It’s hard to turn heads in the go-fast ground zero of the West called Lake Havasu City, Arizona. But driving a neon Verde Lime green-and-black pontoon powered by twin Mercury V-10 Verado 400 outboards draws a lot of attention. The XP also features fiberglass pods and smooth vinyl side panels.
XP is the latest line of pontoons from Godfrey Marine, and subtle they are not. Our test XP 2700 W Twin radiated coolness, though the choice of onyx black upholstery might be considered madness by some. My first tactile foray used the same method as testing a hot iron—a quick touch with an index finger to limit the damage, though I did not lick it first. Its surface was tepid and about the same temperature as the pearl white upholstery on the boat next to it. Credit Cool Touch vinyl for living up to its name by using a textured surface to scatter the sun’s rays rather than absorb them.
Everything on the XP 2700 W Twin is pushed to the extreme. We fired up the standard RGB LED lighting, which added a festive glow as it morphed through the colors of the rainbow, synchronized to the beat of the JL Audio stereo, which has two 12-inch subwoofers and eight more speakers, not including the optional tower speakers. Some stereos need to play at the Spinal Tap “level 11” to sound full. While this system’s 2,600-watt amplifiers can match decibels with anything out there, it was the evenness of sound and sonic depth that proved its most impressive traits.
Firing up the twin V-10 Verado 400 hp outboards did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm. Using the standard Joystick Piloting for Outboards to back out of the slip, we headed under London Bridge toward Lake Havasu. Hammering the throttles spurred the XP to leap onto plane in 2.5 seconds and rocket to 30 mph in 5.7 seconds. During high-speed runs, the rpm failed to crack 6,000, which means it was probably a little overpropped. The V-10 Verado should peak out at 6,400 rpm. Although the XP 2700 W Twin reached 63.5 mph with four people on board, it’s likely that with the right props and lighter load, it should attain a top speed in the upper 60s. The near-26-foot-long XP 2500 models are single-engine-only (up to 450 hp), while the XP 2700 can be equipped with twins with up to 800 hp total. Twin Yamaha F300 outboards also are available.
Although conditions on test day were as calm as Walden Pond, the XP 2700 W Twin is designed to handle choppy conditions with its iMPACT+ Triple Tube package, which includes 27-inch outer tubes, with a 29-inch center tube that helps create a pivot point to make extreme turns a reality. The massive base also includes lifting strakes to help it get out of the hole quickly and ride high in the water. We engaged the standard Mercury Active Trim, a speed-based automatic engine-trim system with integrated GPS. This kept the boat riding level at all speeds.
Interior and Accessories
The driving position is fabulous, with a raised helm station and co-pilot seat that kept the line of sight clear, even when people were seated forward. The low-profile windshield (the “W” in the boat’s name) was low enough not to be a hindrance to vision, but it didn’t provide a lot of protection either. The futuristic helm included a standard 12-inch Simrad NSX touchscreen display set to the right of the leather-wrapped, hand-stitched wheel, along with a secondary 7-inch Enovation display set to the left of the wheel. Above the wheel is a digital tach and speedometer display that also shows fuel state and battery charge, and has a digital compass. Even the portside helm station gets an Enovation display, so the crew can battle to choose the next song on the playlist. Pontoon owners will appreciate little touches like the cooled cup holders.
For seating, all XP models feature the split-bench floor plan with four chaise-style lounges in all quadrants and a pair of jump seats at the stern for use when the boat is at rest. Curiously, the XP 2700 W Twin has a capacity of 12 people, while the shorter 2500 models have a capacity of 13. Most boats of this size, such as the Godfrey Sanpan 2700, have a rating of 15 to 17 people or are Yacht Certified, which means the number of people on board is left to the captain’s discretion. But then again, first class on an airplane doesn’t hold as many as coach either.
Finding a comparable pontoon is difficult, but Bennington’s 27 QSBAX2 9 ($317,000 when similarly equipped) comes close in matching the Godfrey’s level of sportiness, performance and luxury. The Bennington does sport a wider 10-foot beam compared to the XP’s 8-foot-6-inch width, but it is rated for 600 hp versus the Godfrey’s maximum 800 hp rating.
Looking for some attention? Well, you need not look any further than the XP 2700 W Twin. Bask in the limelight.
How We Tested
- Engines: Twin Mercury V-10 Verado 400 outboards
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/14.6″ x 23″ Mercury Revolution XP4 4-blade
- Fuel Load: 60 gal. Crew Weight: 820 lb.
- JL Audio sound system is first-rate and interfaces with the digitally addressable RGB LED lighting system.
- Chaise-style lounges in all quadrants have the perfect amount of recline and support for comfort.
- Standard Powered Action Tower makes it watersports-ready and provides 11 linear feet of shade coverage.
- Tall swim ladder at the center of the swim platform interrupts the XP’s sleek silhouette when in the up position.
- Only one floor plan limits owner choices of seating configurations.
- Surprisingly, the in-floor storage compartment isn’t a standard feature.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$338,438 (base with test power)|
|Draft (max):||3’2″ (engine down)|
|Tube Diameter:||27″ (outer); 29″ (center)|
|Fuel Capacity:||121 gal.|
|Available Power:||Twin Mercs to 800 hp total; twin Yamahas to 600 hp total|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Godfrey Pontoon Boats – Elkhart, Indiana; godfreypontoonboats.com