MasterCraft X-Star: Performance Test

MasterCraft's all-new X-Star shines like its namesake.

14th March 2003.
By Go Boating

Wakeboarding enthusiasts will have a difficult time finding a more accommodating boat than the all-new X-Star.

Wakeboarding enthusiasts will have a difficult time finding a more accommodating boat than the all-new X-Star.

There is an intrinsic value that separates the modern superstar from the common person. It’s that indescribable something that radiates from within, turning charisma and talent into a single whole that is more than its parts. In Hollywood, they call it the X factor — and MasterCraft’s new X-Star has it.

Wakeboarding enthusiasts will have a difficult time finding a more accommodating boat than the all-new X-Star. Professional wakeboarder Zane Schwenk (who is also a co-creator and tester of the X-Star) reminded us that even the quality of a boat’s wake is important to the wakeboarding experience — and he wholeheartedly enjoys the ride from behind the X-Star.

The boat’s unique hull deserves much of the credit for both the exhilarating wake and the comfortable ride of the boat. The AP-1 (Anything’s Possible) hull’s four terraced chines have been designed to manipulate and enhance wake shape. In fact, Schwenk claims to have done his biggest raley ever while testing the boat.

As impressive as the boat’s underside may be, the first thing you’re sure to notice is the X-Star’s unique bow shape. The bow tapers to two points rather than a single point, giving it a forked shape that dramatically increases the bow’s occupancy and makes it accessible from the front. (A folding ladder that retracts from an open-and-close anchor box further aids access.)

The bow also has two Clarion speakers, six drink holders, a draining cooler and two rising seat backs that offer extra storage. The floor has 40 ounce snap-in carpet for easy cleaning and drain plugs for wash waste disposal.

Star Gazing

After your eyes have had a moment to digest the redesigned bow, they’ll want to make a meal of the boat’s X-Pod. Located at the helm console, the X-Pod is a bullet-shaped configuration of billet aluminum gauges that suspend the speedometer, tachometer and Perfect Pass cruise control in full view of the driver.

This eye-catching piece of metal looks like a cross between something you’d find in a vintage car and something you’d find on a futuristic spacecraft. It is a gorgeously designed piece, but it is only attached to the dash in one small area; therefore, it has a tendency to shake when the boat is running, making it a bit difficult to read the gauges.

The remainder of the dash is constructed of carbon fiber and houses the rest of the instrumentation. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and has a chrome center. A molded armrest incorporates a chrome throttle knob and digital AM/FM CD stereo remote.

At the center of the boat, you’ll find wrap-around seating covered in dense 34 ounce vinyl. All of the seats have storage space underneath, and the observer’s seat (opposite the driver) flips up for storage, forming a dual access compartment that is accessible from the bow or amidships.

A carbon fiber glove box houses the Clarion receiver and a 12v outlet. Four more stereo speakers and a subwoofer are located amidships, and the sound quality is excellent, as we discovered first hand.

The Zero Flex Flyer wakeboarding tower now has one thick aluminum tube that supports the board racks, speakers and lights, instead of the two thin tubes that were used on previous X-Star incarnations. The X-Star’s new board racks clamp wakeboards rather than strapping them, and optional 55 watt floodlights are recessed into the tower’s optional speaker cans.

The stern is home to a triple-hatch sunpad and a large, removable swim platform. The engine is under the center hatch, and storage space is hidden underneath the port and starboard hatches. The boat comes with two bilge pumps, two batteries and two gas caps.

Star Quality

The X-Star has been completely made over for 2003, and that change is more than just gelcoat deep. Remove the deck and you’ll notice only a single center ballast bladder. The 60 gallon bladder is noticeably larger, but you might find yourself asking where the sidesaddle rear ballast tanks went.

Well, if you were to peel back the liner tissue, you’d find two 36 gallon ballast glands on either side of the boat’s 57 gallon fuel cell. These storage areas are also larger than those on previous X-Star models, allowing the new boat to hold in excess of 1,000 pounds of water weight and 500 pounds of octane.

MasterCraft’s adaptation of a liner ballast system leads to what the company calls its ?Big Bang Theory.” The increased ballast volume and higher wake amplitude are expected to allow wakeboarders to achieve higher altitudes and remain suspended longer, which MasterCraft believes could accelerate the evolution of wakeboard riding at an exponential rate.

Shooting Star

Our test took place at Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on a beautiful day with little chop. We had four adults and 3/4 a tank of fuel on board.

Our test boat was powered by a 450 hp 8.1L Vortec engine, but the engine options might change before the boat is available to the public. The MasterCraft team claimed they were still working out the kinks, but we found very few problems that needed solving.

The boat tracked well and had no problems going to plane. The ride is very comfortable, and even when you’re sitting along the transom, you feel secure in your seat.

Excited to be out on the lake that day, we first went to wide-open throttle, which is 5,000 rpm for the 8.1L Vortec. At wide-open throttle we hit a top speed of 51.7 mph, though MasterCraft rates the boat at a top speed of 47 mph. Cruising speed is 32 mph.

Our test boat had a solid black hull with black accents scattered throughout the seating. The variety of standout hull colors (including bright red, green and yellow) is reason enough to buy the boat.

The X-Star has been the best-selling boat in MasterCraft’s 35 year history, so everyone at the company was understandably nervous about taking part in such a radical redesign, but they are confident that they have given their customers and prospective buyers exactly what they want: a no-nonsense wakeboarding boat that looks and rides like a dream.

MasterCraft X-Star Specifications

Length 22’3″
Beam 8’4″
Draft (hull) 2’4″
Dry weight 4,200 pounds
Fuel capacity 57 gallons
Maximum power 450 hp

Engine Specs

Model 8.1L Vortec inboard engine
Propshaft horsepower 410
Cylinders 8
Displacement 496 c.i.d.
Compression ratio 9:1:1
Max. engine speed 5,000 rpm
Carburetion/fuel injection multi-port injection

Performance

Top speed 47 mph
Cruising speed 32 mph
Miles per gallon at 32-mph cruising speed 4
Estimated fuel cost for 100 miles $37.50
Range at 32-mph cruising speed 228 miles

(Estimated fuel cost based on a fuel price of $1.50 per gallon.)

Standard Features

Hand-laid fiberglass construction, stainless steel and non-corrosive hardware, high-pressure in-tank fuel pump, two 12v DC power outlets, built-in cooler with drain, Clarion AM/FM CD stereo with six stereo speakers and separates, Clarion subwoofer and two 400 watt amps, forward ladder, MasterView bolster driver’s seat, heavy-duty 40 ounce marine carpet with a five-year limited warranty, premium-grade 34 ounce vinyl with UV protection and mildew resistors, spline shaft and coupler, Pure Vert ballast system with gauges, Zero Flex Flyer tower with clamping board racks.

Optional Features

Bimini top, bow and cockpit tonneau cover, mooring cover, drop-in carpet, bow filler cushion, Clarion six-disc CD changer, Clarion transom stereo remote, fiberglass swim platform, pressurized shower, heater, passenger jump seat, slick boot soap pump, tower light bar with four lights, tower speakers with or without recessed 55 watt floodlights.

For More Information

MasterCraft Boat Co.
100 Cherokee Cove
Vonore, TN 37885
(423) 884-2221
www.mastercraft.com


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