Last year the new Formula 290 FX4 rocked the rafters, and now there is an encore. It is the Formula 310 FX5, and she has jaw-dropping good looks. Formula Boats has upped the ante on cool by creating the new, longer FX5 and we could almost hear the buzz emanating from the marina where Formula’s newest FX had just been launched for our test drive. And if you would prefer the FX5 version in a bowrider, Formula offers that model as well.
10-year Structural Warranty
Transferable 5-Year Formula Guard Limited Protection Plan
Imron FX Graphic with Silver Diamond Metallic hullside, deck and full cockpit with red and black accents
The mission of the FX series is to create a lineup with added upscale features, beyond the rest of the lineup that already is considered to be one of the most upscale on the market. This 310 FX5 is the second model to be launched in the lineup. The 290 FX4 was first.
• Imron FX Graphic with Silver Diamond Metallic hullside, deck and full cockpit with red and black accents -- not decal stickers or vinyl appliqués.
• Pressure-treated Perma Panel structural hull matrix – to add strength and integrity to the hull.
• Dual engine vents with blue LED lighting and polished stainless steel trim -- not only functional, but they look outstanding when lit at night.
• Formula Guard Protection Plan that last for five years for virtually all of the components in the boat including the engine and drive train.
• Shop Floor Staff Longevity and management best practices means that Formula's crew know how to build top-quality boats and take a personal interest the products they build.
• Designer John Adams has worked for Formula for the past 30 years on an exclusive basis and has consistently set trends in both styling and technical innovation.
The devil is in the details. Here are four examples of how Formula incorporates carbon fiber material throughout the 310 FX5.
The 310 FX5 is the second boat in the new FX Series that currently has five boats ranging from 29' to 40'. With a LOA of 31' 0" (9.45 m) and a beam of 9'6" (2.9 m) she will still be easy to operate single handed -- but owners will likely show it off to as many people as possible.
First things first. We didn't come to look, we came to drive. And what a drive she is. The thrill begins as soon as the key is turned and the rumble from the thru hull exhaust starts. It's a deep, throaty rumble that says "muscle" to anyone within ear shot.
A classy tough is having the carbon fiber color matches to the hull sides.
The twin 380-hp MerCruiser MAGs brought us to a top speed of 58 mph at 4850 rpm. At that speed we were burning a combined 67.5 gph for a range of 113 miles.
Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 34.6 mph. Now I was measuring 22.3 gph for a range of 182 miles. Time to plane was a brisk 4.5 seconds, and I blew through 20 mph in 5.7 seconds and continued accelerating past 30 mph in 8.3 seconds. For a complete data record of my test, click on “Test Results” at the top of the page.
It’s hard not to appreciate the thrilling ride that the 310 FX5 delivers. It’s one of those things that has to be experienced.
As for handling, I have two different observations. First, because I had such a short run to make my speed measurements, I kept the power on at both ends of the runs. That meant full power turns, and getting back up to speed in as little time as possible. Clearly, this is not the way to run any boat, but when testing, things are done a little differently than, say, when heading out for a ride to the dockside restaurant.
Cranking and Banking. So with that said, this type of operation brings out the worst in a boat, and the FX5's worst is not bad at all. Aside from the exhilarating speed, her high performance turns showed that she likes to bleed off speed in a hard crank. That's not a bad thing as no one wants to be hanging on for dear life in a classy ride like this.
So when not going for maximum performance, enter the turn at cruise speed, and once established in the bank, add throttle to maintain speed. When the turn is complete, then back off the throttle on roll-out and return to normal cruise.
When encountering waves, she tends to penetrate on a level keel and slice right through keeping a dry ride.
High Speed Turns
At normal cruising speeds, say in the 30-mph range, the turns of the FX5 are stable, docile, and much comfortable, all the sort of handling that I have come to expect in Formula boats. This is the proper way to handle a boat. However, being a test captain it is my job to go beyond prudent operating speeds to see exactly where the edge of comfortable handling ends.
Wrong-Way Corrigan. I only report on the wrong way, because I experienced it out of necessity, so I may as well relate it. Still, the fact that the boat can handle these hard performance turns at all speaks volumes about the solidness of the hull design and safety factor.
If operators crank around at 57 mph, (and why would they?) she starts to snap roll, and then try to drop back to a normal roll angle, and then roll back up, and then down , and then…. so these high speed turns aren't all that comfortable. That, coupled with the fact that guests don't want to be experiencing a high-G turn at 50+ mph all indicate that drivers should slow down to normal cruise before slamming the wheel over. This kind of response is not unusual for a deep V-hull at these speeds.
Turns can be kept tight by slowing down. This spray is from crossing my own wake to see what would happen. The result was hardly any spray coming in. It all gets thrown out to the sides.
Here's an important feature that so many get wrong, but Formula manages to get right. When seated I was looking through the windshield, rather than at the windshield frame. At cruise speeds the visibility is even better. Of course sitting on top of the bolster has me looking well above the windshield frame. When hitting the throttle, the bow comes up roughly 14-degrees, and when seated I did lose sight of the horizon for a few seconds. Additionally, when taking off power, the FX5 settles in stern first, so the bow will come up again, so be sure to clear the area immediately ahead both when accelerating and taking off power.
This bow rise is a characteristic of a deep-V hull and at 22-degrees, the 310 FX5 is almost as deep as it gets. All boats are a compromise, and in order to get a good, comfortable ride in rough water at high speed and deep-V is called for.
I'm not standing but leaning against the flip-up bolster. With the windshield frame just below my head, when seated I'll be looking through the windshield instead of at that frame. Notice how the steps to the bow are separate from the companionway hatch.
When docking, our test boat had the Axius joystick so it was a non-event, but I wanted to see how she handles if customers don't want to pony up the additional $20k for the joystick. And I'm happy to report that she is quite responsive to the helm and control inputs. I was able to back down and have good directional control, and also found that the bow swings around predictably when backing down.
This is a good feature when pulling into a slip with a cross current. Enter against the current and don't be shy about adding power, and the bow will swing into place against the current. Then a quick tie up will hold her in position.
The helm was created with ergonomics in mind as everything falls right to my fingertips quite naturally. The Axius sterndrive joystick will make docking just as good looking as the boat.
This new 310 FX5 naturally has a lot of similarities with its smaller sister, the 290 FX4, and since it all worked so well before, we have no problem with a repeat performance. The roomy swim platform features the pull-up stainless steel cleats that keep themselves out of the trip zone. A concealed swim ladder resides in a compartment to starboard, and a center mounted rumble seat provides a comfortable spot to watch the action off the stern while at anchor, and it even converts to a full length sunpad.
In the functional category, a roomy trunk storage locker will swallow up dock lines, fenders, and shore power cord. A Kenwood waterproof transom-mounted stereo remote control will allow the tunes to blast the neighbors in the anchorage from the two transom-mounted 150W 6 1/2" (16.5 cm) marine-grade stereo speakers with polished stainless steel grilles and separate tweeters, and that’s just at the swim platform. I was also treated to the first of the red/white LED lights that grace the full boat and are operated from a handheld remote.
The layout of the 310 is much the same as the 290, but with more roominess because of added beam and length.
The windlass is recessed under a hatch. The anchor runs through a stainless roller right through the stem. I'd like to see a larger access port to the anchor locker below.
The entry way to the cockpit is to port and features a non-skid deck and a step down into the cockpit deck. The cockpit features a continuous molded deck and liner, so no worries about squeaks or groans from deck joints when the going gets rough. A large C-shaped settee lies to starboard and a dual height cockpit table with filler cushions to turn the entire seat into yet another sunpad is standard.
All seats are weather-resistant due to the StarLite XL synthetic marine panel construction and DriFast foam cushions. And no worries about staining the seats with a wet bathing suit as all upholstery is treated with PreFixx, which allows even a Sharpie mark to come off (but don’t try that at home).
The entertainment center features a sink and wastebasket up top and a pull-out fridge below. This type of pull-out drawer refrigerator ($1875) means that the contents won’t dump out when the door is opened.
Over to port is a molded wetbar with integrated sink, trash container and integral 316L stainless steel safety rail. The sink taps into the boat’s 26 gallon (98.4 L) water tank. There are four more of those stainless grilled speakers, just as we saw at the swim platform, but since 150W was good enough out there, in the cockpit Formula cranked it up to 600W. The cockpit refrigerator is optional.
The aft rumble seat converts to a sunpad, as does the C-shaped seating in the cockpit. Just lower the table and add filler cushions.
Cockpit seating offers storage under all sides. A pedestal table allows for light meals or a place for snacks when having a cocktail party.
Now on to the business end. The 310 FX5 helm is a dream spot for operating and looks as good as it is functional. The panel comes in silver, burlwood or brushed metallic finish. This is a departure from the 290FX4 panel, which had a carbon fiber weave covered in plastic. All rocker switches are illuminated with ETA circuit breakers underneath each one.
The helm looks amazing with the carbon fiber panel color matched to the hull sides. Notice the dual controls and the large Livorsi Monster and Redline gauges.
Livorsi has long been the supplier of choice for Formula boats' controls and instrumentation, and I'm happy that the trend continues here. All gauges are domed and feature chrome bezels and blue LED lighting accents. The controls have a collective trim switch at the throttle, and individual trim controls are just ahead. This is necessary for trimming for power as well as to balance the boat when the distribution of passenger weight is uneven. Bennett trim tabs are standard, but we never needed them.
Also standard is a Garmin GPS with color chartplotter, mounted front and center in the panel. For seating, there is a twin-command seat for an extra set of eyes looking forward, and to join in the fun there is a double wide lounger to port with integrated dive tank storage underneath.
We're always happy to see a double wide helm seat for a second set of eyes looking forward! Both seats have flip-up bases, which makes a nice armrest for the captain when in the lowered position.
The cabin door is separated from the steps to access the bow windshield walkthrough. The cabin features a V-shaped settee that naturally converts to a berth. We’re happy to see that Formula also integrated a screen in the companionway to allow for ventilation while keeping the bugs at bay. We expected to see molded fiberglass steps, but then forgot that we’re on a Formula, and we were instead treated to solid cherry finished steps.
The seating below converts to a berth by lowering the solid cherry high-gloss table. The entertainment center to port is constructed of high-gloss cherry, finished to perfection, a hanging locker, Corian countertop, polished stainless steel sink, and a dual voltage stainless steel refrigerator.
The lounger could be a bit longer. Interesting how Formula chose to have the cabin door separate from the walkthrough stairs rather than molding the steps into the hatch.
To starboard is a molded head compartment with a Vacu-flush porcelain head tapped into a 36 gallon (136.3 L) holding tank with dockside pump out, a molded vanity, stainless steel sink, brushed framed mirror, Corian countertop and a continuation of the cherry wood grain-finish decking.
The forward cabin converts from a dinette to a berth quite easily.
Options and Pricing
All this isn’t cheap of course, not many Formulas are. But where some may view that as a downside, I view it as restricted access to an exclusive club. Base price for the 310 FX5 with standard twin 8.2 MAG ECT power plant with Bravo IIIX outdrives is $273,220. That's hardly chump change, but in my opinion, well worth the price considering the quality of the build and the size of the engines. While the boat is well equipped as standard, what would the world be without options, and we have our own wish list for the 310 FX5.
The engine installation is efficient allowing easy access to daily checks and light service.
Options We'd Have. It starts with the Axius sterndrive docking system (add $20,120) that allows even beginners to slide the FX5 into the slip with joystick ease. No boat this cool should be without the blue underwater LED lights (add $2,770). Since we’ll be showing off at every anchorage we can find, a windlass with chain and stainless anchor will be a must (add $4,850).
But most nights will be spent at the dock in front of the best waterfront restaurants we can find, and that means we’ll likely need the reverse cycle air conditioning (add $5,555) but we will hold off on the 5kw Kohler generator (would add $12,450) and opt for the shore power (add $3,770) that will also keep the batteries up to snuff. A dual voltage cockpit refrigerator is available (add $1,875) but we like the ability to load the standard cooler at home and drop it into its dedicated spot in the cockpit entertainment center.
Whether customers decide to spruce up the 310 FX5 to the max with options, or leave it stock, one thing is for sure, they will have one of the most modern and best looking boats in the marina, as well as the bragging rights that go with it.
For those who feel that 58 MPH is more top-end than they need, or who like to back down the price, then we would suggest the Formula 310 Bowrider. Powered by twin 300-hp 5.7 L 350 MAG ECT engines with Bravo III drives this model has an MSRP of $219,890. The profile and bottom shape is the same as are most other aspects of the boat. What she does not have are all of the details, and of course the big engines, which distinguish the FX5 model.
The 310 BR is still a Formula, and is enough for most people to have plenty of pride in the boat they own.
Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 2013) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 2013) is 58.0 mph (93.3 kph), burning 67.75 gallons per hour (gph) or 256.43 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 2013) is 34.6 mph (55.7 kph), and the boat gets 1.55 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.66 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 182 miles (292.9 kilometers).
Tested power is 2 x 380-hp MerCruiser MAG.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 2013) Standard and Optional Equipment
Washdown: Raw Water
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
Boats More Than 30 Feet
= Standard = Optional
Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 2013) Warranty
Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 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 310 FX5 (2012 - 2013) Price
Formula 310 FX5 (2012 - 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.
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