Berkshire 25 SB Ultra Pontoon Boat Test

Berkshire's 25 SB Ultra embodies much of what is demanded of a modern pontoon boat.

Berkshire 25 SB Ultra
LOA: 25'10" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (max): 2'6" | Displacement (approx.): 2,690 lb. | Transom Deadrise: NA | Bridge Clearance: 5'2" | Fuel Capacity: 41 gal. | Max Horsepower: 400 | Available Power: Twin Mercury or Yamaha outboards to 400 hp | More Information: berkshirepontoon.comCourtesy Berkshire Pontoon

Berkshire’s 25SB Ultra hit 47.3 mph carrying five crewmembers and a near-full tank of fuel and reached 30 mph in just under 5 seconds. The 25SB Ultra also cornered and handled dockside maneuvers with grace.

Credit Berkshire for developing a pontoon ­geometry that enables such spirited performance and capable handling. Of note is what Berkshire calls the ­V-Lite Composite Deck. An aerospace honeycomb, it is said to be rot-free and also weighs as much as 50 percent less than plywood decks. Weight and power are key components of speed and efficiency.

It’s also notable that our test boat was powered by one of Mercury Marine’s new 4.6-liter V-8 outboards. (Yamaha outboards are also available.) In this case, a 250 hp Verado model engine, sporting the 5.44 HD gear case, propelled us, delivering a stingy 3.62 mpg at 23.5 mph. That’s an efficient cruising number.

Berkshire 25 SB Ultra
We appreciated the ­all-fiberglass helm console with its automotive styling and tilt steering.Courtesy Berkshire Pontoon

While I thought the brow over the instrument panel could have been longer in order to provide more shade for viewing the instruments and Murphy touchscreen installed at the helm, I found much to like about the 25SB Ultra.

Choose the aft-facing recliners so your crew can relax with a sundowner, watch the kids, and have front-row seats for the watersports action occurring in your wake. ­Upholstered in ­heavy-duty marine vinyl and constructed with robust, ­corrosion-resistant hardware, these should serve well for the long haul. A bow gate filler seat is optionally available.

Berkshire 25 SB Ultra
Bow seating is plush.Courtesy Berkshire Pontoon

Running the boat, we appreciated the ­all-fiberglass helm console with its automotive styling and tilt steering. Inspecting inside, we discovered wiring that utilized Deutsch connectors that are known for ­reliability and ease of service.

Our tester was an SB ­Ultra 3.0, a performance package including, among other things, SeaStar hydraulic steering and an optional electronic steering pump. Standard items aboard included a ­Murphy display with GPS mapping, speed, water temp and a radio.

Looking to create pontoon envy in your boating friends? Check out a Berkshire 25SB Ultra.

Berkshire 25 SB Ultra
Rear-facing seats offer a front-row view for the watersports action occurring in your wake.Courtesy Berkshire Pontoon
Berkshire 25 SB Ultra
The 25SB Ultra also cornered and handled dockside maneuvers with grace.Courtesy Berkshire Pontoon

High Points

  • Performance by design: roll-formed performance skin, V-Lite Composite Deck, fins, a pad, nose cones and more.
  • Seating proved comfortable, flexible and ruggedly built.
  • Deutsch connectors are just one mark of a quality electrical system.

Low Point

  • We would like to see a longer eyebrow to shade the instruments at the helm.

Toughest Competitor
The Berkshire's long standards list makes finding direct comparisons tough, but check out Bennington's 25SSXAPGP ($67,833 with a 225 hp Mercury outboard).

Price: $69,245 (base with 250L Mercury)

Available Power: Outboard

Berkshire 25 SB Ultra
Berkshire 25 SB Ultra Certified Test ResultsBoating Magazine

How We Tested
Engine: 250 hp Mercury 4.6 V-8 Verado
Drive/Prop: Outboard/14 3/4" x 16" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 (HD 5.44)
Fuel Load: 20 gal.
Crew Weight: 1,000 lb.

More Information
Berkshire Pontoon - Middlebury, Indiana; 574-206-8288; berkshirepontoon.com