Reviewed: December 2009
Written by: Modern Boating
A sexy headturner with a balanced hull – what more can you want in a sporty speed boat ? The Cobalt 262 really stands the test of time.
The new Cobalt 262 offers the usual top Cobalt quality along with a cleverly fitted head and well considered stowage areas. The electronic engine hatch lift, transom trim switch, dual batteries, and the automatic engine room fire suppression system are outstanding features.
This is the fifth Cobalt boat I have reviewed since these Middle American boats arrived on our shores in 2003. Back then, I was impressed but also wary of flash-in-the-pan imports that come and go. Move forward six years and I can confidently say that Cobalt luxury boats have made their mark on the Australian powerboat scene and will survive the test of time.
The $174,000 Cobalt 262, with its gleaming red topsides, looked almost defiant in the wake of recent cutbacks in luxury boat consumption. Its burbling, 320hp, petrol engine offered a tasty turn of speed after the well-balanced hull, with its extended running surface, made the plane at around 14 knots on southern Sydney’s Hacking River.
Behind the Cobalt 262 is an American boat-builder that strives for a higher mark. Cobalt Boats started in Kansas, USA during the 1960s (with vessels featured in the Bond film Live and Let Die) and continue producing to the philosophy that quality not quantity will endure the test of time.
With quality in mind, I hunted about the vessel and found plenty of signs of top-notch construction, from lined interiors, thick laminates, oversize SST deck gear and upholstery closer to luxury automotive than nautical. The deep-V hull’s chines are reinforced with Kevlar and, to back all this up, the vessel is supported by a 10/5/3 warranty.
Offering seating for around 12 people, with a 21″ deadrise and a top speed of around 40 knots, I perceive the Cobalt 262 as a harbour boat because this creature is big enough to take a crowd through the rough stuff on a busy harbour and also offers the spontaneity and handling ease of a large runabout compared to a cruiser.
Whilst the vessel looked impressive when we mucked about on the Hacking’s South West Arm, I thought the 262 would be equally impressive arriving in the twilight at a dock outside one of the many harbourside restaurants on Port Jackson. I noted that the bow-mounted lights would assist in navigating any satisfied guests home in the deep of the night.
The 262 could have been simply an open boat, but Cobalt has been clever by fitting a head port side, amidships, under the dash. It seems like a tricky place to position a loo, but once opened, the head was a good size, had a sink and even had its own porthole. I am not sure how comfortable the girls will be using the loo in such close proximity to the crowds onboard, but hey, that’s boating!
With such attention to finish and detail, I doubt any new owners are going to use the craft as a fishing platform: “Hey mate, keep your prawns off my new upholstery!” On the other hand, the 262 would no doubt be a nifty wake and watersports craft with a generous swim platform, drop-down SST ladder, and tow-pole located aft of the big sun pad. One standout feature relating to watersports is the wet-gear storage that uses the engine room to dry the stored items. There is also a hand shower located at the swim platform and a large, underfloor storage area designed for long items and boards.
The Cobalt has plenty of well-considered stowage areas including a huge, hinged space forward of the helm large enough to take a dozen life vests and all my camera gear. The 262 also features plenty of drink holders and stowage for small items behind the seats and in the dash, plus a large drinks cooler concealed under a seat behind the helm. The craft also has well-built and easy-to-stow bow and cockpit tables and a stereo system located inside the dashboard glove box.
Other standout features include the electronic engine hatch lift, transom trim switch, dual batteries, and the automatic engine room fire suppression system. The clip-down carpets are removable for easy cleaning and the insides of most stowage areas are lined, making cleaning easy.
The Mercruiser 377 MAG (6.2l) 320hp powered the Cobalt 262 out of the hole with ease, and she sat flat throughout the process. The Cobalt’s wake was quite modest for a 2.5t boat, but still enough for some wake fun—keeping in mind that a small wake is a sign of efficient hull design. I was quite surprised when James from JD Boatshed circled Beau and I in the photo boat to get some shots—normally when I set this up, the photo boat quickly gets knocked all over the place but in this case the turbulent waters were quite modest.
The helm featured stitched, stainless and timber finishes and offered a generous array of engine instruments including a GPS/plotter. One option I have seen on other Cobalts but absent on this vessel was the captain call button, which reminds the skipper and onlookers through the exhaust that the craft is powered by a burbling V8!
The day was a quite windy but the waters were smooth and in these conditions we found a slow cruise speed/wake speed around of 21 knots at 3000rpm, a fast cruise speed of 31 knots at 4000rpm and then flat out the 7.9m Cobalt nudged 40.5 knots, which was a lot of fun. The helm seat featured a bolster offering a choice of driving positions and views. At speed, the vessel’s bow lifted gently in response to some leg trim and then was able to take quite aggressive turns with the leg trimmed in on approach with no cavitation. This was all supported by ample power and acceleration from the 320hp Mercruiser/Bravo 3 leg.
Well, Cobalt, you’ve done it again. With gleaming red topsides and sleek inspirational lines, the midsize $174,000 Cobalt 262 will no doubt be nautical eye candy to many an aspiring luxury power boat owner.
The Cobalt 262 was powered by a single 320hp 6.2l petrol Mercruiser 377 Mag and a Bravo 3 leg.
RPM – Knots
1400 : 6
2000 : 8
2500 : 14
3000 : 21
3500 : 26.5
4000 : 31
4500 : 35.5
4800 : 40.5
LOA : 7.8m
LOA with swim platform : 8.41
Beam : 2.59m
Height overall with arch or tower : 2.49m
Draft drive up : 0.53m
Draft drive down : 0.94m
Deadrise : 21′
Weight with sm. block engine : 2,461kg
Water : 38 litres
Fuel : 276 litres
Max capacity : 12 people
Price as tested : $173,000