Mastercraft X-35 Boat Review
Author: Warren Steptoe
Part wakeboat, part Batmobile, this is one watercraft that is built for fun.
Plenty of room for a chat on the bow lounge. The cockpit / aft lounge features a wet bar and fridge, plus an easily removable table.
Classy isn’t a word you’d ordinarily attach to wakeboard and ski boats, but it certainly applies to MasterCraft’s new X-35. Even the 6L 400hp V8 inboard (which delivers power to the water through a vee-drive) optioned on our test boat, goes about its business with style-dignity even. two words not normally associated with 400hp V8 engines!
Before the engine’s fired up though, the first thing that grabs your attention is the X-35’s wakeboarding tower. MasterCraft calls this anodised aluminium masterpiece ‘Zero Flex’-which presumably refers to its stability on the water. Unlike some wakeboarding towers that sway and groan and generally act as though they might fly off. This one doesn’t.
Perhaps the X-35’s most distinctive feature, however, is its bow. or bows, rather, because where your average boat hull comes to a point, the X-35 hull has two ‘points’. Instead of chines sweeping together to meet the keel line at the pointy end, as most monohulls do, they stay apart to form a distinctive ‘bat’ shape. This widens the entire bow area forward of the windscreen and adds substantial space in the forward lounge.
It also means the boat isn’t as trim sensitive with several people sitting forward, either at rest or at speed; and goes a long way towards ensuring the steering remains precise and predictable regardless of weight distribution.
Incorporated into the X-35’s unusual bow design is a folding telescopic boarding ladder that flips over and stows neatly underneath a moulded hatch when not required. Beaches are dear to the heart of Australian boating, sacred even. nosing up to the sand to board and disembark over the bow is what we do and partly explains the popularity of outboards and sterndrives in ski and wakeboarding boats built here.
The X-35 neatly sidesteps this with a vee-drive installation they claim draws significantly less water than an equivalent sterndrive or outboard. MasterCraft’s ‘Vector Drive’ can’t be tilted up for very shallow water in the same way the outdrives can. But then you can’t enter the average needle- nosed ski boat over the bows as effortlessly as you can with the MasterCraft.
For wakeboarding and skiing, the X-35 offers the added agility created by having the rudder aft of the prop-helped by rack-and-pinion steering, which redefines precise in a way sterndrives in boats this size can only aspire to. More efficient power transmission through the relatively simple gearbox of a vee-drive compared to a sterndrive’s complexity adds to the advantages of this boat.
A 5.7L 310hp V8 is standard in the X-35. Both the 5.7L and the 6L motor optioned in our test boat feature electronic multi-port fuel injection and digital throttle control. Both motors have cruise control fitted as standard.
Power delivery from the larger motor we tested is what the marketing people like to call ‘seamless’ and while your ears never doubt there’s a hulking big V8 under there, the characteristic rumblings remain muted, even at higher speeds.
Reading the 400hp (designated LY6) motor’s specs will surely impress dedicated petrol heads with phrases like ‘variable valve timing’, ‘dished high compression pistons’, ‘aggressive profile high lift camshaft’, and my favourite, ‘high flow low back pressure manifolds’. It’s from Indmar Marine engines.
Enough of the technical side of the X-35. Specs are fine, but you have to live with a boat, and we found the X-35 to be very liveable. Believe it or not, this boat is rated to seat 16 people! This’d be a little more crammed than most Aussies would consider comfortable. However, between the bow and cockpit lounges and helm and observer seating, there is certainly plenty of room.
The observer seat has a swing over backrest so it can face forward or aft. Aft of the helm there’s a small wet bar that includes a fridge, and a sizable table quickly converts the cockpit lounge to a dining area. The engine hides beneath the usual sunbathing pad and the transom itself features a wide boarding platform.
We should point out the propeller is way forward of people boarding here, tucked away underneath the hull as far as possible from the area of any ski boat where safety is paramount!
Pod mounted speakers were fixed on the tower in our test boat for a pumping onboard sound system. You may not notice two of them have lights incorporated for early morning starts and post sunset returns from a long day on the water.
It the helm is well executed with deep bucket seating and an adjustable soft- rimmed wheel. at a glance the X-35’s instrumentation looks conventional until you notice the central screen has control buttons. In today’s computer driven world, we’ve become blasé about computerised gadgets but even so, MasterCraft’s ‘Visual Digital Interface Gauge’ is an impressive piece of equipment. VDIG is the X-35’s brain-it manages and monitors various data including water depth, trim, ballast and speed, while providing reminders for servicing and alarms for low fuel, low oil pressure, low battery charge, high engine temperature and shallow water.
On the more mundane side, the interior carpeting is all clipped in place so it can be removed easily for cleaning. The hull self bails automatically, and in case you didn’t notice, there’s a shade top stowed inside a neat sock on the wakeboarding tower.
That about wraps up our experience of the MasterCraft X-35, the kind of boat you’ll only leave happily at the dock when you know you’re coming back soon.
An ‘LY6′ 6L V8 powered the boat.
With 2 adults in calm conditions on the Gold Coast it delivered the following results:
RPM – Speed (Knots)
1600 : 7.3
2000 : 9.1
2500 : 14.4
3000 : 19.5
3500 : 23.5
4000 : 27.3
4500 : 31.1
5000 : 33.4
5500 : 36.5
Length : 7.14m
Length overall : 7.65m
Beam : 2.59m
Weight : 2223kg
Standard power : EFI 5.7L V8 310hp
Optional power : EFI 6L V8 400hp
Fuel : 227L
Max persons : 16
Pricing : from $98,800, incl. trailer
Price as tested : $123,760 incl. trailer, 6L engine and other options