Following what appears to now officially be an industry trend toward less expensive, more environmentally friendly watercraft, Sea-Doo announced in late September the introduction of an all-new 4-TEC based GTI, as well as a new, direct-injection powerplant in the hybrid 3-D. The move enables Sea-Doo to boast an almost entirely four-stroke based line-up, and completely eliminates conventional, carburetor-based two-strokes from the Sea-Doo family.
“BRP has reached an important milestone in the watercraft business with the launch of the 2006 Sea-Doo product line,” stated Pierre Arsenault, Vice-President and General Manager for Snowmobiles, Watercraft, ATVs and Sport Boats. “We have dedicated the better part of the last decade to developing cleaner and safer watercraft technology and now people can enjoy the results of our efforts by making Sea-Doo watercraft their destination for ultimate fun on the water.”
Long the entry-level standard in the Sea-Doo line, the GTI (as well as the new GTI SE) has received a new engine under the seat, a 130-hp, fuel-injected variant of the existing 4-TEC powerplant. It's a package that captures the coveted Three Star certification from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and promises all the goodies that Sea-Doo has made famous, including the Learning Key speed-governing lanyard, digitally encoded security system, and off-power assisted steering (O.P.A.S.). Like its larger siblings, the 4-TEC powered GTI also features Sea-Doo's closed-loop cooling system.
With that change in engine comes a change in hull design as well. While reminiscent of the past GTI design, the new model is longer (127 inches vs. 120.9), wider (49 inches vs. 47.2) and taller (44.4 vs. 40.9) than the previous version, and sports an 18.5-degree deadrise compared to the previous model's deeper 22.5-degree vee. It also features new ergonomics in the steering column; the angle has been raised 7-percent, for a slightly more aggressive driver position than Sea-Doo sported in the past. Less obvious enhancements are the new removable, 10-gallon front storage bin, which is designed to be carried in and loaded up at the house or car, then fitted into the front cavity before the user gets underway.
Unlike the stripped-down GTI of year's past, the 2006 model will feature a 13-function digital information center. The GTI SE adds a collection of additional features, including a retractable rear boarding step, dual wide-angle mirrors, footwell traction mats, a 15-function digital info center, and a ski eye. Buyers of the base GTI will find many of these items available as options.
3-D GETS BOOST/GTX, RX PLATFORMS RETURN
Utilizing the same hull and deck platform as '05, but also gaining a new engine is the 3-D, Sea-Doo's enigmatic hybrid that combines a little of four styles into one, jack-of-all-trades machine. That new power comes in the form of a 130 hp, 951cc 1000 Series Rotax engine featuring Orbital direct injection, an engine that will certainly be welcome for its eco-friendly attitude, but one that will also give the craft the additional power it do desperately craved. In 2005, the 3-D was powered by a 782cc, 110-hp mill. The Vert (stand-up) and Moto (Sport-style) “experiences” will still come standard on the craft; Shoq, Kart, and Knee modes continue to require optional upgrades.
As for the rest of the Sea-Doo lineup, returning 4-TEC powered choices include the 215-hp RXT, RXP, and GTX Limited, 185-hp GTX Supercharged, and 155-hp GTX, as well as the boardsports-oriented Wake.
“The 2006 line of Sea-Doo watercraft sets the industry benchmark in every category,” continued Arsenault. “We offer the most complete watercraft line-up including clean technology across all segments, in an effort to provide our customers with the most innovative, the most exhilarating and the most responsible recreational experience.”
- Jeff Hemmel