Do you crave the performance of Sea-Doo’s supercharged RXT-X 300 but prefer a more understated color scheme? The luxurious 2020 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 could be just the ticket. The GTX series has the same innovative ST3 hull – now in its third year of production – as the RXT-X 300 and Fish Pro, which means it has the same genius easy-access front storage area, plenty of knee room for the operator, and a large rear deck to fit accessories such as a cooler or fishing accessories.
In the US, the range starts with the non-supercharged 1.6-litre GTX produces 170hp ($12,999), the supercharged 1.6-litre GTX with 230hp ($13,999), before climbing to the supercharged 1.6-litre GTX Limited with 230hp ($16,199) and the flagship GTX Limited 300 ($17,199) as you see tested here, which has the same 300-horsepower supercharged 1.6-litre Rotax engine as the high performance RXT-X 300. US prices exclude trailer, registration and taxes.
In Australia, where this GTX Limited 300 was tested, the GTX range is streamlined to three models: GTX 170 ($18,799), GTX 230 ($20,799) and the GTX Limited 300 ($26,499). Australian prices exclude trailer and registration but include taxes. By comparison, the Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 costs $26,399 in Australia.
The Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 had minor model-year changes from 2019 to 2020, such as the standard fitment of the 70-litre fuel tank from the Fish Pro and a mildly redesigned color and trim combination. (The RXT-X 300 and the other models in the GTX range also gain the 18.5-gallon, or 70 litre fuel tank for 2020).
For this year’s model the GTX Limited 300 maintains its silver (Sea-Doo calls it “Liquid Grey”) upper deck and hull, but the seats have a smaller flash of blue and the mats are dark grey rather than tan. The only performance difference between the GTX Limited 300 and the RXT-X 300 is the lack of launch control and the sportier sponsons. In lieu of launch control, the GTX Limited 300 instead comes with a genuine Sea-Doo all-weather storage cover, an in-dash depth finder, a USB port to charge a phone, a folding rear step, and a storage bin organizer.
If you really want launch control, there is a little known “Ski and X Package” module ($259 Australian) that installs a launch and towing mode that helps the GTX Limited 300 make the perfect take-off from a choice of presets. Once installed, you press the north and south buttons on the left keypad to engage Launch Mode and, hey presto!
The ST3 deck and hull revolutionized the design of personal watercraft when it was introduced three years ago. Most notable was the improved access to the front storage area; the handlebars lift up as one unit with the hood cover, which means you don’t need to risk cracking your ribs while trying to lean precariously and grab something out of the nose. The fuel filler is located up high, under the cover, making it easier to refuel on the water as well. A small partition is designed to prevent fuel from splashing into the storage area, but some caution is still required.
Other handy features are Sea-Doo’s waterproof compartment for a phone, wallet and keys; there’s even a strip of foam to stop them banging around in the chop. The digital dash is a 7.6-inch wide display which helpfully estimates the time to empty on the fuel gauge. And there’s a clock to keep an eye on the time.
The Sea-Doo’s trim settings are adjustable at the press of a button, plus there’s Cruise Control and a Slow Speed mode. Unlike most other watercraft, this Sea-Doo uses GPS to measure speed, which is more accurate than the spindle wheel or engine rpms used by other manufacturers. For our day, we managed a maximum of 68.3 miles per hour on the 7.6-inch digital display.
The ErgoLock upper deck design is one of the most comfortable platforms on the market today. There’s ample knee room whether you prefer to sit or stand, and the foot wells are massive, making it difficult to trap your foot as some other brands can do in tight turns.
The downside to this extra space is that the craft can get very heavy if the footwells begin to fill with water from the wash created as you come to a stop. We have noticed that the craft can lose a touch of its signature stability if only one side of the deck has filled with water. It’s nothing a quick blast of the throttle can’t fix but it’s worth keeping an eye on, and to be aware of how to fix it quickly.
The rear deck is massive. When empty it could double as a diving platform, but many buyers also use it to fit one of the many LinQ accessories, like the Sea-Doo cooler, whether it’s to keep a few drinks on hand, or store the catch of the day. All of Sea-Doo’s Fish Pro accessories are available as extra-cost options on the GTX Limited.
On the water, the GTX Limited 300 behaves like the rest of the ST3 range and, in particular, the RXT-X 300 high-performance model. The GTX Limited (and RXT-X 300) feels like its trim is naturally set higher than other watercraft, even when in neutral or with the nose apparently pointed down. This in turn, favors the hull’s prominent knife-like keel. At low speeds, this doesn’t pose a problem, but when under throttle, the bow tends to wander left and right, predominantly in rougher water.
The ST3 has zero trouble blowing straight through a cresting wave, but when facing a field of cross-chop, you’ll feel the Sea-Doo struggle to keep a straight line – that is, without a lot of rider input through the handlebars. When cornering, the smooth, flat second half of the ST3 hull feels particularly “slippery,” as the tail can unhook when throttled too hard in a tight turn. This attribute is common for smaller, more playful runabouts like a Spark or GTI, but not a full-sized, big horsepower machine like the GTX Limited 300.
The 1,630cc 3-cylinder, four-stroke Rotax has an incredible amount of punch. Even without launch control, the GTX Limited 300 wants to pull your arms out of their sockets. Fortunately, the throttle has good modulation, so you can take it easy if that’s your preference. Plus there is the aforementioned Slow mode that caps the maximum speed if you don’t trust your mates when left to their own devices.
The Intelligent Brake & Reverse lever on the left handlebar (opposite the throttle lever on the right) makes low speed maneuvering a cinch. Unlike the Yamaha RiDE system, Sea-Doo’s iBR requires both triggers to be operated in unison to properly reverse, maneuver through a tight dock space, or come to an abrupt stop from a fast clip. Sea-Doo still claims “best-in-class” braking performance, bringing this 849-pound 3-seater to a halt twice as fast – or in half the distance – as the competition.
In addition to the added storage bin organizer, USB port, depth finder and cover, one major bit of standard equipment for the GTX Limited 300 is the BRP Premium Sound System. Featuring 100-watts of Bluetooth-controlled, 100-percent waterproof ear-thumpin’ action, Sea-Doo’s foray into watercraft audio is still one of its best innovations.
To sum up, the 2020 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 is an awesome top-end watercraft that has the performance to match its luxurious image. Looking like a top-end performance sedan with the power to match, this one would look right at home in a marina next to million-dollar yachts or tearing across the lake at full speed.
Special thanks to Beaches Sea-Doo & Can-Am in Balgowlah, New South Wales, Australia, for use of this test model.