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The XStar name is one of the most iconic in towed watersports. Since its inception in the late ’90s, when MasterCraft took the acclaimed ProStar 205 model and geared it toward wakeboarding, the XStar has gone on to earn countless awards, tow the most prestigious events, and help propel watersports to unbelievable heights. For 2023, MasterCraft is taking the XStar to a new level with a series of upgrades that ensure it’s still a trendsetter, including an optional engine that has to be driven to be believed.
Starting with that all-new motor, MasterCraft and longtime marine engine partner Ilmor have worked to create the most powerful tow-boat engine on the market. The supercharged 6.2L monster packs a whopping 630 ponies and 665 pound-feet of torque. Needless to say, no load is too much for this motor to get the XStar up and on plane, be it wakeboarding or wakesurfing. With the ballast drained, the 5,800-pound XStar planes in just over 3 seconds and hits a top speed of 42 mph while burning 35 gph. Obviously, the XStar is not built to run all-out, but buyers will be happy to know the Ilmor V-8 burns an economical 7.5 gph at 2,500 rpm, which is 13 mph.
When it comes to the on-water fun, the XStar lives up to its pedigree. With 4,100 pounds of ballast and MasterCraft’s updated SurfStar system, the XStar pumps out wakes and waves that can go from beginner levels to full pro-rider status quickly and easily. Opt for MasterCraft’s FastFill system and that ballast can fill and drain in minutes. SurfStar features easy-to-use presets for wakesurfing and wakeboarding, so most riders won’t need to worry about adjusting anything; simply pick your setting and ride. For those who like to play around with the wave shape and style, SurfStar features a digital diagram on the helm display showing how the wakes and waves will change when settings are adjusted. For a mellow wave, start at 1; as you slide up the scale, the wave will become steeper and taller while adding more push. The three transom-mounted tabs that create SurfStar can be individually tweaked for further customization, and all settings can be saved as a custom profile.
Crewmembers are treated to one of the most comfortable rides on the market. Fit-and-finish has been a calling card for MasterCraft, and the XStar seating is a perfect example. The upholstery is soft and comfortable, and the triple-density foam used throughout the boat only adds to it, not to mention the ergonomic design of the seats. Seating is also multipurpose, thanks to a convertible rear bench that easily flips into the cabin to become rear-facing and a pop-up backrest on the starboard side. The sun pads on top of the engine compartment also convert into lounge-style seatbacks, great for when you take a break from riding. For added comfort, buyers can opt for the extended forward, aft and side shade fabric pieces.
At the helm, the captain is treated to an all-new power chair that is both comfortable and supportive.
A display at the top of the dash shows all the XStar’s vitals, while the touchscreen on the right makes controlling functions a breeze. Menus are set up for different activities: wakeboard, wakesurf, ski and chill. Simply pick what you want to do and let the XStar set things up. For audio entertainment, high-end Klipsch components are throughout, while SeaDek flooring keeps things comfortable and looking high-end.
Storage is ample throughout the XStar, including compartments underneath the unique gull-wing-style bow seats. Boards can be stashed in a variety of places, not just on the standard clamping board racks. Opt for the Z10 tower, which quickly raises or lowers with the push of a button. Integrating telematics via the MasterCraft Connect app is new and standard with all new MasterCraft models. It gives owners an easy way to check their boat’s systems and location, as well as search for nearby fuel and restaurants while out on the water.
If you’re looking to shop other boats, check out the Nautique G23. Its starting prices are in the same ballpark, but the XStar offers greater ballast capacity as standard equipment.
The XStar wasn’t just one of the first wakeboarding-specific boats created in the ’90s; it was the boat that changed the marketplace by introducing the pickle-fork bow design. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and the pickle fork is still a signature, although not nearly as pronounced and aggressive as the early iterations. The XStar looks great on the water, thanks to clean lines and hullsides, and MasterCraft’s signature sheerline. The attention to detail is hard to miss, as is the high-end performance and long-running pedigree. This boat is a must-see for any potential watersports boat buyer.
How We Tested
- Engine: 630 hp Ilmor 6.2L GDI 2.1 Supercharged V-8
- Drive/Prop: V-drive/Acme 18″ x 17″
- Gear Ratio: 2.00:1 Fuel Load: 10 gal. Crew Weight: 420 lb.
- With clamping board racks standard and an all-new Bimini with built-in board storage, the XStar can hold up to 10 boards.
- Stern-thruster control built into the throttle knob makes it easy for the captain to maneuver in tight quarters or pick up riders.
- Optional flip-down swim step makes boarding from the water easier; it also acts as an in-water lounge seat when the boat is anchored.
- Storage pocket adjacent to the glove box looks out of place and unfinished.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$239,883 (starting MSRP)|
|Fuel Capacity:||76 gal.|
|Max Horsepower/Torque:||630/665 lb.-ft.|
|Available Power:||Single 6.2L Ilmor V-drive inboard to 630 hp/665 lb.-ft. torque|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
MasterCraft Boats – Vonore, Tennessee; mastercraft.com