Made the List Because: In October 2009 our seasoned staff concluded that the 242 Limited S “acceleration was so startling and top speed so satisfying ‘droll’ gave way to smiles.” Yamaha has always been strong in three other areas: integrated engineering, fit and finish, and reliability. But in the new 242 Limited S, the integration of multifunctional bow seats gave the option of thrilling roller-coaster views, luxurious reclining seats or a full sun pit. Adaptability didn’t stop there — the passenger cockpit seat flips forward for a comfortable aft-facing lounge or flips back leaving both ample seating aft and a companion seat facing forward. Then there are electronic controls — cruise assist, Yamaha calls them — that let the captain choose any planing speed by toggling up or down eight 100 rpm increments to fine-tune the automatic throttle setting for skiing, wake or economy. Plus, no-wake mode engages at slow speeds, giving hands-free control. Coupled with Yamaha’s exclusive and proven topside access for cleaning out jet pumps, these enhancements become hard to ignore.
Lasting Test Impression: We hit planing speed in 2.5 seconds and 30 mph in 4.5 seconds. Maneuverability gave us butterflies in the turns. We hooked up and came around so crisply at high speeds that we quit trying to blow it out.