Electric grills are all the rage, with each new 2008 express cruiser I test boasting the presence of one of these snazzy burger burners. The V458's grill installation is the best I've seen, not just because it's mechanically sound and electrically robust, but because it's on the transom. The others I've seen are in the wetbar, near the arch, or under the canvas or hardtop. Scorching and accumulated grease buildup on the underside of a hardtop or canvas are concerns I've voiced often. The optional ($27,692) hydraulic lift platform installed on my tester was 6' wide and covered, like the cockpit, in Flexiteek synthetic decking ($7,692). Including the standard, integral platform, which carries hull running surface under it, you get 12' of dance floor, party space, sundeck, whatever you want to call it aft of the cockpit.
This monstrous platform setup flows into the best arranged cockpit for a party I've seen. Imagine guests milling about the grill, noshing snacks while watching fish swim in the glow of the underwater lights ($4,000). Others are in the aft cockpit, some with elbows on the massive wetbar, and others splayed around the plush lounge. Members from either crowd can easily move to slap a back or enjoy a quiet aside with yet another group milling about the helm deck, with its cool dinette-style convertible companion lounge.
Belowdecks are two full staterooms, each behind raised-panel doors, and two full heads. Off the bat, I didn't like the drainage in the master head-a puddle remains after your shower is done. And access to the shower sump is difficult, compared to that aboard the Formula or Tiara's 4700 Sovran ($824,000 with twin 670-hp Cummins QSM-11 diesel inboards). The single-piece carpet runner would be better if it were divided into several sections to ease getting at service hatches in the sole. Finally, evidence of cost savings can be seen in the wood-look Formica cabinetry and bulkheading. Both Formula and Tiara use real wood laminate in these applications.
None of that should kill the deal-remember, you're saving $200K. Besides, the V458 has two full heads. The master is a split arrangement with the shower room to starboard and the residential-style commode and vanity to port. Aft, the WC is all in one room and stylized by a dropped light fixture and a fiddled, gloss laminate vanity. Full-length mirrors? Natch.
The salon's hi-lo table is solid wood and converts to a berth in a snap. There's also brushed-chrome sconce lights, solid-wood edge banding, a companionway hatch screen, a double sink in the galley, and skylights. All contribute to making the V458's cabin pleasant to be in and functional to live in. With its great platform, great performance, and great price, you gotta check it out.
Extra Point: Voltage sensitive relays, or VSRs, keep the batteries charged better than isolators and without the need to fiddle with switches.