Boat Test: 2023 Axopar 45 XC

A knifelike hull with a crowd-pleasing layout.

Axopar 45 XC cruising
Credit for the 45 XC’s striking looks goes to founding partner Jan-Erik Viitala with Navia designers led by Järkko Jamsén. Courtesy Axopar Boats

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Axopar’s 45 XC Cross Cabin is based on the same hugely successful formula as its smaller sisters, the 37, 28, 25 and the entry-level 22—but this one’s on steroids.

Deep walk-around decks and the chunky virtually all-glass cabin with its forward-raked windshield all shout “any-weather adventure.” Likewise, the slightly reversed stem and 900 heavy horses on the transom all scream “let’s go!”

That go-anywhere appeal was reinforced the afternoon we joined our test boat, the first one afloat, at the 2022 Cannes Yachting Festival. It glinted in the sunshine, complete with a kayak and an erect electric mountain bike strapped to the hardtop.

Axopar 45 XC overhead
The 45 XC is capable of carrying a variety of watersports equipment. Courtesy Axopar Boats

Interior and Accessories

The cabin is a Swiss Army knife of features. Stuff slides and glides back and forth, folds up and down, and pulls and pushes in and out, which extracts maximum functionality. For instance, that wheelhouse offers two big canvas sunroofs and a pair of sliding doors on both sides that can slide back to open the forward end of the cabin around the triple-seat helm and companionway, or they can slide forward to open up the lounge-diner end of the cabin to the side decks. If that’s not enough, when in the latter position, corresponding sections of the bulwarks can fold down on both sides to create bench seating, which makes the whole area feel so much more connected to the water.

What’s more, Axopar mounted the aft table and the wet bar/galley module on tracks so they can push forward or back as required. The table also rotates. It’s all about giving those aboard the ability to maximize the space according to the activity.

Axopar 45 XC helm
The helm offers great visibility. Courtesy Axopar Boats

The forward cabin is surprising in several ways. For starters, it is spacious, zoned with a lower salon with wraparound-sofa seating and an open-plan V-berth tucked into the bow, plus a good-size head-shower compartment. Windows and a skylight above make it nice and bright. But the real wow comes when you open the gullwing doors to flood the space below with even more light and fresh air, never mind provide another two ways to climb in and out. In the right anchorage and with a suitable weather forecast, that means everything can be left open—what a marvelous way to overnight.

On deck, there’s plenty of play space. Essentially, there are sun pads and loungers on the foredeck and various options for the aft cockpit, such as the U-shaped seating with a table aboard our test boat. An alternative cockpit layout features a high sun pad, topping an aft cabin module. We saw the aft cabin and can certify that it will comfortably weekend a couple. 

Axopar 45 XC cabin
There’s an open-plan V-berth tucked into the bow. Courtesy Axopar Boats

Our test boat had the maximum number of horses harnessed—triple Mercury Verado 300 outboards, pre-rigged at the factory in Poland.


With just two of us aboard, and despite Force 4 (15-knot) breezes and lumpy yard-high seas, we were topping out at 42 knots for most of the afternoon we spent aboard. The claimed 48-knot top speed seemed just out of reach until we found ourselves in a slightly flatter spot in the bay by accident, where the 45 XC could sit back more comfortably and stretch its legs properly. Our best reciprocal runs were 47.2 knots and 45.1 knots, respectively.

The bite from those triple Mercs is very satisfying. The boat’s on plane in just under 10 seconds and flat-out in around 30. The 45 XC will oversteer a bit if you let it, which to me always makes the driving experience all the more engaging. There were no obvious cavitation issues either, although you will lose some of the twin-step advantage briefly when cornering too tightly.

The fast-cruise sweet spot is around 38 knots, which translates to around 80 percent of the available rev range and an ultimate range of almost 270 nautical miles. Dropping the speed a bit has a minimal impact on overall range.

Axopar 45 XC fold out deck
Fold-down bulwarks expand the entertainment space. Courtesy Axopar Boats

Like the rest of the Axopars, prices are keen for what you get, which is a lot. Despite the cost of the trans-Atlantic delivery from the build site in Poland to Florida included, the base price for the 45 XC is $663,880. However, our boat had a good selection of options. All up, it totaled $832,720, but even that didn’t include the optional Seakeeper nor the aft cabin options. Just recently, Axopar also released similar US pricing for the various derivatives. For instance, there’s a fully open 45 Spyder version, which starts at $606,203, then there are three more open-with-roof types from which to choose—namely, the 45 T-Top, 45 Sun-Top and 45 Cross Top.

This 45 is not only up there with the big center-consoles in terms of performance, but it also offers the cabin practicality for even more ambitious cruising itineraries. That feature set makes picking a comparison boat difficult. Big, efficient, ready-for-adventure boats, such as MJM’s 4 model ($1.69 million with triple Mercury 300s), cost a lot more. These are also fitted out to a higher level of luxury and precision, and constructed with more costly materials and higher-tech processes. Where the Axopar is akin to a bright, airy, luxury Airbnb, boats like the MJM are more like custom homes. Both can serve as a base for your next boating adventure.

Axopar 45 XC aft seating
The aft cockpit offers ­U-shaped seating with a table. Courtesy Axopar Boats

How We Tested

  • Engines: Triple 300 hp Mercury Verado V-8 4.6-liter outboards
  • Drive/Props: Outboard/Enertia Eco 16″ x 19″ 3-blade stainless (port and starboard); Enertia 13.6″ x 21″ 3-blade stainless (center)
  • Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 280 gal. Water Load: 20 gal. Crew Weight: 350 lb.

High Points

  • Styling.
  • Versatile cabin, especially the sliding side-deck doors and the huge opening sunroofs.
  • Fold-down bulwarks that create mini bench-cum-balconies.
  • Opening hatch-style skylights in the forward cabin.

Low Points

  • Cabin is noisy, with a lot of rattling and squeaking, which we suspect is down to our boat being a preproduction prototype.

Pricing and Specs

Price:$663,880 (base); $832,720 (as tested)
Bridge Clearance:11’5″ (mast down)
Max Cabin Headroom:6’7″
Displacement:15,400 lb. (dry; without engines)
Transom Deadrise:20 degrees
Fuel Capacity:367 gal.
Max Horsepower:900
Available Power:Triple Mercury outboards to 900 hp; twin Yamaha outboards to 900 hp

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Axopar 45 XC performance data
Axopar 45 XC Certified Test Results Boating Magazine


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