and dropping sensation.

    I couldn't care less about the theming, as I don't think car racing will last beyond gasoline rationing, whenever that starts.

    Neither 305 nor Intimidator has a spectacular setting. Millennium Force has a better setting than 305, but I still like the 305 ride more (although MF is a great ride).

    B&M hypers have the best restraint of any coaster train. It would be nice if they were used on a Skyrush type ride … after Skyrush, the airtime on Intimidator seems modest in comparison.

    The best airtime on any B&M ride I've been on was Griffin. The first drop on Griffin is amazing.

    I also greatly enjoyed Afterburn, it was forceful (unlike Silver Bullet and Talon). It made me want to try Montu even more (I've never ridden that).

    The rest of the coasters at Carowinds ranged from OK to "one and done."

    I hope Cedar Fair invests in more shades for the Intimidator queue, especially on the stairs leading to the station and the brake run where stacked trains wait for the station to clear.

  14. eric

    Intimidator is better because the middle hills are no sleepers. The second hill and the steepness up the lift make this superior.

  15. Joshua hall

    Well done ! Intimator 305 even know Pepsi max big one should have been in it and therefor won!

  16. ethan

    Intimidator @ Carowinds. Partially because it is at my home park and partially because it has much more airtime. I305 may be more intense, but most of the ride is just a bunch of twist and turns. There is maybe ONE or two good airtime moments but I305 is more about speed. Intimidator is more about airtime. I don’t even care if it has ejector airtime or not, Intimidator is fun and floaty.


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