2008 Sea-Doo RXP-X Review

A new benchmark in power and performance

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sea-Doo, Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) raised the benchmark in 2008 with the dramatic 255hp RXP-X (and RXT-X), setting a new standard in power and overall performance.

It was last August when Sea-Doo officially announced the new personal watercrafts for the 2008 season. The X Series marked the company’s 20th anniversary in the personal watercraft scene, providing two models that where actually the refined and update versions of the well known RXP and RXT.

Sea-Doo is the only personal watercraft manufacturer that has a two-seater, high-performance craft in its model fleet. According to the Canadian-based company “no other manufacturer offers a production watercraft with a complete high performance package of this level, which sets new benchmarks in power, acceleration, handling and fun.”

The updated performance of the triple cylinder 4-stroke marine engine was initially achieved by revising the Vortec centrifugal supercharger with a larger intake tube. Additionally, the motor was equipped with a new larger aluminum intercooler. The ignition system was remapped, which was the result of the fuel delivery and advance timing being altered. Also, the fuel injectors were replaced with bigger ones. These alternations were enough to extract more power from the compact three cylinder engine, making it the most powerful two-seater Runabout available. Sources tell PersonalWatercraft.com that Sea-Doo engineers have also made some crucial changes to various parts of the engine in order to increase the reliability and the endurance of the new motor.

Hull and deck updates

Changes were also made to the hull in order to enhance handling characteristics and stability, which was a problem faced by the RXP. The pump was placed around 200 mm towards the transom in order to enlarge the volume of the intake. Also, the pump tunnel is 18 mm wider than its predecessor.

Engineers took special care in order to design the intake grate since it plays a key role to the hook up as well as to load the pump properly. According to a respected tuner this is one of the RXP-X’s points where the engineers managed to actually break the extreme performance of the craft and limit it close to the American standard – a top speed of 65 mph. If you modify or replace it with an aftermarket product, the watercraft will unleash its hidden, outlaw performance.

On the deck, the new seat design attracts your attention along with the unique style of the adjustable billet CNC steering system and the race-type bronze handlebars. For the first time in its history, Sea-Doo has placed a trigger throttle on both X series crafts, a decision appreciated by just about any rider of the new craft.

The old fashioned slippery mats were, at last, replaced with proper, good quality mats that cover the adequate deck surface, helping to enhance the aesthetics of the new muscle craft. The redesigned hull, along with the powerful engine, helped Sea-Doo retain the industry’s best power-to-weight ratio title.

The starter box and the all new electronically controlled VTS (Variable Trim System) are featured in the same unit. The VTS incorporates dual pre-programmable settings and can be adjusted on the fly easily and accurately.

One thing that makes the RXP-X unique is the new look. New colors, new seat covers and less chrome are the major features. The new style clearly distinguishes the X Series crafts from the rest of the Sea-Doo models.

In the water

Regardless of the specifications of a new watercraft, if you don’t ride it on the water or in a race course you will not be able to find out how good or bad it is. Sea-Doo engineers certainly did their homework since improved performance is noticeable right away. The craft accelerates sharply and crisply from standing still by using the additional assistance of the VTS. It is fast and accelerates with no hesitation at any rpm range. The hull hooks up nicely is stable all the way up to top speed. The craft reaches a top speed of 65 mph and if you are patient enough you will see another mph on the LCD screen of the GPS.

Since the test ride was carried out in Lake Havasu, Ariz. I had the opportunity to ride the craft through the race course that was set up by Sea-Doo. It’s on a race course where you truly realize how great the new RXP-X platform is. The revised hull made drastic changes to the overall handling, especially the way the watercraft approaches the buoy. No matter how hard you ride, it will pin around the buoy. Unlike the RXP, the RXP-X doesn’t have any tendency to dive its nose. It is more stable and more predictable. It doesn’t widen its arc and it provides a good sense of stability. You know exactly when to grab the trigger throttle and accelerate fast to the next buoy.

Enhanced ergonomics make things a little easier on the rider. The new motorcycle-type seat gives you the opportunity to move your body easier and quicker from one side to the other. Also, the brand new mats provide better grip, which means that you are able to apply those forces much easier and with less effort. On the other hand the handlebars are positioned a bit higher than the usual height that a sport rider likes.


There is no question that Sea-Doo raised the bar this year by setting a new benchmark in overall performance in the muscle craft class. The new RXP-X is the fastest two-seater 4-stroke Runabout available. Apart from being a racing machine, it is also a really powerful toy for the weekend watercraft enthusiast.

2008 Sea-Doo RXP-X Specs
Length 121 inches
Beam 48 inches
Dry Weight 774 lbs
Engine Three-cylinder EFI, Supercharged/Intercooled
Displacement 1,494 cc
Bore and Stroke 100mm x 63.4mm
Compression Ratio 8.4:1
Rated Horsepower 255
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 10.7 gal.
Price $12,999

Related Reading:
2008 Sea-Doo RXT-X Review