Reviewed by Richard Crowder
“It’s won Rider’s Choice awards for an amazing seven years in a row. It’s pulled more World Champions and official 1080’s than any other boat. The ultimate wake machine designed with one primary purpose, big air.” That’s how MasterCraft describes its X-Star, a hardcore wakeboarder tow boat, designed from the ground up as a wakeboard boat and is a Pro Tour official tow boat.
But the X-Star definitely is not a new model, although it shares the new interior designs, materials, colours, gelcoat, and graphics of new 2011 MasterCraft product. What caught the attention of Boatdealers.ca however, at the recent Toronto International Boat Show, was the X-Star on display prominently showing off not only its very obvious brand new Zero Flex Tower 5P, but less obviously, its Ilmor inboard V-drive powerplant.
The Zero Flex Tower 5P, or ZFT 5p for short, is a marvel of engineering, functionality, and pure beauty. With the flip of a switch, this electronic tower raises or lowers to three different positions. Lower the ZFT 5p all the way down for storage or for going under bridges, or raise it to its mid-level setting for a lower tow point or to reduce the exposure of the sun to onboard passengers by bringing the optional bimini top closer to them. The tower can then be raised all the way up for watersports. And the real beauty is, that no equipment on the tower has to be moved or removed at any level. Just up and down as you need to or want to.
This new tower is itself optional on the X-Star, but MasterCraft’s patented swivelling board racks are standard on it. You can also add speakers, lights, and/or your choice of a fully integrated bimini top. You can also add a high definition tower camera to follow all the fabulous aerials being tried out and demonstrated behind the X-Star and then play these videos on the standard MasterCraft B.I.G. screen right on the boat’s dashboard, or transfer the videos to your own computer via a USB port for the addition of music or for editing.
As this is being written, it has just been announced today that the Zero Flex Tower 5P from MasterCraft has been awarded an Innovative Achievement Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International at the opening of the 70th Annual Miami International Boat Show. Quite an achievement to be sure, and well deserved.
For many years, Indmar has been the supplier of inboard engines for MasterCraft, and for 2011, three Indmar power choices (plus their respective saltwater equivalents) are offered in the X-Star, including the standard power Indmar RTP VRS.
But now, Ilmor Marine, LLC of Mooresville, North Carolina has made an exclusive arrangement with MasterCraft to supply V-drive and direct drive engine/transmission combinations in three sizes of GM-based V-8’s ( plus the saltwater equivalent of each known as the Ocean Performance Series.) While the “Ilmor” name appears on the top of the intake manifold, “MasterCraft” is prominently displayed on the top of each custom cast iron, catalyst equipped exhaust manifold. The three engine sizes are: MV8 5.7L producing 320 hp, the MV8 6.0L at 382 hp (most probably the biggest choice for the X-Star), and the MV8 6.2L producing 430 hp.
Ilmor is not a new player at all in engine building or performance being founded in 1984 to build engines for the IndyCar Racing series. Ilmor has since counted over 225 IndyCar wins, 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, and 44 Formula 1 wins. In 2003, Ilmor turned its attention to the marine industry and created a unique high performance engine package based on the Dodge Viper 8.3L V-10. It can now claim several World Championships in offshore racing in both Powerboat P1 in Europe and with APBA/SBI in North America, utilizing this engine.
Ilmor has put considerable forethought, engineering skill, and obvious marine expertise into these recreational engines for MasterCraft with features designed for easy accessibility and easy serviceability. With the catalyst equipped exhaust, all engines are rated for Super Ultra Low Emissions and meet tough EPA, CARB, and EU emissions regulations. All engines come with three-year engine and five-year emissions warranties with extended warranties possible through your MasterCraft dealer.
This is all very exciting news from this most highly recognized and respected builder for many years of some of the very best in both professional and recreational watersports boats. The X-Star is one of a staggering complement of twenty-five MasterCraft models for 2011. Each has a purpose. One is just right for you.
|Length:||22' 3"||6.78 m|
|Draft:||2' 4"||71 cm|
|Dry weight:||4250 lbs||1932 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||53 US gals||201 l|
|Engine / Drive:||Ilmor MV8 6.0L/Inboard V-Drive|