Class Warfare: 2014 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 215


New for 2014 is one more addition to the Limited lineup, the supercharged GTX Limited 215.

Right now, Sea-Doo is literally giving away features that other manufacturers would sell their own grandmothers for. Even those individuals with personal brand biases who stop their nonsense and honestly evaluate their favorite three seater versus a comparable one from Sea-Doo will admit the same.

With the advent of the S3 hull in 2008, Sea-Doo has provided personal watercraft enthusiasts with a virtual cornucopia of bells and whistles, innovative safety features and downright enjoyable creature comforts that are not found elsewhere – and if they are, they’re often executed in a lesser fashion.

At their core, personal watercraft are designed for the maximum amount of fun and enjoyment. And for most, horsepower plays a huge part in how much fun there is to be had. Sea-Doo of course, has excelled at offering the most features and creature comforts for the buck, but fell a bit short in the “thrills” department in their “Luxury” segment.

The GTX Limited 215 is low and angular, yet never deviates from its luxury branding. The deep scalloped touring seat is narrow at the knees and broad in the rear making it a fantastically comfortable cruiser bench.

Included in its Limited packaging is a list of goodies including a custom PWC cover, Sea-Doo’s spring-loaded Speed Ties, watertight front storage bin, a glovebox organizer and much, much more.

That is, until now. For 2014, Sea-Doo added one more sibling to the front-of-the-class Limited family, the 2014 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 215.

The 215-horsepower supercharged and intercooled Rotax powertrain is nothing new, and can be had in Sea-Doo’s stripped-down hot rod, the GTR 215, which oozes coolness. But the 215HP configuration is all but absent from the larger S3 hull (only found elsewhere in the Wake Pro 215). The large 159mm pump carries over, as does the rest of the jet setup.

In fact, the savvy enthusiast will notice that the standard GTX 215 is gone from Sea-Doo’s lineup. Well technically, it’s not gone, it’s just “leveled up” to the glossier Limited packaging.

Not only does the Limited livery give the GTX 215 the moniker’s signature pleated seat, custom PWC cover, Speed Ties, depth finder, glove box organizer and removable dry storage bag but its iconic Anthracite Grey-with-red highlights paint scheme and chrome accents.

Additional to the newly minted GTX Limited 215 is the inclusion of a depth finder, which we used religiously during our photoshoot as we navigated the shallow shores of Old Hickory Lake, TN.

We already loved Sea-Doo’s iBR brake and reverse system, but have come to a whole new appreciation of the brand’s iTC multiple engine tune software.

The S3 hull has been proven time and time again as a stable and true-tracking design and needs very little praise that it already hasn’t already received both from this magazine and elsewhere. Whether plowing through wind-whipped chop, progressing up and over rollers or skimming over eerily reflective glass, the GTX Limited 215 is a smooth operator.

Rather, we feel it necessary to touch on something far more important: The more Sea-Doos we ride, the more we’ve come to accept that BRP’s Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) is the single most under-appreciated feature in any watercraft in the past decade. So much so that we suggest all other manufacturers get cracking on ripping it off as soon as possible (OK, OK not really. But a close facsimile would be nice).

The ability to cycle through three different engine tunes on the fly radically changes the game for ALL watercraft. For those who’ve never enjoyed this feature first-hand, scrolling through Touring, Eco and Sport modes elevates the riding experience of any iTC-equipped Sea-Doo to a whole new level.

As part of the premier Limited packaging, the newly rechristened GTX 215 also includes Sea-Doo’s stellar Speed Ties (the small attachment beneath the tow hook). Located on the rear swim platform and on the forward cowl, tying to a dock cleat is made quick and easy without needing to fish out a soggy rope.

All runabouts employing the S3 hull (non-suspension) feature the same cavernous glove box. Those Limited models include a glove box sealable organizer (not shown).

Trading between Eco and Sport mode is like Dr. Bruce Banner willingly switching between he and the Incredible Hulk on demand! And Sea-Doo offers iTC on all of its watercraft – even on the 90hp Spark!

Likewise, Sea-Doo’s Cruise Control is the easiest to operate of all three manufacturers, with soft and responsive buttons that react instantly. Other handlebar toggles include BRP’s VTS trim control and digital dash display options (including the much desired depth finder and water temperature gauge).

A thickly padded folding swim step, polished tow hook, and five-place tilt steering round out the features that only make this a fully-equipped machine. Even at a healthy asking price of $14,499, the GTX Limited 215 over-delivers again and again and again.  Heck, even in light of its supercharged powerplant, the GTX Limited 215 is not as thirsty as you might expect, and can happily run on either regular or premium octane gasoline.

Although tipping the scales at 824-pounds (dry weight, add another 90-pounds for gas, oil and coolant), we were happy with a maximum speed of 67.3mph and estimated a little less than 5mpg during our testing.

The fixed deck S3 platform leaves ample room in the engine compartment as well as access to the rearmost portions of the interior via two screw-locking utility panels.

Admittedly, we still prefer the lowest member of the Limited clan, the GTI Limited 155 but wished it touted the oomph of its rowdier brother, the GTR 215. Yet, that’s where we came to appreciate the GTX Limited 215. With the performance grunt we craved and all of the sophistication you could throw at a Sea-Doo, this machine over-delivers when others struggle to make the grade.

Huge thanks go to America’s Motorsports for use of the Sea-Doo GTX Limited 215.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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