Formula has been long heralded as a brand that goes a step beyond, and the 290 BR is proof. See it from afar and your eye can’t help but notice the gleaming hull sides, the result of Formula opting for Imron paint for colors and graphics. Step closer and note that the deck and cockpit liner are part of one continuous mold as is the head compartment, the latter finished off with a genuine Corian countertop and porcelain head. The attention to the smallest details extends to seat cushions that are designed to stay in the open position without gas shocks when accessing stowage, double-needle stitching and Torx fasteners on the dash, linked latches on the walk-through windshield, and Formula’s infamous “clocking” of screws in the rub rail.
The second-largest model in Formula’s bowrider line, the 290’s interior has been redesigned for 2016 with an eye on versatility. Stretch out on the deep bow cockpit’s wrap-around bench, or remove the filler cushions and enjoy two forward-facing seats in front of each console. Pack in the passengers on the main cockpit’s 12-foot-plus L-shaped lounge where they can sit around the optional dual-height table or, if they tilt the portside forward backrest toward the stern, the first mate gets a private seat behind the console. A sun pad faces the optional extended swim platform, the latter a massive 6 feet 6 inches wide and 3 feet 6 inches deep. Pivot the cockpit bench’s backrest forward and you’ve got a 5-foot by 3-foot-8-inch waterside sun bed with a headrest.
The 290’s formidable combination of length, weight and the deep 22-degree deadrise at the transom make it more than able to handle the toughest lake, as well as lumpy offshore conditions. With twin MerCruiser 377 MAG engines and Bravo Three sterndrives, we noted a 7.7-second time to plane and reached 30 mph in less than 2 seconds more. We wrung out a top speed of 52.7 mph. En route, the boat handled with finesse, displaying an agility that belies its size.
*Plush, feature-rich helm station includes a dual-position double-wide seat.
*Color-coordinated cockpit table comes with a Corian top, filler cushion and polished drink holders.
*Popular options include a stainless-steel sport arch, extended swim platform with seat, and starboard wet bar with Corian countertop.
How We Tested
Engines: Twin MerCruiser 377 MAG ECTs
Drive/Props: Bravo Three/26″ propsets
Gear Ratio: 2.2:1
Fuel Load: 42 gal.
Crew Weight: 570 lb.
$216,880 (with test power)
Formula Boats Decatur, Indiana; 800-736-7685; formulaboats.com