Yamaha 242 Limited S

When we slapped the throttles, the acceleration was startling and top speed satisfying. Turns were so tight we could feel the Gs in our bellies.

When you look at a boat, the tendency is to get out in front of it to get a feel for its sleek lines, sharp entry and, maybe, the smiles on the captain's and passengers' faces. That's all there on the Yamaha 242 Limited S. But what snapped our head around — and, based on the similar designs we've already seen, the heads of Yamaha's competitors — is the transom.

It's the propulsion system and the low profile that let Yamaha accomplish this dramatic feature on its new 242. This is Yamaha's signature bilevel transom design, with padded seating and curved backrests over the swim platform. The area makes a perfect spot for comfortable socializing. Even more welcome to towed water-sports enthusiasts is the platform set closer to the water for easier reboarding — even without the integrated stainless-steel ladder. Since Yamaha debuted this transom concept in 2004, other builders have tried to match it and mostly failed.

Yamaha's new high-output twin engines and their low profile allow this feature. But engines are for making things go, and when we slapped the throttles on these, the acceleration was so startling and the top speed so satisfying, we had a ball. Nimble turns were so tight we could feel the Gs in our bellies, and acceleration was so astonishing we were careful to warn passengers before throttling up.

What sets the 242 Limited S apart is the integration of hull, engines and comfort — all accomplished by the Yamaha engineering team and bringing an added advantage to the owner. If there's a warranty issue, there will be no finger-pointing between hull and motor builder and accessory maker. Yamaha owns up to the process from stem to stern.

Extra Points
• Yamaha has the only jet pump cleanout access from above the deck, meaning you don't have to swim to extract weeds.
• The LS model's factory wakeboard tower is engineered in, not added on.
• GPS-powered speedometer provides accurate speed and fuelrange calculations.
• Yamaha's Aquatic AV stereo system is superb and includes a slide-away iPod dock.

Test Drive * Test Engine: Twin 110.6 CID Yamaha Marine gasoline inline-4 jet drives * Test Prop: 155 mm diameter, stainless-steel impellers * Test Load: People (405 LB.) Fuel (25 GAL.) * Time to Plane: 2.5 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 4.5 sec. * Most Economical Cruise Speed: 31.5 MPH @ 5,500 RPM, 10.8 GPH Vital Stats * Length Overall: 23'6" * Beam: 8'6" * Dry Weight: 3,519 LB. * Fuel Capacity: 50.2 GAL. * Price: $47,599 (w/ test power) * NMMA Certified: Yes