Power play: Test driving the Sea Doo GTX Limited
by Chris Jefferies
As the wind picks up off the coast of Paphos to a brisk ten knots, most fair-weather adrenaline junkies would be making their excuses and calling it a day, but the Sea Doo GTX Limited is just starting to come into its own. Boasting a redesigned deep-vee hull with a 22-degree deadrise and a considerably lower centre of gravity, this 3.45 metre personal watercraft has more than sufficient performance and stability to deal with a bit of unexpected chop.
A quick glance is enough to tell you that this premium model from Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) is an ideal superyacht water toy, with its 2,400 square centimetre teak-effect bathing platform and dynamic, angular styling. This high-end quality continues throughout, with a Bluetooth-compatible audio system, eight-inch speakers, shockproof and waterproof USB phone charger compartment and a fold-out bathing ladder for easier re-boarding — all of which proved invaluable on our blustery Cypriot test drive.
As we head out beyond the breakwater protecting Coral Bay, the shallow draft of the Sea Doo range promises to come in handy as the hulking wreck of the 66 metre cargo ship Demetrios II hoves into view. Despite its 272kg weight, the GTX Limited is able to deftly navigate the jagged coral surrounding this shipwreck dive site, giving us an unforgettable close-up of the rusting steel.
Heading downwind, we are finally able to unleash the full power of the 300hp Rotax 1630 ACE engine — the most powerful option in the Sea Doo collection. The combination of launch control and sport mode ensures suitably thrilling acceleration to the top speed of 35 knots, which is reached easily, even for a rookie riding in testing conditions. The lowered riding position and grippy hull is reassuringly stable, with no slamming or rolling, no matter what Mother Nature throws up.
There are a dozen more models in the highly comprehensive Sea Doo range waiting on the dock, so we only have enough time for an hour on board the GTX Limited, but it is easy to imagine spending a whole day exploring remote shores or heading off in search of remarkable marine life. BRP certainly had this in mind when developing the LinQ system, which allows a range of extras to be effortlessly attached to the swim platform, from a 16 litre cool box to a 15 litre supplementary fuel tank and a 21 litre dry storage locker.
Even without these add-ons, the built-in storage is exceptional, both in size (102 litres) and accessibility, thanks to the lightweight handlebars, which can hydraulically hinge forwards to reveal the dividable void beneath.
What’s more, a clever modular seating system allows the Sea Doo GTX Limited to be easily transformed into a living room on the water, with a reconfigurable rear seat that means both rider and passenger can enjoy a light lunch while seated. Alternatively, if flat-out performance is the order of the day, the rear seat can be removed altogether to reduce the overall weight.
BRP has been working to improve the image of personal watercraft riders for the past seven years, with quieter engines and a greater emphasis on environmental responsibility, and this all comes together in the GTX Limited — a Sea Doo that is equal parts luxury family cruiser and exhilarating speed machine.