2016 Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Review

A fun and playful PWC

You won’t miss Sea-Doo’s GTI SE 155. Closer inspection reveals plenty of standout features, but without doubt the first thing to catch your eye is color. The GTI SE 155 is bathed in a brilliant, summery blue, a color that practically screams fun. Sure, it may not be for everyone, and yes it risks being one of those trendy tones that stands out years down the road. But at a time when bright and even neon shades seemingly color everything, that eye-popping “Maldives Blue” fits right in.

And offers a not-so-subtle hint of the fun that lies within.

Fun…In The Sun

While often mistakenly categorized as Sea-Doo’s entry-level boats, the GTI series is more accurately a line that puts the emphasis on fun. It starts right at the hull. Rather than the deep-Vs and full-length strakes found in the GTX hull designs, the GTI’s feature a shallower, more playful 16-degree deadrise that gives the boats a slightly looser, old-school feel to their handling. Flick the SE 155 into a turn and, if you weight it right, you can feel a little of that slide we used to play with back in the early days of sitdown craft. But unlike those early models, it’s not an unavoidable characteristic. Change up your weight in the saddle and footwells and you can slice through that same turn with no such slippery feeling. Enhance the manners in either direction with the SE model’s Variable Trim System, which lets you plant more of the bow in the water for more aggressive handling or angle it upwards to enhance the hull’s playful side.

2016 Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Beauty
Dressed in Maldives Blue, the GTI SE 155 will not go unnoticed at the boat launch.

The ergonomics above the waterline match the hull’s personality. Sea-Doo redesigned the GTI models several years back to not only look far more upscale, but also become more in tune with the rider. Look closely at the footwells; they’re canted inward to take pressure off the knees, and their lack of abrupt angles from front-to-back are designed so that a rider’s foot is always in full contact. The SE edition’s touring saddle curves inward around the driver’s legs to promote a more natural riding position and transfer some of the force of turns from the upper body to those stronger leg muscles. It also features a defined tier to raise passengers above the driver, along with a generous bolster for the driver and a more subtle bolster aft for the last passenger.

The GTI SE 155 adds additional features to the information display, including a useful fuel consumption calculator (both instant and average) and clock. A feature unique to 2016 models is a new grip style with a generous palm rest. SE models also get attractive swim platform mats, which include the Sea-Doo logo as well as a fold-down reboarding step.

Behind The Scenes

What truly stands out, however, are the many features that aren’t that visible at first glance. Like iBR. Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) changed the industry by enabling a personal watercraft to start in a neutral mode, be switched between forward and reverse effortlessly and with eyes on the water, and to rapidly decelerate from speed when necessary. The key is an electronic brain behind the scenes that links the iBR lever on the left side of the handlebar to the reverse bucket. It directs that bucket to redirect thrust to mimic neutral, deflect it more to initiate reverse, drop it fully into the water to provide braking power, or simply get out of the way in forward. To the driver it provides impeccable control, especially in tight quarters that used to give novice riders fits, like docking at a crowded marina or pulling in and out of the launch ramp.

2016 Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Action Cornering
iBR gives Sea-Doo pilots more control in tight confines and the ability to slow down a craft much more quickly.

iBR enters its second generation for 2016, and the differences are notable. There’s less lag in shifting between forward, neutral and reverse, and the new three-piece bucket design also seems to keep the bow from plowing during hard braking.

Additional electronic control comes in the form of acceleration profiles. With the push of a button, riders can select the tamer power delivery of Touring mode, the full aggressive acceleration of Sport mode, or the best fuel economy of ECO mode. Additional speed governing is also possible through a second digitally encoded security lanyard.

Performance Punch

As to the power below that pushes the GTI SE 155 to all this fun, it’s the same familiar 1,494cc Rotax that has become the versatile workhorse of the Sea-Doo line. For GTI models it does not feature a supercharger or intercooler, an omission that saves plenty of money off the price tag and at the gas pump (where you can happily opt for 87-octane without worry). Still, in the 155 variation it packs more than enough punch for the tasks at hand. There’s plenty of torque to pull a skier, tuber, or wakeboarder out of the water, or just put a grin on your mug when you feel like playing Joe Racer for the afternoon with your buddies. Expect a top speed of about 58 mph in everyday conditions.

2016 Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Action Right
Despite its lack of a supercharger, the naturally aspirated 1,494cc, three-cylinder engine can propel the GTI SE 155 up to 58 mph.

Final thoughts? Yes, it’s hard to miss that bold, in-your-face blue. It alone will be worth the price of admission for many. But it’s the GTI SE 155’s abundance of features that make this craft truly special.

2016 Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Specs
Length 132.6 inches
Beam 48.5 inches
Curb Weight 790 lbs
Engine Naturally Aspirated Three-cylinder
Displacement 1,494 cc
Bore and Stroke 100 mm x 63.4 mm
Compression Ratio 10.6:1
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 30.8 gal.
Colors Maldives Blue & White
Price $10,999