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It’s a fact that people with relatively big budgets often buy personal watercraft with comparatively small price tags. It’s the reason you see various manufacturer’s so-called introductory models now sporting nicer paint jobs or packaged with better amenities. Sea-Doo takes this theory to perhaps its absolute limit with the GTI Limited 155.
Does it work? Read on.
Lap Of Luxury
We’ll cut right to the chase on what differentiates a “limited” model from the rest of the GTI line. For starters, this boat gets the 155hp version of the versatile Rotax 4-TEC found throughout the line. No, manufacturers aren’t really saying horsepower numbers anymore for 2012, but hey, it’s right there in the name. That gives this boat a better power delivery than its 130hp siblings, allowing it to reach a top speed just shy of 60 mph (58 in my personal testing), and deliver stronger acceleration out of the hole. Use it to more effectively pull skiers and wakeboarders out of the hole or to just claim bragging rights with your buddies. Also use it to give yourself some growing room. As skills improve, riders may find they may outgrow lesser horsepower.
Next on the list is electric trim, the high-performance, variable trim system found on higher-end models. Its key feature is that it allows the user to present different running angles, then switch between them with a no-look, double-tap of the button. Drop the bow for acceleration, then raise it for speed. It’s fast to respond, and trim position is indicated on the info display.
Third on the hit list? Cruise control. Fast becoming a must on any “touring” model, it locks in speeds for those extended cruises, and eliminates the pressure on your throttle finger. Cruise also keeps speeds far more consistent for towing. Once speeds are set, riders simply squeeze the throttle fully. Release the lever and the system disengages.
And then of course there are all the goodies Sea-Doo piles on to its Limited models. A few more parts are covered in chrome, and the gauge package gets additions like time/distance to empty (valuable info) and altitude (not so much). Most welcome is the bolstered touring seat. It makes riding far more comfortable thanks to the added back support. Also added in are a removable dry bag, sandbag anchor, safety kit, ski tow-eye, and custom cover to keep everything from that saddle to the deck in pristine shape.
Of course, the biggest luxury items are already standard issue. Last year’s GTI makeover gave the GTI models Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR), Sea-Doo’s proprietary system that used a pump-mounted bucket to redirect water flow from the jet nozzle. It allows the boat to mimic neutral at startup (eliminating all that bumping into docks or launch ramps that plague newcomers), and then be shifted into forward or reverse via a handlebar lever that allows eyes to stay on the water. The level of low-speed control is impressive, and the learning curve is ridiculously short. iBR also allows the boat to brake on the water by redirecting that thrust forward to provide a rapid slow-down when faced with an obstacle. At 30 mph, I noted it reduced stopping distance by as much as 100’.
The same computer brain that keeps that brake from applying too abruptly also allows for throttle control options. Users can select between two separate acceleration profiles at startup. Touring mode keeps things slightly tamer. Sport mode gives the user access to the full power curve. A third mode, ECO, allows the computer to determine the most fuel-efficient speed so you can go green, and save some paper of the same hue.
Don’t Forget The Ride
That’s a lot of features, but ultimately the ride is what is most important. And though Sea-Doo has given the GTI series an attractive, upscale makeover, the hull below is only slightly changed from the previous GTI series. It’s a shallow 16-degree deadrise, giving the boat its familiar looser and playful feel that differentiates the line from the “carve-like-their-on-rails” feel of most of today’s PWC. Still, it tracks with precision when required. Play with your body weight and position to find both personalities.
And speaking of that body position, it’s improved up top. A clever footwell design eliminates abrupt angles and has footwells flowing in a smooth, continuous arc. The idea? Your feet will always be in full contact. Those footwells also cant inward in order to take pressure off your knees, a benefit seated or standing, and the seat narrows for a more comfortable position. The addition of tilt steering, however, would improve things more. Without it, the current setup can feel low for taller riders when standing, forcing them to bend over a little more than is comfortable.
Is this the boat for you? Limiteds always raise the question of whether what they offer as a package is worth the premium in price. Buyers could arguably get more for less if they had the savings to spend on items of their choosing rather than what a manufacturer packages together for them. Much of the same boat also exists in the GTI SE 155, a boat that also features the same engine and a touring-style saddle of its own. If cruise control, the high-performance trim, and the additional gauge functions are important to you, or if you just like the upscale color scheme, your choice is probably obvious.
If not, you won’t have to look far for another model that may catch your eye…
Related Reading2012 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Review2012 Sea-Doo GTX S 155 Review2012 Sea-Doo GTR 215 Review
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