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2021 Malibu M220

Delivering world class wakes and waves and a good ride.

February 12, 2021

Overview

Following the success of its flagship M240, Malibu sought to deliver the same performance and amenities in a smaller form. The M220 fits the bill, and unlike its bigger sibling, it can be customized with a variety of factory options, giving buyers more choices—and price points—from which to choose. Most importantly, the M220 is built on the acclaimed M hull, which delivers some of Malibu’s best wakes and waves for riding.

Malibu M220 running on the lake
The smaller sibling to the M240, this “little” 22-footer delivers world-class wakes and waves while offering a comfortable, high-end ride. Tom King

Engine

Malibu manufactures its own line of Monsoon marine inboard engines. We toured the facility where these are built and tested and you can learn more about them at: Monsoon Engine Factory Tour.

Our M240 test boat was powered by a Malibu M6Di model, rated at 430-hp and produces 460 foot-pounds of torque.

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Malibu M220 ready for watersports
The high freeboard results in a larger capacity, so you can take along a bigger crew. Tom King

Design and Construction

With its higher freeboard and squared-off bow, the M220 features a look that is distinct from any other series in the Malibu line. That higher freeboard, coupled with deeper seating, provides for a comfortable ride; and with the deeper riding characteristics of Malibu’s M hull, the M220 is smooth, even in choppier waters. The higher freeboard also allows it to rate for a higher persons capacity rating. (It’s rated for 15)

Interior and Accessories

Inside, the M220 features a plush interior with a custom stitching pattern that is continued within the soft-touch flooring, adding to the boat’s high-end feel. Creature comforts throughout the cockpit include a multitude of cup holders, charging ports and a trash bin. The wraparound seating is easily customized, with cushions to port and starboard that can be raised into aft-facing backrests. The bench slides forward and can convert into a rear-facing seat to watch the action on the water, or it can turn into a tabletop for holding drinks.

Malibu M220 Helm
Atop the dash is a 12-inch display that is easy to read in even the brightest conditions. Tom King

All those seats adjust to face aft for a reason: the fun-filled action that takes place on the water. The M220, with its unique hull, proprietary systems like the Power Wedge III and Surf Gate, and over 3,500 pounds of subfloor ballast, builds impressive wakes and waves. Malibu has long been known for creating consistent, symmetrical riding surfaces that feature some of the smoothest transitions in the game, and the M220 is no exception. The Power Wedge III, a foil mounted below the transom, pulls the back end of the M220 deeper into the water, thereby displacing more water to create larger wakes and waves.

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Malibu M220 cockpit
Plush seating abounds on the M220. Tom King

Surf Gate transforms the M220 from a wakeboarder’s thrill ride into a wakesurfer’s endless wave. With the push of a button, the vertically mounted tabs pivot outward, disrupting the water flow coming off the boat’s sides and helping form a large, clean wave. Adjusting the Power Wedge III allows riders to customize the wave to their liking. Pushing it to a deeper setting creates a taller, more vertical wave face. A shallower setting mellows the wave out and makes it longer. Both the Power Wedge III and Surf Gate are easily controlled by the captain via the helm or by the rider via Malibu’s Surf Band. This wearable device allows the rider to customize the wave shape by adjusting the Power Wedge, to switch surfing sides via Surf Gate, and to tweak the boat’s speed or even control the volume of the tower speakers.

At the helm, the captain is treated to an array of bright, intuitive touchscreens known as the Malibu Command Center. Atop the dash is a 12-inch display that is easy to read in even the brightest conditions, and it controls the M220′s riding functions while always displaying miles per hour and rpm on one side, and Surf Gate, Power Wedge and ballast settings on the other. A smaller screen to the left of the steering wheel allows for operation of audio and lighting, as well as other boat functions, like the blower and heaters. To the right of the steering wheel is a phone holder that features wireless charging. Where the M220 helm differs from other Malibu boat lines is the placement of the Command Center’s control dial, which is found just forward of the throttle. This simple knob allows the captain to adjust all the essential riding functions without taking his or her eyes off the water. Below the control dial is a smaller knob for the power captain’s chair, which is as comfortable as it is futuristic. Another wireless phone charger is housed in a cubby below the throttle.

Malibu M220 aft-facing seat
The bench slides forward and can convert into a rear-facing seat. Tom King

Storage for the 15 guests and all their gear isn’t an issue in the M220, thanks to tower-mounted board racks and board straps atop the large Bimini. Beneath each seat in the wraparound cabin is some of the deepest storage we’ve seen in a watersports boat. This is thanks to Malibu’s subfloor hard-tank ballast system.

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Read Next: More Malibu Boat Tests

Equipped with Malibu’s 430 hp Monsoon M6Di motor, our test M220 got on plane quickly and easily, even with the ballast filled and four passengers. Thanks to the Power Wedge III, which is automatically placed into lift mode before accelerating to wakesurf or wakeboard speeds, the M220 planes out with almost zero bow rise, keeping visibility clear for the captain.

How We Tested

  • Engine: 430-hp Malibu Monsoon M6Di
  • Drive/Prop: V-drive/Acme 1773 17″ x 14″ 4-blade nibral
  • Gear Ratio: 2.00:1 Fuel load: 45 gal. Crew Weight: 360 lb.

High Points

  • Helm upgrades make the boat more comfortable and easy to use, and windshield vents are a great addition.
  • Audio cues built into the Surf Gate system make it easier for riders to time transfers for surfing one side to another.
  • Surf Gate and the Power Wedge III combine to make a user-friendly system that’s easy to understand and adjust on the fly.

Low Point

  • Storage compartments above the swim step don’t drain.

Toughest Competitor

When shopping against the M220, be sure to check out the Supra SA (suggested retail price starting at $142,800), which is another top-of-the-line 22-foot wake-making machine that incorporates Supra’s patented AutoWake systems

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Pricing and Specs

Price: $138,667 (starting)
LOA: 23′0″
Beam: 8′6″
Draft: 2′8″
Displacement: 5,400 lb.
Ballast: 5,160 lb. (with Power Wedge III deployed)
Seat/Weight Capacity: 15/2,115 lb.
Transom Deadrise: NA
Bridge Clearance: NA
Fuel Capacity: 79 gal.
Max Horsepower: 430
Available Power: Malibu Monsoon M6Di

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Malibu M220 performance data chart
Malibu M220 Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

Malibu Boats Loudon, Tennessee; 865-458-5478; malibuboats.com

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