Every few years Glastron comes out with a new series. The new GLS Series doesn’t simply replace a prior series and have a new moniker; it raises the bar for expectations for the Glastron line. These are not budget boats with basic features; these are actually upscale with amenities that make you feel like you are in a bigger boat that costs thousands more than a Glastron. The 255 has lots of beefy stainless steel, including some of the toughest looking engine vents I have seen. You are not going to break these and have to replace them!
Sitting at the helm, your primary gauges are 5” gauges with a spot in the center for a small GPS. Wood-look accents combined with etched stainless steel and plush upholstery wrap you in elegance. This one even has an enclosed head with porta-potti. The top of the line GLS 255 has standard U-shaped seating, retro windshield, integrated swim platform and room for 10.
The builder says that the GLS “…is the largest and most luxurious bowrider…” they’ve ever built. Given the fact that Glastron has built hundreds of thousands of bowriders over the years, that is certainly saying something.
Adjustable SuspensionAire bucket seats with flip-up bolsters
AM/FM/CD Sirius satellite-ready stereo with 4 speakers & MP3 adaptor
Automatic bilge pump
Enclosed head with porta-potti, vanity, sink, faucet, storage, stainless steel port window
The GLS 255 has plenty of comfortable, secure seating underway, and bow and stern seats for lounging at anchor or at the dock. But be careful jumping off the swim platform – it doesn’t clear the outdrive as much as we’d like.
The GLS 255 is the queen of Glastron’s lineup of upscale bowriders. She has three siblings -- the GLS 195, the GLS 215 and the GLS 235 – so there’s a boat to fit almost any size family. The great thing about them is they do it with more style and at less cost than you might expect, with lots of standard features and cockpit comforts you might have to pay for as extras from many competitive brands.
In the mid-1950s, Glastron was one of the first boat builders to work in fiberglass from the beginning; lots of other companies switched from wood to glass, but Glastron started out in fabric and resin. Company history says the name comes from combining “glass,” for fiberglass, with “tron,” because it sounded high-tech.
The integrated swim platform doesn’t provide enough clearance beyond the sterndrive for our liking. It would be too easy to whack the drive or prop when jumping off. This is frequently a problem in boats this size, even more so in boats like the GLS 255 that appeal to active families. Check carefully before buying, especially if you’ve got a family of swimmers. There’s a three-step telescoping ladder.
The first Glastron was launched in 1956, and it’s been followed by almost half a million more. If you saw one of those early boats, you surely still remember it: This was the Era of Tail Fins, and a 1958 Glastron looked like a ’57 Chrysler on a raft, with tail fins better suited to a Sabre jet. (Bob Hammond, company founder, had been an aircraft designer.) Glastron wasn’t the only boatbuilder to adorn its product with fins, either.
Fortunately, the tail fin soon left both cars and boats and Glastron followed with more conventional designs. From the early 1960s right up to today, the company has built boats targeted at folks who just want to have fun on the water – go fast, do some skiing, have a picnic, maybe drag a lure now and then. And apparently customers like them: A close look at the GLS 255 will tell you why.
You don’t have to leave the swim platform to grab a cool one: There’s an icebox right at hand, also reachable from the commodious U-shaped stern seat. All the seats are well-padded and comfortable. The helm and companion seats are SuspensionAire buckets with bolsters. We especially liked the handles for the swivel and slide adjustments being outboard of the seat and easy to reach.
Heart of Steel
One mark of a quality boat is plenty of stainless steel, and the Glastron has lots of it. Some builders cut corners by installing cheaper light-alloy cleats, hinges, running lights and other fittings, usually chromed to look expensive. Trouble is, the chrome soon breaks down and the alloy starts pitting; the only cure is to replace the fittings – or live with it and pay dealer for it at resale time. Stainless steel will last longer than you own the boat, and all you need do is clean it now and then.
Over The Transom
The GLS 255 has excellent handrails on the swim platform; they flow gracefully out from the gunwale, maintaining a sleek look. Glastron also upgraded the rub rail to a stainless steel insert, and installed six stainless steel cleats of sufficient size. These are two important details, and are something that separate Glastron from other price-point boats.
The GLS 255 has a starboard-side walkthrough to the swim platform: Flip up a section of the sunpad, swing out the seat back on the stern bench and remove a small seat cushion to pass through without stepping on or climbing over cushions.
Let’s face it, we have all hit the dock a time or two a bit too hard. When that happens it’s nice to know that we have some stainless steel protecting our hull and gel coat when that happens. All boat this size should have six good-sized ss cleats, but often the price boats do not. Glastron has done it right.
Up front, the GLS 255 has the room you expect in a large bowrider, as well as comfortable seating for adults. Stainless steel drink holders, beefy grab rails and grills on the speakers mean they will last, and maintain the shiny look stainless steel is known for. Lesser boats use lesser metals or even plastic in these kinds of fittings, often mystery alloys subject to pitting and breaking. There’s a three-step beach boarding ladder, too; but we’d prefer a fourth rung.
Typically, the sunpad doubles as the engine cover. The greatest part of the stern seating for us was a rumble seat, where we could visualize spending lots of time watching sunsets. It’s not for use underway, though.
When Nature Calls
We usually don’t make a big deal about heads, especially on smaller boats where they tend to be a little…well…basic. But Glastron has made the head aboard the GLS 255 nicer than most, with a portable toilet, sink and opening port. Families with kids – the target audience for this boat – will have a lot better time on the water when there’s not always somebody complaining about needing a bathroom.
Capt. Rob is a big guy, 6’ and about 235 lbs and he found the head compartment rather tight. But ladies and kids, and slimmer guys, are going to find it more comfortable.
The Bottom Line
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Glastron GLS 255 is $48,988 with a 270-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 GXiC sterndrive and a trailer, or $4,089 less without the trailer. The same engine with a Duoprop is $2,107 more. (We recommend this option.) Upgrading to a 300-hp 5.7 GiC Volvo adds $1,215 to the base price. There are several other power options; the most expensive is a MerCruiser 496 Magnum MPI EC Bravo III, 375 horses for $14,560 over base.
We spec’ed out a boat on the Glastron website (glastron.com) with the 5.7 Volvo Penta, a wakeboard tower, premium sound system, Bimini and a couple other odds and ends, but no trailer, and the MSRP was $63,398 including destination charge. Our local dealer offered an immediate Real Deal price of $55,638.
The helm is well-set-up ergonomically. The 5” speed and multi-function gauges are high enough so they can be scanned quickly underway; 2” gauges are right beneath them with generally a minimum of obstruction from the tilt wheel in most positions. The dash has room to mount a GPS unit in the center. When our 6’-tall test captain sat on the flip-up bolster he could see over the windshield frame.
You don’t have to go crazy with horsepower on this boat. Read our test numbers carefully and note how many people were aboard during the test. Then figure out how many people you’ll usually have and whether or not you’ll be doing a lot of waterskiing.
The GLS 255 is a nice family fun boat for ‘longshore fooling around, lakes and river. It is not intended for really big water. It’s the kind of boat most of us would be happiest with because operational expenses will be very low, and it is one of the best values around in class.
Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) is 47.6 MPH (76.6 KPH), burning 24.0 gallons per hour (GPH) or 90.84 liters per hour (LPH).
Best cruise for the Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) is 24.7 MPH (39.8 KPH), and the boat gets 3.33 miles per gallon (MPG) or 1.42 kilometers per liter (KPL), giving the boat a cruising range of 168 miles (270.37 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7GXi.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) Warranty
Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to insure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Yes, with $250 fee
2 year non-structural components
Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) Price
Glastron GLS 255 (2009-2010) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Speeds measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter on gas inboards, sterndrives, and outboards, TechMate electronic scan tool on gas EFI inboards, Caterpillar digital fuel-flow meter on diesel engines, or permanently installed fuel-monitoring equipment. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation.