PDB Shootout: Bennington

24 RTSBA Bowrider

Published in the January 2020 Issue January 2021 Boat Test Monday, Feature

Quick Glance

If we offered some type of an “attention grabber” award, the new R-Series Bowrider would most likely win. With the unique step-down bow, it was the talk of the dock during our week of testing since everyone was curious and wanting to get a peek at the innovative floorplan.  

Highlights

From a distance, the low bow profile and sleek look draws you in. To access, there are two steps leading down to the recessed bow with stainless hand rails on each side. The advantages are many, including improved visibility for the captain to see over the passengers – it’s kind of like stadium seating for your pontoon. The permanent U-shaped seating creates an intimate setting for passengers and the two high-backed chaise lounges include adjustable headrests.

The secret to the design is that you’re basically sitting at floor level with your feet below the deck. This means traditional storage under the bow seats is not possible, but not to worry, Bennington found other ways to create room to store your items. Integrated into the bench seatbacks are storage areas with charging ports that are perfect for smaller items. Plus these storage compartments are easy to access from the dock, even with the cover on, because of the lower profile and view ports.

There are dual captain’s chairs with the same Rossa Red diamond stitch accent found in all the furniture. In front of the first-mate chair is a large multi-use fiberglass storage box. Directly across from that is a clean-looking dash at the captain’s fiberglass helm stand that is centered on a Simrad touchscreen with rocker switches below. We love the glove box on the right side, which is ideal for a phone with a USB, 12-volt and auxiliary port inside. Also at the helm, the captain can control the RGB lighted cupholders and other lights as well as the Rockford Fosgate stereo.

In the stern next to the multi-use Swingback lounger is another Rockford stereo unit with a USB port that can be accessed regardless of how you position the seating, such as a traditional bench or a rear-facing lounger. Below the lounger is a pop-up changing room that stands over 6 feet tall when open and there is also a small 3.5-foot square in-floor ski locker hidden here too. It’s separate from the larger in-floor ski locker that is 21 inches deep and over 4 feet long inside. To tie in the sporty theme, the optional fiberglass cladded arch completes the look and can easily be raised or lowered with a press of the button.       

Closer Look

Below deck are two round pontoons with a V-hull in the center. It’s similar to Bennington’s ESP package and it creates the recessed floor up top in the bow.

Performance                  

She handles extremely well and backs up the sporty look while comfortably reaching the 40 mph mark at full throttle with the Yamaha 300. Besides a quick zero-to-20 mph time of just over four seconds, the unique hull also helps the pontoon turn well in sharp corners. 

Final Thoughts

We’re happy to report this Bennington lived up to the pre-test hype by providing a unique and innovative look. The step-down bow will rightfully get a lot of attention, but this sporty pontoon has a lot more to offer, including a thoughtful floorplan from bow to stern with a lot of versatility.

Elkhart, Ind.
574-264-6336
www.benningtonmarine.com

SPECIFICATIONS
Number of Occupants: TBD             
Price As Tested With Power: $131.3K
Maximum Speed: 41.7 mph               
Wild Ponies: 300 hp   
No. of Gates: 2
0-20 MPH: 4.52 seconds       
Ladder Measurement: 3’ 9” deep

Why we love this boat…The recessed bow layout provides an unmistakable sleek look while adding advantages to the industry’s first bowrider-style pontoon.   

Just being picky…There are two separate in-floor storage lockers, but neither are long enough to store a ski. However, the main one is plenty big for wakeboards.   

NOTABLE STANDARDSVantage-Point Captain’s View, Integrated V-Hull Performance Pkg., Step-Down U-Lounge Seating in Bow, Port & Starboard View-Ports in Bow Rail, Integrated Bench-Back Storage, Sleek Low-Profile Bow Rails w/Recessed Bow Seating, Two High-Backed Chaises w/Adjustable Headrests in Bow, Voyager (G Style) Helm w/Access Door, Bennington Sport Interior in Metallic Silver & Carbon, Two Large In-Floor Storage Compartments, Vinyl Wrapped Fastback Aft w/Exterior Speakers, Stainless Steel Stern Gate, Cupholders, Diamond Stitched Luxury Recliners and Premium Stowable Bow Table.

OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT

Fiberglass port Storage Console, SS Bow Grab Rails, Power Cladded Sport Arch w/Speakers, Yamaha DEC, G07 Simrad Display, SS Corvina Steering Wheel, RGB Underwater Illumination and Fiberglass Port Console. Upgrade

VITAL STATS
LOA: 26’ 5”             
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: V-Hull Center
Dry Weight: TBD
Fuel Capacity: 58

TEST DRIVE
Engine: Yamaha 300
Cylinder Type: V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 256.3ci/300hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 1.75:1

RPM     vs.      SPEED    
800                  1.4                   
1000                4.2                   
1500                6.0                 
2000                8.0                   
2500                10.9               
3000                14.5               
3500                18.0                 
4000                24.3                 
4500                28.9               
5000                33.4               
5500                37.4                 
6000                41.7                  

PRICE
Price As Tested (Boat and Motor): $131,347
Base Price (Boat Only): $80,262

This article originally appeared in our 2020 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.  

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