When it comes to boating, few will argue when told that size matters. Having a large bowrider like the Formula 270 BR may just be what it takes to get out of the mindset that an even bigger boat is needed. She’s got the roominess to load her up without having everyone feel cramped, and her performance leaves little to be desired.
Concealed fiberglass anchor locker with stainless steel beach ladder
We tested this big bowrider with a MerCruiser 430-hp 8.2 MAG and reached a top speed of 53.3 mph.
Formula’s mission with the 270 BR is to create a roomy bowrider that combines family gatherings with watersports functionality, all in a premium build with upscale features.
• Five-year Formula Guard protection. This covers all the components on the boat that normally have a 1 year protection plan. Formula Guard kicks in after the initial one year to pay for most things going wrong for an additional 4 years. Only a couple of builders include this kind of service contract in the base price and Formula is one of them.
• Imron graphics. While it's rare for a boat to not have any graphics on the topsides, they are nearly always decals. Naturally these will start to peel after several years of use, and it's not uncommon to see dirt collect at the edges. Formula's graphics are applied with Imron paint, which is a high-end paint and a difficult process to apply. All of the problems with decals are thus eliminated.
• High-end finish. It's very easy to pick a Formula out of the crowd of boats going by. Almost invariably they have a much higher gloss and shine to their finish that makes them stand out above the rest. This is because Formula dedicates so much time to polishing its finishes to perfection.
• Forward-Facing Bow Seats. This is a bowrider that has two, forward-facing seats that make riding a speed both exhilarating and comfortable.
• Premium Quality Equipment & Materials. Formula is at the top of the list of premium sportboat builders in the U.S. It naturally follows that the materials, equipment and building processes the company employs are first rate. Above all other things, this is what sets Formula boats apart.
Our Formula 270 BR had a LOA of 27’ (8.2 m), a beam of 8’6” (2.5 m) and a draft of 40” (101.6 cm). With an empty weight of 6,200 lbs (2,812 kg), ½ fuel and two people onboard, we had a test weight of 6,896 lbs (3,128 kg).
With a 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG turning a Bravo III outdrive, we reached a top speed at 4760 rpm and 53.3 mph. At that speed, fuel burn was 31.55 gph for a range of 152 miles. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 35 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to only 13.5 gph which the Formula 270 could keep up for 6 hours, 42 minutes and 233 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
We reached planing speed in 3.8 seconds, accelerated through 20 mph in 6.6 seconds, hit 30 mph in 9.7 seconds, and continued accelerating through 40 mph in 13.6 seconds.
When driving through the wake of the camera boat, the 270 BR remained comfortable as she sliced the wakes. Notice there’s no spray hitting the boat, just a clean cut through the wave.
Upon advancing the throttle, the 270 BR will come up 16-degrees, which brings the bow just under the level of the horizon, so there’s no concern about loss of visibility. Once up on plane, just a couple of shots of up-trim will move the spray from the helm to the aft quarters and the boost in speed can easily be felt. If the trim is brought up any further, then the 270 starts to porpoise rather than ventilate the propellers.
With 2 ½ turns on the steering wheel from lock-to-lock the 270 BR is very responsive. She has comfortable turning characteristics in that she doesn’t dig into the turn to the point where everyone and everything gets tossed to the outside of the turn. Rather, she has a slight slide and comfortable 22-degree max bank angle that keeps everyone settled into the seats. She also tends to stay stabilized in the turn, as opposed to oscillating throughout the turn.
The 270 Bowrider reached a max bank angle of 22-degrees and stayed comfortable throughout the turn.
As for visibility, at no-wake speed the windshield frame is only slightly above my line of sight. However, in cruise mode, the bow is at a 5-degree bow high attitude, which had me looking right through the dead center of the windshield. Of course when sitting up on the bolster, I was above it all.
Beginning at the stern, the full beam molded swim platform comes out 2’3” (.7 m). There are courtesy lights to both port and starboard, as well as throughout the cockpit, and an optional handheld remote to turn on the courtesy lights is offered ($475). This is a cool thing to have when approaching the boat along a dock.
A port-hand trunk storage compartment is deep enough for line and fender storage. Additional storage is under an aft facing rumble seat. In the center of the platform is a mount for an optional ski-tow pylon ($900) and there is dedicated storage in the port trunk. Of course, since this is a Formula, the trunk storage hatch is fully gasketed and has a gas-strut to make it easy to open. To starboard is a concealed three-step reboarding ladder, directly in-line of sight of the helm.
The stern features an aft facing rumble seat, trunk storage to port, courtesy lights to port and starboard, a three-step reboarding ladder and a stereo remote. The stereo remote is located within rich from the swim ladder, but we’d like to see it closer to the rumble seat. Wood grained vinyl decking is optional ($2625). It looks good but can get hot in the blazing sun.
The aft rumble seat is double-wide and makes a great place to watch the kids swimming off the stern, or the sunset over the horizon. Formula is quick to state that this seat should not be used while the 270 is underway, and they are correct to do so. If there are sun-worshipers aboard, then the aft seat easily converts to a sunpad simply by flipping the seatbacks of this, and the cockpit bench seat, flat.
The cockpit is accessed via a starboard side walkthrough and our test boat was equipped with the optional transom gate ($275). The cockpit features L-shaped seating, with storage underneath, opposing a single seat to starboard that houses the battery switch in its storage area. A second battery with selector switch is optional ($600).
The L-seating encloses a standard carry-on cooler and trash receptacle. A flush-mounted pedestal base is located in the center of the deck for the optional table. Our test boat was also equipped with the optional simulated wood-grain snap-in carpet ($780). A cockpit wet bar is offered as a package with the head compartment vanity, and transom shower ($2560).
Cockpit and storage drains all lead overboard, rather than into the bilge.
A single seat behind the helm conceals the battery switch in its storage compartment.
L-shaped seating has a removable cooler and trash receptacle underneath.
A switch at the helm activates the optional electric lift hatch ($665) to the stern providing a 2’9” (.8 m) opening for daily engine checks and light maintenance. This compartment offers a roomy installation that even includes dedicated storage for the cockpit table and pedestal. The interior of the engine compartment is completely finished off thanks to the back-gel.
Batteries are easily accessible and secured properly with the terminals covered. All hoses are double clamped. The standard automatic discharge fire extinguisher is mounted to the forward bulkhead. I also notice that Formula adds the thoughtful touch of an access port right next to the top of the hydraulic ram supporting the engine hatch so that the hatch can still be opened in the event of an electrical failure by pulling the mounting pin and manually lifting the hatch.
The engine compartment hatch lifts for fluid checks and light maintenance, with the table and pedestal storing to the sides.
Both the captain and the observer get comfortable pedestal bucket seats that wrap-around for security, swivel and slide, and both have flip-up bolsters. The observer’s station features a deep glove box, again, gasketed all around and the lid is held by a piano hinge. Two stainless drink holders are just in front of the glove and the front of the console is beveled to form a footrest.
The dual console offers plenty of leg room, and excellent visibility. Notice the foot rests in both positions.
The head compartment on the 270 Bowrider is standard. The toilet itself is optional ($1520). With the addition of the head option, Formula offers a vanity, with sink plumbed to the boat’s water system ($1,540). Cargo netting is secured to the back of the door for magazines. The door itself is contoured to open past the observer’s seat.
The head compartment offers sitting room, with marginal overhead clearance. The head itself is optional.
I’d be hard-pressed to say that the compartment lends itself to a changing room as the headroom is only 3’9” (1.14 m) but as a head it’s well suited, so give serious consideration to adding the option as it will make everyone feel more comfortable during a long day on the water.
The helm console is a single fiberglass piece and the gel is grey to reduce the glare effect in your eyes as well as in the reflection in the windshield. The 270 BR helm presents an uncluttered layout with dual columns of rocker switches to either side of the panel. Instrumentation includes two SmartCraft gauges ($3520 with DTS) to either side allowing for selectable data to suit the operator’s taste/needs. A quad of ancillary gauges is centered with a depth gauge and trim gauge above. Centered in the top of the panel is an aircraft-style compass.
The panel can be reconfigured to accommodate an optional GPS ($1705).
The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base. The stereo remote is to the left with a horn button correctly standing out in red directly adjacent. To the right is the control panel for the manual activation of the engine fire extinguisher.
While our test boat was equipped with the optional trim tabs ($1000) I never used them. However, I could easily tell that they would come in handy to level against an uneven distribution of weight. There’s more seating offered to the port side of the 270 centerline, so if there’s a likelihood of loading up, then I’d give serious consideration to adding this option.
There’s no strap-n-snap for Formula. This windshield is held open by a stainless latch at the bottom. When closed, rubber gaskets ensure that there is no vibration. With the top section closed off, a lower air dam will completely block the wind on chilly days.
With the air dam opened, there’s good access to the interior of the helm console, and this is where the stereo is located. Formula also added the thoughtful touch of adding a switch to the door jamb to automatically turn on the interior light upon opening the door. There’s also a removable panel to allow for electronics servicing and installation behind the helm panel.
Moving forward, the bow seating offers some versatility. Seats can be configured in the “normal” layout with lounge seats wrapping around from one side to the other. A pedestal base allows for the installation of the cocktail table. Armrests are comfortable and a space in the bolsters would allow for holding a drink. Rails are outside the armrests for added security without affecting the comfort. Flip-down armrests are to the middle of the seats, and I find that these types of armrests that flip-down are much easier to use than ones that flip-up. An optional filler cushion with a center backrest ($705) will turn the bow into a sunpad.
Bow seating converts from the usual wrap-around seats to dual forward facing chairs. This makes riding forward at speed much more comfortable.
The next configuration available is for two forward facing chairs. By removing two cushions, one to either side, two chairs allow sitting with feet on the deck rather than stretched out. The forward seats also provide a convenient footrest.
Fully forward, a hatch conceals a four-step beach-reboarding ladder over anchor storage. A stainless grab handle lies just behind the hatch to assist in reboarding. I appreciate that Formula uses latches that release when lifted, and re-latch automatically when the hatch closes. Too many times I’ve hit the throttle only to watch a forward hatch, with a rotating type latch, start to bounce open because the last person to close it didn’t rotate the latch. It’s a small thing, but have it happen enough times and it becomes a major inconvenience. These latches eliminate the matter entirely.
A grab handle aids when reboarding from the bow ladder. The ladder is a four-step with anchor storage underneath.
Engine Choices and Pricing
The 270 Bowrider has an MSRP of $147,950, equipped as our test boat, and street pricing hovers around $126,000. Base price with a 350 MAG engine is $129,350, and the 8.2 HO with Bravo III drive will bring it up to $148,640. Obviously this boat is not for everyone, but Formula is an upscale brand that caters to an elite group.
Formula did a nice job of creating a roomy bowrider with the 270 BR. In my opinion she offers just the right amount of upscale features and comfort. Her handling is on par with the rest of the Formula fleet and buyers are offered a reasonable level of options in addition to the lengthy list of standards.
Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) is 53.3 mph (85.8 kph), burning 31.55 gallons per hour (gph) or 119.42 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) is 28.6 mph (46 kph), and the boat gets 2.60 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.11 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 234 miles (376.59 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) Warranty
Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure 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.
Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) Price
Formula 270 Bowrider (2013-) 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.
Members must log in to view the test results section.