Sea-Doo RXT-X PWC
By Captain John B. Wenz
The folks at Sea-Doo have every reason to be proud of the new RXTX - it’s a rocketship! They recently invited us to Sebastian, Florida to see what this new model is all about. The RXT-X is, simply put, a souped-up version of the popular RXT, introduced in 2005. With the addition of a bigger supercharger and an internal intercooler, the engineers at Sea-Doo have managed to squeeze a reported 255 horsepower out of the Rotax 4-TEC engine. That makes the RXT-X the most powerful production PWC on the market, based on the reported horsepower.
Your first instinct is to interpret higher horsepower as higher speed. That would be correct just about anywhere else, but here in the world of personal watercraft, that’s not the case. There’s a verbal agreement between the industry’s manufacturers and the US Coast Guard to limit speed to 65 MPH for production vessels. That’s not to say that enthusiasts don’t install aftermarket kits to increase speed for competition.
Anyway, since speed is limited, the real quantifiable difference between competitors, outside of the bells and whistles, is acceleration. It’s here that the RXT-X has a clear advantage. We should know…Sea-Doo asked us to compare the RXT-X with their own RXT and two of their competitors. The RXT-X came out on top. Weighing in at only 804 pounds, it becomes pretty apparent why the RXT-X has an advantage. This watercraft has the highest horsepower to weight ratio among the boats in the “muscleboat” class. The RXT-X blasts off the line and she’s a thrill to ride.
Aside from the engine modifications, the Sea-Doo folks have also reconfigured the intake grate to provide adequate water flow for all those horses. After all, you can spin the pump with a lot of power, but if it can’t get enough water, it won’t provide additional thrust. These guys have solved that problem with the size and shape of their grate.
In addition, if you look under the hull, you’ll notice an aluminum ride plate. This is another nice feature - it’s part of Sea-Doo’s internal closed-loop cooling system. Not only does the cooling system eliminate contact between the inside of the motor and water from the riding environment, but it controls the engine operating temperature, which optimizes fuel burn.
Some of the other race inspired features on the RXT-X include the adjustable aluminum handlebar and billet throttle control. Speaking of control, the Variable Trim System helps to customize the ride, and Sea-Doo’s OPAS provides steering control when you’re off-throttle. When you’re in close quarters, the reverse lever positioning on Sea-Doo products makes a difference. It’s on the left, so you can steer, throttle, and shift from forward to reverse and back without taking the throttle hand off the bars.
There are also some other features on the RXT-X worth noting. I like the Digital Information System. Sporting some large-sized readouts, it displays 20 different bits of information in both digital and LCD analog format, and there’s no need to switch back and forth to see what you need. It includes an electronic compass and a convenient water temperature gauge. Sea-Doo’s Learning Key is standard, and it includes the Digital Electronic Security System to prevent unauthorized operation. The seat and deck feature patterned surfaces which are both attractive and functional. The seat has got lots of places to hold on to for your passengers, including a rugged strap right behind the driver’s position.
Specs & Performance
I took the RXT-X through her paces on a breezy, choppy day on the Indian River in Florida. Acceleration was apparent from the get-go, and the handling was responsive and steering was true and accurate. The 22½ degree transom deadrise seemed to be just right for the bumps, without compromising this boat’s ability to jump on top and accelerate.
Officially, our top speed was 65.4 mph at 7960 rpm, but I can tell you that the on-board speedo tickled 69-plus miles an hour. The calculator tells us that we could expect a range of 74 miles at 30.5 miles an hour on a tankful of premium-grade gasoline.
There are a lot of personal watercraft out there to choose from. The really exciting thing about this market segment is that it continues to grow. The handful of manufacturers who compete continue to raise the bar for each other in the areas of performance and value. Based on what we saw, if your top priority is performance out of the box, then the RXT-X would be your likely choice…and that’s without saying anything about all of the other features!