Last year, Formula did something many of us had hoped it would do — it produced an under-25-foot bowrider: the 240 BR. It was a late-year model release, so it wasn’t until recently that we got a chance to get our test crew aboard — just in time to celebrate Formula’s 50th anniversary.
Formula has long had a reputation closely tied to its Miami roots along Thunder Row. It is one of the few companies that has made a huge success of blending racing-inspired performance with recreational attitude on a large scale. Formula’s bowriders, sportboats and cruisers — and even its largest boat, a 48-foot yacht — share a common goal of style and performance. If it didn’t have a large amount of these two qualities, it wouldn’t be a Formula.
That’s exactly why so many people are excited to see the company come out with a smaller bowrider that targets trailerboaters. Its 26-foot 260 BR is certainly made to be toted around on a trailer, but the smaller 240 BR is even more accessible to trailerboaters. Finally, the opportunity to own a Formula is closer than ever. It’s like the guy who always wanted to own a Humvee but never could … until the uber-friendly Hummer H2 came out.
In order to make the 240 feel like a Formula, the builder incorporated some of the interior features found on its larger craft. A wet bar with a Corian countertop and polished stainless steel sink and cupholders is standard. There’s also a large enclosed head in the port console, and a porcelain toilet with a holding tank is optional.
Even though this is the smallest Formula available, it doesn’t make it any less of a Formula than the larger craft — and the builder has taken the steps to ensure that. The same quality in materials, attention to detail and careful craftsmanship that larger Formulas are known for goes into the 240 BR.
We had a chance to test the Formula 260 BR last year, so we were looking forward to wrapping our hands around the throttle of the 240 BR. We had three people aboard our test boat and a half tank of fuel (about 30 gallons or 188 pounds). For power we had a 320 hp MX 6.2 MPI Horizon MerCruiser with a Bravo III drive spinning a 24-inch cupped three-blade stainless steel prop set.
Acceleration was respectable with 7.5 seconds to plane and a 0- to 30-mph time of 9.9 seconds. The 240 BR weighs about 5,000 pounds without fuel, gear or people, so acceleration isn’t going to be as snappy as a lightweight sportboat with a big engine.
We posted a top speed of 47.5 mph at 5,000 rpm on our GPS, which would give you a top-speed range of about 104 miles. Sound at top speed was 94 dBa, which is consistent with other runabouts. Our most efficient cruising speed was 30.8 mph at 3,500 rpm, which yielded a cruising range of 154 miles. Sound at cruising speed was 87 dBa, which is in the range we like to see for cruising.
The handling and the ride are what really brought home the fact that we were driving a Formula. The steering and throttle were responsive in a way that can only be described as smooth and solid. There wasn’t any play in the wheel, and the hull responded to input without hesitation. The ride was throaty and aggressive without any notion of slipperiness or sliding in the corners. Simply put, you can really tell the difference between a boat like this and a traditional production runabout.
Many boaters have been waiting for something like the 240 BR from Formula for a long time. Boat by boat, Formula has earned a reputation that rises above most of the production runabouts you see out there today. And now that same reputation is packaged into the smaller 240 BR.
All this performance, quality and style doesn’t come cheap. The 240 BR with a standard 270 hp 5.0 GXi Volvo Penta lists for $72,900, which is definitely higher than most 24-foot bowriders.
If you buy one of these boats, however, you’ll soon be saying the same three words that virtually every Formula owner has said over and over: “It’s worth it.”
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