2011 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155 Review

GTI gets a Limited makeover

Sea-Doo has a long-established track record with its Limited models. Upscale, feature-rich variations of existing models, they’re aimed at the higher-end consumer who wants it all.

Even, in the case of the GTI Limited 155, if they want a little less.

Yes, Sea-Doo has taken the highest horsepower variation of its newly tooled GTI line and given it all the trappings of a Limited model. But before we get to all those trappings of luxury, let’s first look at all that has changed with the GTI platform.

Extreme Makeover

The top deck makeover can’t be missed. Sea-Doo simply obliterated the tired, old-school GTI design and in its place gave consumers a boat with edgy, angular lines that nonetheless “flow” from bow to stern. They call it flowing facet, and it’s an apt description. This boat instantly fits in with the GTX line, rather than looks like its cheap cousin. Fit and finish have been taken up to GTX levels, and even small details have been improved, like the hinge on the front stowage compartment lid. Rather than cheap and flimsy, it’s now strong and beefy.

Ergonomics have also been addressed. The boat is shorter in height, positioning the rider closer to the waterline to lower the boat’s center of gravity. Footwells follow a long, flowing arc, rather than change angle abruptly. The idea is to keep a rider’s foot in constant contact with the surface, no matter what their riding position. They even cant inward to match the angle of a rider’s legs, alleviating pressure on the knees. The seat is broad where it counts, but narrows to also aid those knees, as well as allow for more comfortable stand-up riding. The info display has also been moved further forward to make sure it remains in view while seated or standing.

Below the waterline, however, much about the old GTI has actually stayed the same. Sea-Doo liked the looser feel of the GTI platform so designers retained the previous hull. In many ways you’d never believe it’s under there, but trust me, it’s the same relatively shallow 16-degree deadrise design of the past. Yes, it’s been modified slightly to match the new deck and improve the ride slightly. It’s lengthier at the bow to match the upper, features spray-reducing chines, and is a little more sizable at the stern to boost the craft’s buoyancy and add a little more space to the boarding platform. Like the familiar hull of old, it tracks well, but has a looser personality that allows it to still be a little more playful than today’s ultra-aggressive trackers.

High-End Features

Perhaps the real news, however, is that the GTI platform now includes some of the high-tech features Sea-Doo has thrown at its flagships in recent years. Chief amongst them? The Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR) system.

By now, it’s likely familiar. A portside lever on the left handgrip activates a computer-controlled system that briefly interrupts thrust, drops the reverse bucket, and then reapplies that thrust in measured amounts to stop the boat’s forward momentum. At 30mph, it shortens stopping distance by as much as 100’. The brake can also be feathered like a car’s to control the severity of the stop.

That same function also allows Sea-Doo to mimic a boat’s forward/neutral/reverse ability. The GTI starts in “neutral,” meaning you don’t instantly surge forward as thrust exits the pump. It can then be shifted into forward by touching the throttle, or reverse by touching the brake/reverse lever. It’s really intuitive after only a few minutes of operation, and as I’ve pointed out before, adds a huge degree of confidence to the rider taking the boat into a crowded area, like a launch ramp or marina.

2011 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155

The GTIs also now get some electronic throttle enhancements, including Sea-Doo’s dual Touring/Sport modes. In essence, that means the craft defaults to a tamer engine mapping, or can be switched into an aggressive mode that makes full use of the engine’s power. The Limited also gets ECO mode, which automatically determines the most fuel-efficient speed and sets the throttle accordingly.

The Big Difference

But what really distinguishes the pricier Limited 155 from the rest of the line? For starters, it gets a more potent 155hp version of Sea-Doo’s 1,494cc Rotax engine. In my testing that put the boat just into the 58mph range. That’s a small, yet significant difference in today’s market. Power is peppy enough to tow waterskiers and wakeboarders, as well as provide an added dose of thrill that may keep you from outgrowing the craft as your skill levels improve.

The boat also gets Sea-Doo’s high-performance variable trim system. Electronically controlled, it responds quickly and allows the operator to preset favorite positions for maximum acceleration or best top speed running angle. Cruise control also makes the list, allowing for more comfortable distance runs or better towing performance.

The Limited, however, is really targeted at the high-end rider who simply prefers the GTI looks and platform, not the price-strapped noob. In that spirit it gets additional gauge functions like time/distance to empty and altitude. It also gets a few more chromed parts for looks, a removable dry bag that converts to a backpack, a sandbag anchor, safety kit, custom cover, and ski-tow eye. It also gets Sea-Doo’s comfy touring seat, which is supportive and bolstered to provide a more comfortable perch on longer trips.

2011 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155

I’m a fan of the new attitude, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to a few shortcomings. Tilt steering is strangely missing. That leaves some taller riders feeling a little hunched when standing during operation. The bow also seems like it wants to hunt in rougher conditions, especially when following in other wakes, sometimes exaggerating the craft’s looser feel. And I’d also like to be able to designate Sport mode as the default, rather than always be forced to opt out of the tamer Touring mode every time I start the craft.

On the whole, however, the GTI platform has grown leaps and bounds, and now offers an impressive array of features. That the Limited offers that much more is a given.

2011 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155 Specs
Length 132.6 inches
Beam 48.5 inches
Curb Weight 745 lbs
Engine Naturally Aspirated Three-cylinder
Displacement 1,494 cc
Bore and Stroke 100 mm x 63.4 mm
Compression Ratio 10.6:1
Rated Horsepower 155
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 30.8 gal.
Colors Marina Blue
Price $11,499

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