2021 Sylvan M5

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Rick Layzell


Rarely are a team of designers and engineers given the blessing to create a new craft with their leadership challenging them to explore their inner ‘What if?’ The M5 series of incredible statement boats began their journey to the water based on that exact principle– and the Sylvan designers and engineers delivered in spades.

That challenge of ‘What if’ has led to one of the most opulent interior designs you’ll find on any waterway, and a list of standard inclusions that begin at high end and move upwards from there. Here’s a few examples of what you’ll find in every Sylvan M5:

  • Power assist steering
  • Gussi Italia Rondinella steering wheel
  • Babbito underdeck lighting
  • Kicker sound system with 6 speakers
  • Simrad NSS7 system
  • Premium 10’ bimini top
  • Black painted tubes
  • SPX PR25 Performance Package*

Everything about the M5 interior is the upper echelon of quality. The rich vinyls are soft and luxurious, and the play of multiple vinyl textures creates a visual flow that extends down to the flooring. One of the interior highlights has to be the standard side entertainment galley with both a sink and a wine rack– there’s some solid ingenuity at play here.

Mood lighting treatments feature RGB infinitely adjustable lighting in the cupholders and speakers, with additional cockpit lighting seemingly everywhere. Clearly our designer friends wanted us to spend longer evenings with our own friends– and I for one thank them for that!

At 27’8” long and carrying an 8’6” beam the M5 weighs in at a stout 4,400 lbs. Mercury’s 300HP Verado is more than prepared to take on the challenge as a harmonious pairing between boat and motor. The fact that our test boat was dressed in ‘Midnight’ fiberglass exterior wall colours showcased the black Merc on the transom nicely. Add in black tubes and the optional black foldable tower and our test boat had a formidable and sexy look at dockside.

*SPX PR25 Performance Package – If you’re climbing to the top of the pontoon mountain you demand the top chassis, and the engineers made no mistake here either. Featuring a performance shield, 25” transom and 100-gauge center tube with a built in 60 gallon tank (227 Litre), performance strakes, ski tow, and Sylvan’s ‘heavy hat’ undercarriage construction, the SPX PR25 package is the quintessential pairing for this premium pontoon. The SPX package promises better handling, a smooth more buoyant ride, and great turning radius– benefits any experienced Captain will appreciate.

Our test day was a late September day in Ontario with a balmy 8 degree Celsius ambient air and hefty winds pushing 2’ rolling waves down to the bottom of Lake Simcoe. I’d call this perfect test conditions! The question was, would she perform as promised?

The engineers deserve a robust round of applause as the package was simply flawless. While the waves were seemingly chasing us at points, the big Merc jumped us onto plane in under 5.5 seconds consistently. Remember folks, this is a 4,400 lb craft. Riding solo I found a couple of comfortable cruising speeds for our day at 21 & 27 MPH (3,600 & 4,000 RPM, respectively). As always, it is every Captain’s duty to take time to learn their craft knowing that results vary depending on conditions and crew.

Top speed was a pleasure at 41 MPH @ 5,100 RPM. I am dead positive there may have been a little more there, but in respect to the conditions of the day I chose not to push any harder. Seriously, 41 MPH in a vessel of this stature is simply fantastic!

Everything about the M5 is a success. Her dockside appeal is over the top, and admittedly the tan interior was a home run against the midnight black exterior. The layout speaks volumes in both design and engineering to readily give you longer days on the water. If you are performance minded, she’ll take up to 350 HP and her sexy looks will never cast any doubts about your decision.

If you ever wanted to know the results of ‘What if’ on a pontoon boat, then you need to see the Sylvan M5. This is a home run.

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Length: 27'8" 8.43 m
Beam: 8'6" 2.59 m
Dry weight: 4,400 lbs 1,996 kg
Fuel Capacity: 60 US gals 227 L
Base Engine / Drive: Mercury
Engine HP: 300
Fuel Type: Gas
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