2024 Formula 290 Bowrider

The 290 Bowrider pairs eye-catching styling with sporty performance.

Formula’s 290 Bowrider is a bay cruiser, lake toy, party boat, and waterfront restaurant eye-catcher. The twin Ilmor 5.3L engine and dual-prop drive package is the icing on this scrumptious Formula cake. At a high of 5,300 rpm, we clocked 55.5 mph. Best economy came at 34 mph and 1.8 mpg.

Formula 290 Bowrider running on the lake
The 290 Bowrider is built for the long haul. Bill Doster

Formula’s deep-V hull planes in 5.9 seconds and hit 30 mph in 7.7. It turns sure-footed and deeply banked at any speed. With robust construction, painted hull stripes and fastidious rigging, the 290 Bowrider is built for the long haul.

Formula 290 Bowrider helm
Multiple displays make it easy to track engine data and navigate. Bill Doster

Inside, the bow features a hidden anchor windlass and locker, and a deep firm-but-comfy bowrider lounger replete with USB ports and cup holders for all. Removable cushions transform it into a sunbathing suite. The cockpit features a nicely designed and surprisingly roomy portside head. Plenty of storage resides inside the helm console.

Storage abaft is plentiful under the L-shaped reversible-back lounger, which provides high versatility. Position the backrest aft for a great rear seat. Position it forward to create a wide and comfortable sun pad. Under this lounger is a clean and well-executed engine space. All rigging is routed and supported properly and easily accessible.

Formula 290 Bowrider head
The cockpit features a nicely designed and surprisingly roomy portside head. Bill Doster

Those 5.3-liter Ilmor V-8s are direct-­injected with glycol-cooled exhaust, producing 365 hp each. They use the latest-generation GM engine block. Optionally, choose twin 6.2-liter engines or a single 7.4-liter package, available wearing your choice of either the Mercury or Volvo Penta marque.

Formula 290 Bowrider engines
The engine space is easy to access. Bill Doster

The helm resembles that of a jet ­aircraft. The Ilmor throttle and shift control adds a custom touch with precise actuation. I found the Ilmor ­Marine One-Touch joystick system precise and learning-adaptive. The Ilmor drives, made in partnership with Yanmar, use a multidisc clutch pack to achieve extremely smooth shifting. That clutch is vital to the precision, accuracy and smoothness of the One-Touch joystick system because when you engage one of the three different anchoring/holding modes, the drives will shift often to keep the boat in place.

Formula 290 Bowrider at anchor
Position the backrest forward to create a wide and comfortable sun pad. Bill Doster

High Points

  • Twin Ilmor 5.3L dual-prop powerplants with joystick. 
  • Modular seating makes the bow lounge convertible and versatile.
  • Aft lounge seat/sun lounge features a multiposition backrest and storage underneath.
Formula 290 Bowrider performance data
Formula 290 Bowrider Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

How We Tested

  • Engine: Twin Ilmor 5.3-liter GDI-S OPS 365
  • Drive/Prop: Ilmor dual-prop drive; Mercury Bravo III stainless steel (forward: 4-blade 15.25″ x 26″; aft: 3-blade C/R 13.75″ x 26″)
  • Gear Ratio: 2.18:1 Fuel Load: 70 gal. Crew Weight: 650 lb.

Pricing and Specs

LOA:31’9″ (with extended platform)
Dry Weight:8,950 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity:NA
Fuel Capacity:112 gal.

Formula Boats – Decatur, Indiana; formulaboats.com