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Engine: Three-cylinder 1,630cc
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 42.8 gal.
Seating Capacity: 3
MSRP: Starting at $15,999
Sea-Doo has long had a “limited” model designation in its lineup; a craft that typically features amenities beyond the norm and a decidedly upscale choice of colors and graphics to separate it, and by extension its owner, from the pack. Last year the company added yet another limited feature to that list — horsepower. Rather than stay a notch below its performance models, BRP gave the 2017 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 the company’s latest, most powerful engine, along with ergonomic features borrowed from the RXP-X musclecraft.
A luxury model that turns and burns? A gentleman’s hot rod? No matter how you spin it, the 2017 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 is a craft that stands out.
At an even 300hp, the 1630 ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) engine is the highest horsepower the brand has yet offered, and in fact the largest engine Rotax has ever produced. Displacement measures in at 1630.5cc, accomplished by maintaining the bore but lengthening the stroke of the previous 1,494cc design. Efficiency is improved overall. A plasma coating has replaced steel cylinder sleeves, improving heat transfer and lightening weight. Cooling capacity increased by a third. The supercharger, with double the blades of the former design, offers 30% more boost and is now maintenance-free. The intercooler is claimed to be 2.2 times more efficient than the previous design. And that’s just the quick highlight reel.
What that technobabble means to the consumer is that, for starters, the engine is still fast. Speed may be electronically limited to 67 mph in the 2017 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300, but aftermarket companies have revealed the 1630 ACE has got far more potential. What is most noticeable in stock form, however, is the way that power comes on, particularly in the midrange. A longer stroke means more torque. Any instance where the former engine might have hesitated – like powering out of a particularly tight turn or encountering boat wakes – is now gone. Squeeze the throttle and you’re rewarded instantly, whatever the situation.
Control of that power is still possible through Sea-Doo’s familiar acceleration profiles. Choose the default Touring mode for normal use or lengthy cruising, and opt for Sport mode when you really want to cut loose with far more brutal acceleration. An ECO mode is also available to pick the most fuel-efficient delivery, great if you should find yourself a little far from that next gas stop.
As to any questions about how the hull handles the newfound power, this is still the GTX, a deep-V design that confidently makes its way across rough water and reveals excellent agility in calmer conditions. Enhance the response with the Limited’s high-performance electric trim, complete with two available presets to quickly jump to your favorite positions.
Brutal power under the saddle may not scream “luxury” to some buyers, but the rest of the features on the 2017 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 certainly do. The big change in ’16 was the adoption of the ErgoLock saddle. With a notably slimmer waist, the hourglass-shaped saddle keeps a rider’s thighs from being pushed uncomfortably wide, while simultaneously inviting them to grasp the seat between their thighs. This provides more control in rough water, as well as in aggressive turns, where some of the strain can be transferred from the weaker upper body muscles to the stronger lower body. The tiered design also features welcome back support for not just driver but each passenger, as well as a better view forward for all. While the Limited does not get the rest of the ErgoLock package, it does have tilt steering. Four positions are possible to tailor the handlebar angle to the rider.
The rest of the “limited” amenities include mostly practical items. Most useful are the cover (a custom limited-only design of course), safety kit, removable dry bag, and retractable docking lines; the first three you’d most likely want to buy anyway. Other additions include a glovebox organizer, additional gauge functions (depth, time/distance to empty, altitude, and water temperature), and the Limited color scheme; for ’17 the same upscale Jet Black Metallic and Deep Pewter Satin featured in 2016.
Of course, some of Sea-Doo’s standard features are already impressive. Intelligent Brake and Reverse offers handlebar-lever control of forward, neutral and reverse settings, allowing the boat to start stationary and braking power to be applied at speed for rapid deceleration. There’s also cruise control, no wake mode, a digitally encoded safety lanyard to prevent theft (as well as secondary lanyard to limit speed), removable storage bin, fold-down boarding step, and surprisingly useful, a hinged saddle that raises on a pneumatic strut.
As always, the debate about a Limited model comes down to the value you place on the “extras” it includes. Some consumers like what the manufacturer has put together, others would prefer to take the extra cost and assemble their own at their dealer or local marine supply. It also comes down to looks. The closest comparable model would be the RXT-X 300. It comes in very bold color choices, while the 2017 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 takes the high road with its earthy metallics.
Horsepower, however, is no longer a limiting factor. With the 1630 ACE, Sea-Doo has given the GTX Limited 300 every bit of power the manufacturer currently has on tap. Whether you choose to use it to elegantly cruise – or just look all high-brow while you blow your neighbor’s doors off – is completely up to you.
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