2012 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 Review

Top of the PWC food chain with a price tag to match

Story by Jeff Hemmel, Photography by BRP, Jun. 19, 2012
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Some people just have to have the best of everything. And thankfully for them, Sea-Doo offers a best-of-everything PWC, the GTX Limited iS 260.

Latest and Greatest

The GTX Limited iS 260 brings together the ultimate combination of Sea-Doo’s latest and greatest technologies.

One of those is found in the iS portion of the name, Intelligent Suspension. In essence, intelligent suspension splits the craft into two pieces, the lower hull that makes contact with the water and the upper rider interface, consisting of the saddle, handlebars, and footwells. The two are linked via a twin-arm suspension, which uses a shock absorber and central spring to cushion the movement between the two. Total travel between the two components is about 6”. Cross a wake or head into the waves and the upper portion moves up and down within the hull. The iControl computer calculates the level of shock absorption based on the passenger weight when the craft is started. A manual override allows the driver to increase or lessen the stiffness to match their preference.

2012 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 Suspension

It’s a pricey, high-tech add-on, but it does work. Suspension softens the blows of rough-water, as well as takes the jolt out of wake crossings. Passengers may appreciate the system the most, as they often can’t get their legs under them to absorb shock, nor always have a clear view forward to anticipate waves.

The other big component is Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Brake and Reverse system. Using a modification to the reverse bucket system, braking works by stopping thrust for a fraction of a second, lowering the bucket to divert water flow, then reapplying throttle, again all controlled by the craft’s computer brain. The redirected thrust is used to rapidly slow the craft in a far shorter distance than a craft without the system. A rider can modulate the severity of the action, while the computer prevents so much thrust from being applied that a driver could bury the bow and be pitched over the handlebars.

2012 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 iBR Lever

Stopping action is a plus, certainly, but so too is another benefit of the system, the ability to start in a neutral mode at the dock. From that controlled position, the driver can then squeeze the port-grip-mounted reverse lever to back up, or squeeze the throttle to move forward. It gives the craft a superior level of control, especially in tight confines like a launch ramp or marina.

One final bit of tech wizardry is electronic throttle. It enables the craft to have cruise control, a bonus on extended trips, as well as a no-wake mode. Both alleviate, or even eliminate pressure on the throttle. Electronic throttle also lets Sea-Doo offer differing acceleration modes, a Touring mode that offers a gentler response, a Sport mode that gives the driver all the engine’s potential, and an ECO mode that delivers the best fuel economy.

Still a PWC...

That’s a lot to offer, but the basic fun factor still comes from performance and handling. The GTX uses a stepped design for performance that also delivers exceptional rough-water handling. It’s also suprisingly agile and quick, making the craft fun in virtually any water conditions. High-performance variable trim further enhances those manners, quickly dropping the bow for acceleration and cornering or raising it for best top speed.

2012 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 Action Left

The power within is hinted at by the name, a 260 hp version of Sea-Doo’s familiar 1,494cc Rotax that is equipped with a supercharger and intercooler to exploit the engine to the max. Expect quick response in Sport mode and a top speed electronically governed to 67 mph.

2012 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 Handlebar Gauges

Features abound, including tilt handlebars (the guage display tilts with them, a nice touch), a seat that raises on a pneumatic strut (rather than need to be removed from maintenance checks), and Sea-Doo’s familiar theft-prevention lanyard system; a second lanyard can be substituted to dramatically tame engine response. The Limited designation brings in even more extras, like a cool retractable dock line fore and aft, depthfinder, and accessories like a custom cover, glovebox organizer, dry bag storage, safety kit, etc. The latter items are nice, but the natural argument is always that customers could choose their own items from their dealer or marine outlet for less.

One obvious negative on such a well-equipped craft is storage. The suspension design limits capacity, meaning you’ll only get 16 gallons of space. That’s enough for the basics, but forget really loading up the craft.

You Know If You’re A Customer

So who buys a Limited? I’m guessing you already know if you’re the answer. It’s that whole “he who dies with the most toys wins” philosophy.

2012 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 Action

But don’t overlook that the GTX Limited iS 260 is also a darn good all-around watercraft. It handles with a spirited personality, it’s got power aplenty, and it delivers a soft comfortable ride.

You can get all those things for a lot less money, certainly. But those “most toys” types probably don’t care about such practical matters.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260 Specs
Length 139.2 inches
Beam 48.2 inches
Dry Weight 980 lbs
Engine Three-cylinder EFI, Supercharged/Intercooled
Displacement 1,494 cc
Bore and Stroke 100 mm x 63.4 mm
Compression Ratio 8.4:1
Fuel Capacity 18.6 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 16.4 gal.
Colors Pearl White
Price $16,899

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