1,036 kg w/ eng
|Deadrise/Transom||19 deg.||Water Cap||none|
|Max Headroom||open||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Std. Power||Not Available|
|Tested Power||1 x 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L|
1 x 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L
1 x 190-hp MerCruiser 4.3L
1 x 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3L
By Capt. Steve--
The Bayliner 185 BR has a LOA of 18’ (5.49 m), a beam of 7'7” (2.31 m), and a draft of 3'1” (.94 m). More important with full fuel she weighs just over 2,500 lbs. (1,134 kg) making this an economical and easily trailered boat.
Before we get too far into the layout of the Bayliner 185 BR, it’s important to note some of the changes the company has made to this model over previous years. The first item on the list was evident as soon as we walked up to the boat. Black is now the standard color as opposed to the previous Bayliner Blue. If you’re a big fan of blue, not to worry, but you will have to live without the old Bayliner Blue and be happy with the new shade called a Slate Blue. I know… torture. Bayliner has also added new hull side graphics which really add to the looks of these boats.
Bayliner offers the 185 BR with either of two layouts, standard or sport. Our test boat featured the standard seating layout.
We tested the Bayliner 185 in a saltwater environment so naturally it was paired with a galvanized trailer. However the standard trailer is painted black and based on the images I’ve seen it looks like an outstanding combination.
Bayliner has also raised the quality of their upholstery for the 185. They’ve reversed the white with gray highlights to gray with white highlights. This may not seem like a big deal at first blush, but it goes a long way towards hiding stains, dirt, and general wear and tear.
We’re happy to see that tilt steering is standard. This is a feature that was moved to the options list in 2010 -- now it’s back and it’s a welcome sight on the standard list. Power steering, which was previously an option, is now standard. And lastly there’s an available bucket seat upgrade and bow filler cushion added to the options list for the 185.
There are other color choices available if you purchase the Preferred Equipment Package. The package includes your choice of hull side color in black, blue or red, a matching deck gel stripe, and matching Bimini top with boot.
Since being on the water is synonymous with playing on the water, we would seriously consider the extended swim platform. And while we found our test 185 to be adequately equipped with a standard 3.0L engine, Bayliner does offer an upgrade to a 4.3L 190-hp, or a 4.3L MPI 220-hp. That’s something to consider if you often load your boat to capacity while enjoying watersports activities. Depending on your load, the 4.3L engine can be worth from one to three seconds in the time-to-plane hole shot, which will be welcomed by beginning skiers.
The 185 BR is one of those boats that you can abuse and do practically anything with.
While we love the standard family seating, with the bucket seat at the helm, back to back seats on the portside, and jump seats to either side of the engine box, Bayliner also offers optional sport seating which includes two bucket seats, three-across bench seating, and a large sun pad.
Our first goal on this test was to verify Bayliner’s claim that they had managed to engineer better performance out of less horsepower. So we set off with a standard 3.0L 135-horsepower engine powering our test 185. With full fuel, two people onboard and test gear, we had a test weight of just over 2,900 lbs. (585.13 kg). We reached a top speed at 5000 rpm of 40.4 mph. At that speed we were burning only 10.5 gph while getting 3.84 mpg for a range of 97 miles.
Pulled back to a more economical 3500 rpm we ran at 27.5 mph while getting 5.8 gph fuel burn. That translates to 4.78 mpg and a range of 121 miles.
While these numbers certainly seem consistent with good performance due to engineering, we were more impressed with the boat’s time to plane of only 3.8 seconds, and the 0-30 time of 8.6 seconds. So while we weren’t exactly loading our boat up to max capacity, nor pulling elephants on water skis, it does appear that Bayliner met its goal of creating a hull that performs very nicely with minimum horsepower.
The design of the engine cover makes it easy to reach all around the engine.
After testing several Bayliners, I’ve come to expect pleasing handling, and the 185 BR was no exception. The standard power steering made handling a breeze, turns were met with a slight slide that took the edge off the hard turn, meaning everybody on board will be comfortable regardless of what you put the boat through. When you initiate a turn, there’s a roughly 5-degree bank at the onset that plants you in your seat rather than throws you to the outside of the turn.
Additionally, the 185 BR tends to bleed off a lot of speed in a turn. So even if you’re trying for hard radical maneuvers, the 185 will have something to say about that in the form of slowing itself down and making the turn more comfortable even if you don’t do it yourself.
For this reason, the 185 is a boat that anybody can handle, even first timers and kids or grandkids, provided they’re of an appropriate age and, depending on your state, properly licensed.
The standard port side back to back seat lays out flat for lounging, and easily converts into a chaise lounge for letting the observer relax while keeping an eye on the end of the towline.
For watersports, you are not going to find performance skiing or wakeboard characteristics, but you will find the perfect platform to teach your kids skiing and give them the kind of characteristics that beginners most desire, short wakes and calm turns -- and, most importantly, self-confidence.
We like analog gauges and the place to put stuff on the dash.
The layout of the 185 BR is very straightforward. Our test boat was equipped with a standard seating package. The optional sport seating adds a bucket seat on the port side and bench seating at the aft end of the cockpit with a large sun pad just abaft the bench. One feature we liked about the jump seats at the stern of the boat was that the seat backs lift out for easy access to the sides of the engine box where your batteries and hose connections live.
Of course we have to throw in our standard caveat about how storage on any boat this size will be limited and therefore we recommend wearing life jackets instead of using up valuable storage space.
Storage and Transportation
Because the 185 BR is so light, she's trailerable by just about any vehicle. Storage should not be a problem if you keep your boat at home. Storage length on the trailer with the tongue swung to the side is 20'11” (6.38 m). I found getting the boat on and off the trailer to be a non-issue. For most ramps just dunk the trailer until the water level reaches the tops of the fenders and you should be fine.
Bayliner is consistently meeting their goal of getting more people on the water for less money. The 185 BR is sold as a complete package of boat, motor and trailer for an MSRP of just under $22,000. That means with an 8 ½% interest rate and 10% down you’re looking at getting on the water for just over $200 a month. That’s smart money that will pay itself back in dividends that you just can’t put a price tag on.
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc|
= Standard = Optional
|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.|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!