2023 Formula 270 BR

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Rick Layzell

Formula 270 br running (1)

2022 marked the 66th Anniversary of Thunderbird which is the parent company of Formula boats. Like most brands, Thunderbird & Formula have gone through a series of acquisitions and ownership changes over the years. Their history is long and impressive. The name that has been around since the early days is the Porter family -- with Scott Porter currently sitting at the helm of the family-owned business. The company now builds their exceptional craft from an impressive 575,000 square foot plant in Decatur, Indiana.

Our team was excited to be granted the opportunity to test one of Formula’s proven rock stars – the 270 BR. It is the extreme attention to detail and their unique approach to everything from their paint to their hardware that sets Formula apart. We were pretty pumped to be heading out with only mild winds and a 26 degree C (79 F) test day.

Let’s start outside the boat. The gelcoat process incorporates a base clearcoat graphic process that will never chalk, fade, or need to be buffed. This is followed by a multi-stage process that creates exceptionally brilliant metallic designs. I can honestly state that I have never seen a boat ‘come alive’ as the 270BR did when the blue skies and bright sunshine went to work. She was stunning. You’ll also find zero accent tape of any kind anywhere on your Formula, and the colour choices and options are as wide or as narrow as your heart desires. Check out the Formula Flex program to build your boat, your way.

From cleats to storage hardware, to windshield trim to the vinyls, to the type of thread used in the double stitching -- the attention to detail and the commitment to quality is everywhere you look. It’s evident that Formula’s R&D teams work in harmony with quality control under the watchful eyes of the Porter family to ensure that these first 66 years are just the beginning.

The interior of the 270BR is built for family memories and entertaining moments. Her bow section incorporates centre mounted retractable armrests, endless leg room, and is readily adapted into a giant playpen by adding in the available filler cushions and backrest. Storage is abundant, freeboard is excellent, and there’s a one piece stainless steel handrail to port & starboard.

Moving into the central cockpit the helm is a driver’s dream come true with a beautifully angled, moulded dash, polished instrument panel with chrome-bezeled gauges, and perfectly placed rocker switches. The extra wide seat incorporates a flip-up bolster to accommodate your favourite driving position. Moving to the port side, the co-pilots seat is ultra-comfortable with ready access to a generously sized glove box, the primary base of the sound system, charging ports and beverage holder (noting that there are seemingly endless cupholders throughout the interior). Grab the sturdy door handle to open access to the beautifully finished head compartment where the attention to detail continues – I was pleased to see a port side window, overhead lighting, and our test boat featured a porcelain head unit with a 13 gallon holding tank.

Rear of the helm is located a generously sized L-shaped lounger, flip the helm and passenger backrests forward and the 270’s conversation area is enormous. Creature comforts are everywhere including a beautifully finished dinette table. Families seeking moments to unwind while the kids go for a swim will find the transom area designed with this in mind. The double rear-facing lounger is absolutely huge, affording clear viewing of our swimming guests and sheer comfort for those seeking a spot to just chill. The swim platform on our test boat included the extended platform with a unique automated drop-down seat/step that dips below the water line. The platform was trimmed with a 316 SS rail that protects the fibreglass, and the starboard side of the platform incorporated a tastefully finished transom gate for easy egress in and out of the craft.

Moving away from the docks (finally) and seizing my opportunity at the helm left me grinning from ear to ear. Powered by a Mercruiser 8.2L HO powerplant our 6,525 lb (2,960 kg) boat found her way to a top speed of 50.3 mph at 4,800 RPM. Top speed however is rarely my primary goal as we know owners are more in tune with cruising speeds. On our test day with three passengers on board, camera and safety gear, half a tank of fuel and a bit of building boat wake, we enjoyed cruising at 24 mph and 35 mph at 3,050 and 3,700 RPM respectively.

My favourite moments were realizing how much this 28’ 5” (8.66 m) boat (incl. extended swim platform) wanted to play and how incredibly well this exceptional hull responded to everything I threw at her. At a variety of speeds, the 270 BR tracked perfectly in both mild and harsh turns to either port or starboard, she gave off zero hull slap noise and she readily leapt from a cruising speed to a wide open throttle moment.

The Formula name sits rightfully in the upper echelon of boat brands and the 270 BR is a shining example. She features a never-ending list of exceptional craftsmanship backed by engineering passion. She is a stunning example of why 66 years truly is just the beginning for the iconic company. I look forward to seeing what Formula has in store for their future and any owner would be proud for years to see their Formula resting at the dock.

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Length: 27' 8.23 m
Beam: 8'6" 2.59 m
Dry weight: 6,525 lbs 2,960 kg
Draft: 3'4" 102 cm
Fuel Capacity: 101 US gal 382 L
Base Engine / Drive: Mercury 8.2L HO 430 ECT
Engine HP: 430
Fuel Type: Gas
Deadrise: 22
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