Malibu Sunsetter VLX

June 14, 2001
Waterski Waterski

Setting the Pace
All-around epic performance and comfort.
Click on the link below to view the boat video shot during the WaterSki Magazine 2001 Boat Test.

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Waterski Waterski

WSM: Who is the Sunsetter VLX buyer?This is a boat for people who like water sports. When you pull up in a Sunsetter VLX, everyone looks in envy because they know the performance and they see the luxury. This boat doesn?t pigeonhole a certain type of person. At Malibu, we feel that a boat has to perform first, then cater to comfort and luxury.


What features stand out on this model?
This boat has the new Diamond hull this year. It provides better top-end speed, handling, slalom wakes and now, with the Wedge, it enables the intermediate to advanced rider to be totally satisfied. This is a great boat. It performs well and looks great. You get plush, wraparound seating, a swivel seat, new dash, optional headlights and dual tracking fins. Most V-drives don?t have tracking fins because they aren?t about performance. Malibu?s have them because we want this boat to track well and not roll up on its side when turning. It?s unusual to have all the performance components in this boat that we do, like servo gauges, rack-and-pinion steering and zero-friction throttle cables, but this is no ordinary Sport V.

Explain the benefits of the FibECs chassis system?
The main benefit is the fact that we through-bolt the engine on top of the chassis system, which disperses the load of the engine, drive train and prop vibration over a greater area. So, when you are in a Malibu you don?t feel the vibration. What people feel as a quality ride is partly due to the way the FibECS eliminates the drive-train vibration. When engines are cantelevered and lag-bolted, as other manufacturers do, you constantly have to align the engine. Once we align it at the factory, it?s rare to align it again.

Are there any other construction benefits?
The fact of the matter is that Malibus are overbuilt, period. They all have multiple layers of woven rovings and cloth supported with ceramic cores in areas that need thickness. Malibu is the most progressive boat manufacturer as far as laminations and gelcoats are concerned. The way we lay the boat up is important, but even more so is the way our boats are put together. That?s what really makes the construction. The hull and deck are put together with Plexus fusion adhesives, which chemically and molecularly create a stronger bond than the fiberglass itself. Along with ourselves, many of the respected builders like Baja, Cobalt and Formula are using this. We?re using it because it?s been proven in offshore applications. One of the most important aspects about the construction is that our hulls and decks are blueprinted, so they fit exactly on top of each other. You don?t have the big, giant gaps you see in other boats, where manufacturers grab a deck and a hull and slap them together. We have strict tolerances on the hull and deck built together.


Super Specs
Length: 21 ft. 0 in.
Beam: 91 in.
Fuel capacity: 35 gal.
Seating capacity: 11
Test prop: Malibu 13.5×17.5 Custom CNC
Test engine: Indmar Monsoon 325 hp MPI/EFI
Base Price: See Local Dealer

On the Water
Top speed 49.5 mph 5,500 rpm
Accel to 22 4.12 sec.
Accel to 36 6.36 sec.
Accel to 30 to 36 3.16 sec.
Noise levels (db)
Idle 59 D 55 R
22 mph 78 D 84 R
36 mph 75 D 83 R

The VLX is a great recreational slalom boat that is big and roomy in the cockpit area and can handle up to eleven passengers and their equipment. Wakes are a bit softer at speeds of 32 mph and below and will be well received by beginning skiers. This boat skis far better than your average V-Drive.


With no ballast system, no tower and a plush, Cadillac-like interior, you don?t expect this to toss up a great wake. But it does. Without any weighting or the Wedge, this is a good intermediate wake ? clean, solid and fun. Flip the Wedge down and you have the trademark peaky, spinner-friendly wake the Wedge is known for. With ballast, you boost the Sunsetter into the stratospheric range. This is as versatile a wake as a boat can make.

Chill Factor
The swivel driver?s seat, rack-and-pinion steering and 5-inch gauges with servo pickups make the driver?s task a breeze. This isn?t the biggest interior in Malibu?s V-drive stable, but it has all the slick features like the killer three-piece sun deck, the stowable cocktail table and the air lumbar driver?s seat.

Powered by the multi-port, fuel-injected Monsoon 325hp or the optional gutsy Corvette LS1, the Sunsetter VLX is another big-time Malibu winner. If you can somehow overlook the superior craftsmanship and all Malibu?s topside amenities, you?ll discover that Malibu is pursuing water-sports excellence with this boat. It runs on the SV 23 Diamond Hull, the same hull that carries the Response to world records. If you find it comforting having a boat that is extremely fast, exceptionally classy, yet capable of outstanding wakeboarding and solid slalom performance, the Sunsetter VLX is the obvious choice.


Contact Information
1 Malibu Ct.
Merced, CA 95340-6432
Phone: 209-383-7469
Fax: 209-383-0499
Malibu Dealers


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