Sea-Doo RXT-X

The RXT-X provides a solid, stable and quick ride.

Sea-Doo has never been content to play second fiddle. That’s why the 2010 RXT-X claims 260 horsepower, a number that ties it with Kawasaki’s Ultra 260X as the biggest and baddest PWC on the planet. The RXT-X’s 1,494 cc supercharged/ intercooled triple literally blasted out of the hole with arm-wrenching authority and powered me to 67 mph. That’s an interesting speed. The Coast Guard’s handshake agreement with PWC manufacturers is to limit speeds to 65 mph … with a 2 mph leeway.

That blast of acceleration was achieved in the boat’s “sport” mode. Thanks to the adoption of electronic throttle, Sea-Doo has been able to map two individual, user-selected acceleration curves. Boats start in the less aggressive “touring” mode, which features gentler acceleration. Choose “sport” and aggressive types have the engine’s full potential at their trigger finger. Given the performance mind-set, cruise control and no-wake mode are left optional.

Last year’s RXT is debuted a stepped hull design and offered an industry-first full suspension. The RXT-X wisely adopts that hull but leaves the pricey, if cool, suspension out. The result is a much lighter boat with a fixed deck that brings out the hull’s true handling ability. I flew full speed into corners and found a boat that hooked incredibly hard, with a touch of intuitive inside lean, just like its predecessor.

Where the new model does the previous RXT-X one better is in rough water — it feels much more solid and stable. Enhancing the driver’s feeling of control is a new handlebar design that can be adjusted for overall width and grip angle. Electronic trim adjusts the craft’s attitude on the fly and can be preprogrammed so a driver never has to take eyes off the water.

Power aside, the boat does have manners, thanks to sea-Doo’s “intelligent” brake and reverse. By giving the boat’s computer brain access to an electronically controlled reverse bucket — and the pilot a brake lever — a driver can slow the boat in nearly half the distance normally required. The computer prevents the bucket from dropping so far as to send the driver over the handlebars. I found I could feather the brake to further control the stop. That same function also allows the RXT-X to mimic the gears of a traditional boat, starting in neutral at the dock and moving into forward, or reverse, via the appropriate lever.