June 4, 2012
Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260: Combining luxury, comfort and performance
People in the market for a personal watercraft are faced with a plethora of choices. While some prefer comfort and luxury, others are looking for adrenaline and performance. But for buyers who want to have their cake and eat it too, there’s the Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260. This model combines comfort, luxury, technology and performance. In fact, it’s marketed as the yacht of personal watercraft!
It goes without saying that, as the jewel in Sea-Doo’s crown, the GTX Limited iS 260 is their most expensive model. Starting at just over $19,000, it certainly hasn’t been designed to suit all budgets. That said, it offers great value for money, considering that it features all of Sea-Doo’s latest technology.
Like the other Luxe and Performance models, the GTX Limited iS 260 is primarily pearl white with gold accents – such as on the front air intakes – for an added touch of sophistication. Its all-white touring seat really makes this personal watercraft stand out. Surprisingly comfortable and cushiony, it makes extended rides more enjoyable, which is a clear advantage for a high-performance model.
Comfortable yet practical
Personal watercraft are much less practical than boats when it comes to carrying things around. To make up for this, the GTX Limited iS 260 includes several practical storage compartments. The largest compartment is up front, while the glove box is made up of several sections designed to keep your belongings dry. The swim platform in back comes in very handy when climbing aboard and lifts to reveal another two storage units that are ideal for stowing safety equipment. Essentially, you can pack more stuff on this model than on many others.
On the water, this model is very stable, even when stopped. Plus, it’s big enough to ease any worries you might have about tipping over. Finding a good driving position is easy, thanks in large part to the tilt steering. Interestingly, the information display also adjusts in accordance with the steering, ensuring that you always get a clear view of the gauges.
Once you have the engine going, you’ll quickly appreciate the iBR system which allows to starts you in neutral for easier dockside starts. Past models would immediately launch into motion as soon as the engine was activated, but thanks to this system, this is no longer the case. A lever on the left handle puts the craft into reverse, a feature that comes in handy when docking. At cruising speed, the same lever activates the brakes, bringing this Sea-Doo to a halt much faster than before. Thanks to the iBR system, the GTX Limited iS 260 is very easy to manoeuvre and control.
A force to be reckoned with
Once you get this baby going, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not just about luxury and comfort – it’s also capable of first-class performances. The GTX Limited iS 260 is equipped with the manufacturer’s most powerful engine, a turbocharged Rotax 1503 XHO that produces 260 horsepower. This 1,494 cc four-stroke connects via direct drive to an impeller – the same engine as the RXT-X aS 260 and RXP-X 260 (BRP’s two speed machines). Press the accelerator and within seconds you’ll be out of the water and running at maximum speed. In fact, you had better hold on tight, lest you be thrown from this bronco. We reached a maximum speed of 107 km/hr (66.5 mph), which is very fast on the water.
Thanks to its size and weight, this watercraft offers superior stability and stays glued to the water. As a result, you feel safe at high speeds and driving through waves remains pleasant. The impeller almost never lacks water, which means that power losses are kept to a minimum. And because it is so stable, the GTI Limited iS 260 is faster than other high-performance models equipped with the same engine, as it adheres to the water surface better and skips less.
Different driving modes
Another button on the handle puts you into Sport mode, which changes the accelerator’s sensitivity and the power curve. When engaged, this mode puts the GTI Limited iS 260’s handling nearly on par with pure high-performance models. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Eco mode moderates its behaviour, rendering it more comfortable as it reduces accelerator sensitivity. Since it tempers accelerations, this mode is a more practical option when you’ve got passengers with you.
It stands to reason that if you constantly push the machine to the max, it’s going to use up quite a bit of fuel. At full speed – just under 110 km/h (70 mph) – fuel consumption was indicated as being 71 litres per hour, which is quite a bit. But if you maintain cruising speed, you can expect it to be closer to 30 litres per hour. Eco mode will help keep your fuel economy in check by modulating the power curve and lowering the maximum speed. This will also ensure a more comfortable ride, as you can push the accelerator to its maximum while maintaining a respectable speed.
The exceptional touring seat is not the only factor that contributes to driver comfort. The GTX Limited also comes with an intelligent suspension that keeps you from feeling any rough conditions. It works by fully isolating the rider from the hull, thus tempering any impact. It continuously adjusts its level and lowers when you dock to help you disembark with ease. There’s no doubt that this suspension is the watercraft’s key feature.
The GTX Limited iS 260 may not be as sporty as some other models, but its exceptional comfort is a major plus in its favour. Much like a sports sedan, it balances practicality and performance.
|Test model :||2012 SEA-DOO GTX Limited iS 260|
|Test engine :||Rotax 1503 HO - Jet drive|
|Base price :||$19,669|
|Price as tested :||$19,669|
|Manufacturer's warranty :||1 year|
|Planing time :||3.5 seconds|
|Planing speed :||N/A|
|Competitive models :||Yamaha Waverunner FX Cruiser HO, Yamaha Waverunner FX Cruiser SHO, Yamaha Waverunner VX Cruiser|
|Strong points :||Powerful engine
Ample storage space
Very stable on water
|Weak points :||High price
Fuel consumption at top speed
|Fuel consumption :|
|Value for price :|
|1000||3.50||0.53||6.60||5.63||2.00||2.81||122 miles / 196 km|
|2000||4.97||0.79||6.29||8.00||3.00||2.67||116 miles / 186 km|
|3000||6.21||1.32||4.70||10.00||5.00||2.00||86 miles / 140 km|
|4000||13.05||2.64||4.94||21.00||10.00||2.10||91 miles / 147 km|
|5000||28.58||4.76||6.00||46.00||18.00||2.55||110 miles / 178 km|
|6000||38.53||7.66||5.03||62.00||29.00||2.14||93 miles / 149 km|
|7000||49.71||11.36||4.38||80.00||43.00||1.86||80 miles / 130 km|
|8000||66.49||18.76||3.54||107.00||71.00||1.51||65 miles / 105 km|