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If your search criteria for a new pontoon includes big impressions at the local watering hole or sandbar, Bennington’s 25 Q Fastback should be a top choice. It presents itself as a commanding authority on seaworthy fun, with a big 28-foot-by-8-foot-6-inch party platform and a Yamaha 425 hp XTO Offshore outboard. As equipped, it’s a BMW 7 Series cruiser for the water.
Twisting a 16 5/8-by-19-inch Yamaha Offshore stainless-steel three-blade wheel, this package combines heart-pumping punch, strong top-end speed and good fuel mileage. Before the throttle is decked, passengers are advised to hold on. The 25 Q rips from a dead idle to 30 mph in just over 5 seconds. Acceleration is similar to a high-performance jet aircraft—smooth yet unyielding power. Top speed is 53.5 mph at 6,000 rpm. You won’t outrun the fastest watercraft and dual-outboard pontoons, but there won’t be many that can keep up. You trade some fuel economy with the Yamaha power upgrade because 425 four-stroke ponies drink a lot of fuel. At full song, it’s sucking 38 gph. Those interested in this rig might not care because most of the water time will likely be spent in the cruise range, from just on plane to perhaps 4,000 rpm. Our best cruise of 20 mph and 2,500 rpm revealed 3.2 mpg and 6.2 gph. With its 50-gallon tank full, that’s a 170-mile range leaving 10 percent in reserve, so you’ll be able to run a whole weekend of cruising and watersports towing without refilling.
Bennington’s Elliptical Sport Package (ESP) hull features 25-inch-round outer tubes and a 32-inch-elliptical center tube with lifting strakes. A direct benefit of this design is confidence and sure-footed handling. This big craft is smooth and event-free; the hull length spans wind chop and wakes with ease, while the wide beam makes it handle in turns like a smaller boat, turning flat without any scary banking, even when tight turns are cranked at speed. The lifting strakes are well-designed and well-placed, providing added lift and stability at speed, the hull rising out of the water and lifting clean as positive engine trim is applied.
Interior and Accessories
The 25 Q is made for big fun. It’s rated for 15 aboard and 4,650 pounds, so large party groups are not a problem, and the interior is massively spacious. Your guests will jaw-drop at the abundant luxury aboard. In the bow, our test boat’s smooth fiberglass swept-back perimeter enclosure was gelcoated in a deep Rossa Red with metallic white accents. Stainless-steel docking and navigation light housings accent the futuristic look. The perimeter of the deck is contoured with an ever-so-subtle radius to make docking easier—a small touch, but one that Bennington engineers have studied, and it works. Stainless-steel pop-up cleats are handy at the fore and aft corners of the deck to make tie-ups hassle-free. The Sport interior is a perfect match for the creamy gelcoat. It features a custom cross-stitched Simtex vinyl in Arctic Ice White, with Rossa Red accenting the perforated, diamond-stitched offset color.
The entire bow area is one huge wraparound lounger. At least six can relax here without crowding. USB ports, beverage holders and speakers for the Rockford Fosgate audio system are tucked back in a recessed pocket where things like phones can be handily stored, but not lost in between the cushions. In-floor storage uses the center ’toon interior for life jackets, watersports toys and the full boat cover. The captain’s console is highly engineered and designed; sleek and sweptback, it’s raised 4½ inches off the deck for visibility and features a low but effective Lexan windscreen, recessed legroom underneath, a Commander 7-inch digital info screen (9- or 12-inch Garmin or Simrad screens are upgrades), a custom tilt steering wheel with power hydraulic steering, and that killer Rockford M2 sound system with a subwoofer, eight speakers and 1,050 total watts of output. Twin reclining, swiveling and sliding captain’s chairs fit the captain and first mate, while an optional ottoman (housing a cooler inside) lets the mate put their feet up.
Astern, twin facing curved loungers make up the aft conversation pit. The aft deck features the heavily beefed-up mounting necessary for the 900-plus-pound Yamaha V-8 outboard, with an extended platform for swimming and sunning.
Avalon’s 2785 Excalibur fitted with a Mercury Racing 450R outboard is 28 feet, 6 inches long by 8 feet, 6 inches wide, holds 16 aboard, and runs just under 56 mph with a dual-console layout. It retails for $169,482. Harris offers the Grand Mariner 250SL, which is 27 feet, 11 inches long and 8 feet, 6 inches wide. Rigged with a Mercury 300 hp Verado outboard, it hits 47-plus mph and sells for $155,017.
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Quality is a word used often when describing Bennington’s products, and it aptly describes the design, build and rigging of this boat. Duck your head under the console, and you’ll see a clean assembly with neat wiring and hose routing. Look under the deck, and you’ll see quality welds and a high-strength aluminum superstructure. The furniture is of the highest grade, from the seat bases to the Simtex vinyl and high-durability stitching. In short, the Bennington 25 Q represents a solid investment in family boating.
How We Tested
- Engine: Yamaha 5.6L XTO Offshore four-stroke 425 hp
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Reliance 16 5/8″ x 19″ 3-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.79:1 Fuel Load: 20 gal. Crew Weight: 250 lb.
- Elliptical Sports Package uses the extra power of Yamaha’s 425 hp V-8 to its full potential.
- Lillipad Revo swim ladder is innovative and aesthetically integrated for the way for
people and pets like to climb back aboard.
- Raised helm positions the pilot almost 5 inches higher, enhancing sightlines for maneuvering, especially with passengers in the bow.
- Top quality like I saw aboard this Bennington costs top dollar.
- Bow storage-locker door is hinged on the bottom, creating the likelihood that simple gravity might inadvertently open it, or it could get stepped on. I’d rather see it hinged on the side.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$235,799 (as tested)|
|Fuel Capacity:||50 gal.|
|Available Power:||Single Honda, Mercury or Yamaha outboard to 450 hp|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation