August 8, 2011 – Sea-Doo flexes its muscle with 2012 lineup
August 16, 2011
Filed under Features
Sea-Doo unveiled its 2012 lineup early this year, positioning the 2012 press intro just days before BRP’s Montreal-based dealer show in mid-July. And after a year in which the company focused on the recreational side of the PWC market, the 2012 offerings were all about muscle. A new marquee RXP-X assumes the flagship role, while a big-engine version of last year’s GTI battles for “point-of-entry performance” with last year’s Yamaha VXR.
The marquee craft is certainly the RXP-X 260, a completely retooled version of the iconic RXP musclecraft. Featuring a similar “flowing facet” design to the GTI, it’s muscular in appearance, with a black hull and dayglow yellow accents. Below, the engine hasn’t changed — it’s still the same 260 hp variant of the 1.5-liter 4-TEC that powered the previous generation, capable of pushing the craft to a top speed of 67 mph and crossing the 0-30 mph distance in about two seconds. Almost everything else about the craft, however, has been radically reenvisioned.
Like the hull. The design is dubbed “T3,” a reference to the distinctive T-shape when viewed from the stern. A center running pad is dropped lower from the rest of the hull bottom, which enables the boat to run on a reduced running surface when on plane. An aggressive stem line helps the hull knife through the chop, while rounded chines enable the hull to easily roll into a turn and suck the hull to the surface.
Further quickening the hull’s handling are new sponsons, which feature a 90-degree winglet aft. That winglet reportedly helps to initiate a turn, but once rolled on edge, it also helps bite the water as the traditional sponson surface begins to lose its effect. Three user-adjustable positions can tune the ride to become even more aggressive or soft at the owner’s discretion.
Additional hull tuning can be seen in the stock trim tabs. They provide lateral stability, tune the hull for best top speed and help keep the bow down in rough conditions. Anti-dive and anti-splash chines are located at the bow to keep the hull from dipping during deceleration and braking.
Possibly one of the most unique attributes of the craft, however, is Sea-Doo’s new ErgoLock system. Essentially, it’s a rethought seat design — an hourglass shape that’s extremely narrow in the middle and features bolsters that cradle the knees and wrap up above the thighs. Combined with canted footwell pads, the driver is able to lock into position, using leg strength to keep them aboard the craft and removing the strain from the arms and upper body. Given that the new hull enables a pronounced lean-in turning style, the position works well to keep the driver planted. The RXP-X is arguably the tightest turning of any production PWC currently on the market.
Also new for 2012 is the GTR, a 215 hp version of the GTI hull. Like Yamaha did with its VXR, the concept is to put a powerful engine into a lighter hull to produce an inexpensive model that will run with the top-of-the-line musclecraft. The added power makes the GTI hull ride more fun. I measured top speed around 65 mph, and the higher horsepower engine gives the craft spirited acceleration. Pricing was not yet determined, but it’s clear this model is an answer to the VXR. The GTR includes high-performance trim, Intelligent Throttle Control (including Touring, Sport and ECO modes), along with Intelligent Brake and Reverse.
Other muscle models have also received attention, albeit to a lesser extent. The RXT-X aS now features a forward sponson to keep the bow from diving in rough conditions. New adjustable trim tabs are also featured at the stern to tailor the ride to the conditions. The RXT-X also gets adjustable rear sponsons.
The suspension ranks also boast a new model. Acknowledging the demand for suspension at a lower price point, Sea-Doo is offering the GTX S 155, which includes the less-powerful 155 hp engine and a manually adjusted version of the suspension.