Manitou is known to push the performance limits of luxury pontoons, and the 25 X-Plode XT SHP doesn’t disappoint. Equipped with twin Evinrude 300 E-Tec outboards, our test version of the 25 X-Plode jumped onto plane in a quick 3.3 seconds, passed 30 mph a mere two seconds later, and topped out at a blazing 62.8 mph. Handling is equally impressive. Manitou’s top-of-the-line Sport Handling Package (SHP) closely mimics a V-hull by pairing its twin outer pontoons (25 inches in this twin-engine application) with a 27-inch diameter center tube that sits a full 5¼ inches lower in the water. The result is nimble, aggressive cornering, made almost effortless at the helm by standard power steering.
As thrilling as that performance was thanks to the design below the waterline, it was nearly eclipsed by the visual feast above. The all-fiberglass perimeter enclosure, raised helm and both forward and aft seat bases on our test model were painted a bold lime green, a hue that was carried over into the power sport arch overhead and E-Tec outboards aft. The fiberglass construction gives the boat stylish contours not possible with traditional aluminum fencing and panels. A billet forward entry gate, billet dash and Gussi wheel, and sleek stainless-steel rails and aft gate complete the cutting-edge appearance that will turn heads at the docks and on the water.
The X-Plode offers parallel twin lounges forward with convenient stowage below, twin bucket seats for captain and co-pilot, and clever lounge seating aft that converts from face-to-face dinette-style seats to rear-facing chaises with just a flip of the aft backrest. For 2017, the forward backrest adds power tilt to bring it more upright in the dinette position. At the helm, the captain is greeted by both Evinrude’s 7-inch Icon touchscreen and Manitou’s own standard Smart Screen, allowing him to simultaneously keep tabs on the engines and the ships’ systems. While he’s looking at that, everyone else on the water will be looking at the 25 X-Plode.
* Optional Optimus joystick control makes docking as simple as a video game.
* The JL Audio sound system includes both helm and aft-lounge controls, six chrome speakers, 800-watt amp, and 12-inch subwoofer.
* The SHP’s center pontoon provides not only performance but storage space, with an in-tube ski locker.
How We Tested
Engines: Twin Evinrude 300 E-Tec
Prop: RX4 15″ x 22″ 4-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 81 gal.
Crew Weight: 320 lb.
$172,500 (with test power)
Manitou Lansing, Michigan; 800-999-9788; manitoupontoonboats.com