The first thing we did when we boarded this beauty was to lift the engine hatch beneath the stern sun pad. The gleaming 520 hp Mercury Racing 8.6L sterndrive motor was exactly the same red as the powder-coated engine compartment, and we thought that was a fitting PlayCraft tribute to the heritage of the renowned racing brand. And for after-hours admirers, the engine compartment is lit softly with red LEDs.
After walking along the spacious deck and admiring the powder-coated side gates gleaming in the sun, we then turned our eyes back inboard to the bold, stitched-in upholstery graphics with the red “X” and checkerboard pattern. That X-Treme X is even welded into the powder-coated side rails for a radical, sporty look. We wouldn’t have this Powertoon any other way.
When we snapped the throttle forward, it hit 20 mph in five seconds and topped out at over 61 mph; that’s a result of both horsepower and design. PlayCraft cleverly welded in pontoon steps, a process that took some time to perfect and, so far, no other pontoon company has imitated. The steps aerate the bottom under the tubes, breaking up friction from surface tension. Their U-shaped flat tops give the boat an extra-firm stance, eliminating flex by eliminating the brackets that are used in other pontoons to join the tubes and floor beams. One more solid touch is the full-length, one-piece plywood deck, which is protected from rot and clearly capable of resisting the twisting and bowing found in lesser pontoons.
Special touches at the helm include Imco steering, the standard in race-ready helms that offer a rock-solid, ball-and-socket helm-shaft connection to the dash.
We were sold on the wakeboard arch, even though it shaved a few miles per hour from the boat’s previous speed clocked in the 2015 Lake of the Ozarks Lake Rescue Shootout. It’s smiles per hour that count.
*PlayCraft’s patented integrated rear-entry steps make reboarding easier and safer than any other system.
*Side panels and gates are raised above the deck one-quarter inch for easy draining and drying following washdown.
*Color-matched engine compartment and LED lights make this a great showpiece.
How We Tested
Engine: MerCruiser 8.6L 520 hp sterndrive
Drive/Prop: Bravo Three/XR 25″ stainless steel propset
Gear Ratio: 1.81:1
Fuel Load: 40 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Unavailable (at press time)
PlayCraft Boats Richland, Missouri; 573-765-3265; playcraftboats.com