The new CS3 from Cobalt Boats is truly a new design from stem to stern. Cobalt designed the CS3 to be a gateway boat the way the 3 Series is to the BMW line of cars. That is to say, Cobalt did not skimp on quality and performance to build a bowrider with a more affordable sticker price.
You can see that at the dock with the CS3’s sporty profile and graphics. The swim platform extends well aft of the transom and features Cobalt’s signature flip-down swim step. When actuated by a simple stainless-steel lever, the swim step drops down to create a seat or step in the water that makes for easy reboarding after a towing session or a swim at anchor. Note, too, how the swim platform is protected on either side by integrated L-shaped fenders — they look like hockey sticks — with stainless-steel rail inserts. These help both first-time and veteran boaters keep their hull sides free from dings in the gelcoat, or worse. Also note there are two transom walk-throughs, one to either side of the sun pad mounted on the engine hatch, so access to the swim platform and that flip-down swim step is quick and easy, with no climbing necessary.
Once inside the cockpit, you’ll note the spacious feel of the interior. Cobalt achieves this with its Free Space Reclamation process during the build, which adds nearly an extra foot of interior width to the cockpit. The process works by shaving excess materials off both the hull and deck in the mold and building to precise tolerances. There’s seating along the transom and both gunwales, with an adjustable backrest on the port console seating so the co-pilot can face forward or backward. Anyone tapped for spotter duty during a tubing, skiing or boarding session will appreciate this handy feature. The full windshield keeps everyone in the main cockpit protected from wind and spray, and the optional sport arch adds shade from the sun.
So you have high expectations in terms of performance? The Cobalt CS3 does not disappoint. When paired with the 300 hp Volvo Penta sterndrive package, it topped out close to 50 mph. Planing speed was particularly impressive, taking just 2.9 seconds from a dead stop. It reached 30 mph in a zippy 5.5 seconds. That’s a lot of oomph out of the hole. More important for the captain, the boat tracks true at low speeds, carves graceful, sporty turns at 30 mph, and handles any lake chop thrown its way without any discernible pounding, flexing or rattling.
Comparable Model: Sea Ray 230 SLX