What we think: Bayliner is happy to say it offers the most affordable boating opportunities on the water. With that in mind, we stepped onto the 340’s wide, nonskid transom platform and through the boarding door with a critical eye toward shortcuts. What we found was practical, affordable, easy-to-maintain fun.
The fun starts in the cockpit — all on one level so there are no steps. That makes the area wide, easy to navigate and roomy for a large day crew or a small travel crew. The helm offers an expansive view all around, and the seat is positioned so flipping up the bolster makes stand-up driving equally comfortable. Swivel the seat back and it joins the cockpit seating circle, which wraps around the cockpit from helm to portside console.
Instrumentation and navigation equipment is laid out efficiently in tiers — all fully visible over the helm and easy to reach from the seat. When we punched the throttle, the engines gave a hearty response, planing out in eight seconds and holding their bite in strong turns. Trim tabs are standard, but we never employed them for our test drive — no need to do so.
In the cabin, we found plenty of headroom for adults and all the homey amenities to make the 340 livable for a weekend or a week. Even the aft cabin has a stand-up entry, making it easy to slip into the queen-size sleeping berth. Efficiency continues in the engine compartment, where roomy access to twin power plants, an optional genset and all plumbing means a minimal effort will be spent in maintenance and more in fun, exactly what Bayliner engineers intended.
Who should buy it: The simple and efficient design of the 340 is for those who actually want to cruise. Everything on board is ready for the sea and adventure, and the price tag leaves cash left over for long-range fuel.
Vital Stats * Length Overall: 35′ * Beam: 11’6″ * Dry Weight: 12,900 lb. * Seating/Weight Capacity: Yacht Certified * Fuel Capacity: 175 gal. * Max HP: 750 * MSRP: (w/ T-5.0L MPI MerCruiser Bravo 3 T-260 hp): $147,108 * NMMA certified: Yes
* T-5.0L MPI MerCruiser Bravo 3 T-260 hp — $147,108
* T-350 Mag MPI MerCruiser Bravo 3 T-300 hp w/SeaCore — $158,215
* T-MX6.2L MPI MerCruiser Bravo 3 T-320 hp — $159,987
Also consider …
Max HP: 520
The 300 still offers comfortable living space for a weekend trip and the occasional longer cruise in an economical package that performs well on standard power.
Max HP: 320
The 275 gives new cruiser confidence in handling thanks to its compact size, yet offers fore and aft berths for comfy overnighting for four people.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Twin MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI, Bravo 3 * Test Prop: 14.25 x 24 x 3, 15.5 x 24 x 3 stainless steel * Test Load: People (600 lb.); Fuel (100 gal.) * Top Speed: 41.8 MPH @ 4,800 RPM * Time to Plane: 7.7 sec. * Time to 30 MPH: 15.2 sec. * Minimum Planing Speed: 21 MPH @ 3,000 RPM