|Deadrise/Transom||23 deg.||Water Cap||
|Max Headroom||N/A||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|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.|
|Std. Power||Not Available|
|Tested Power||1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG|
1 x 320-hp MerCruiser MX 6.2 L
1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 Magnum
1 x 425-hp MerCruiser 496 Magnum
And the ladies like it, too. After a rousing run across the bay, chill out at anchor on the 245 Performance's sunpad. This boat also has the through-transom exhausts, an option go-fast guys will surely want.
Big Boat, Small Package
Baja builds a tough boat, and uses the same construction to build the 245 Performance as for their bigger, faster models. Rigging components are all first-class, deck hardware is stainless steel and there are enough options to please the most fanatic go-fast guy. The 23-degree deadrise straight V-hull is a proven design that, while maybe not as fast as similarly powered stepped hulls, is comfortable, safe and easy to drive. The 245 is small enough for easy trailering, big enough for most conditions if driven sensibly, and should provide enough thrills for most people.
Aero drop-seat bolsters on stainless steel frames are hip-hugging secure. Stand-up driving, or riding, is the only way to go on a fast boat if there's any chop at all. The windshield provides a good windbreak, but makes it harder to go on deck. Molded-in steps and an opening center panel help.
Hull and deck are laminated with hand-laid biaxial fabrics cored with end-grain balsa, then bonded with Plexus methacrylate adhesive. Using adhesive distributes stresses all along the hull-to-deck joint; high-speed boats like this one must endure lots of pounding and twisting, the forces often magnified by a heavy hand on the throttles. As the boat twists, mechanically fastened joints concentrate the stresses at the fasteners, which can cause gelcoat cracking. The extremely high-bond Plexus creates essentially a one-piece hull and deck, strong enough to take anything a sane driver will throw at it.
It's important to keep the bottom perfectly straight when running hard and fast, so Baja is liberal in its use of support members. Bottoms that flex and deform under stress can throw off the boat's handling.
Baja uses premium gelcoat, backed by a layer of vinylester resin to protect from water absorption. The graphics, whether the four-color standard pattern or one of a bunch of optional schemes, are done in gelcoat rather than painted on after construction. Showy graphics don't make the boat any faster, and we'd spend our money on a bigger engine instead, but boats like the 245 Performance are as much about show as they are about go.
The upholstery is all covered in 34-oz. vinyl, and built in-house using top-quality foams. There's a rear bench seat with stowage under. You'd be able to see it a lot better if that model wasn't in the way, but sometimes you just have to make do.
There isn't much in the way of accommodations in the 245 Performance, other than V-berths in the cabin. But nobody buys a boat like this for cruising; the berths are for casual use (a euphemism for "if you get lucky") or as a place to throw gear. Nevertheless, the cabin sole is covered with bare-foot-friendly 20-oz carpet, and folks belowdecks are protected by a carbon monoxide monitor.
The 245 Performance cuddy is mostly for keeping your stuff, but will serve for an afternoon nap or other activities. A filler cushion for the V-berths is optional, or you can have face-to-face seating and a cabin table. A Porta-Potti is optional, too.
The 245 Performance is a single-engine sterndrive boat. For 2011 Baja offers three engines, all MerCruisers: the 6.2-liter, 320-hp 377 MAG and the 380-hp 8.2 MAG, both with Bravo One drives, and our choice, the 430-hp 8.2 MAG H.O. with Bravo One X. (The Bravo One X is a stronger drive for higher-hp engines.) The sole raison d'etre of a boat like the 245 Performance is high speed – otherwise, you could buy any similar-sized runabout -- so why buy one that won't get up and go? We say spring for the Magnum H.O., even if it means giving up on some other options. Boats with the MAG H.O. get raceboat-style Latham external steering rather than the standard power steering of less-muscular 245s – another reason to upgrade.
Every 245 Performance gets Livorsi Platinum controls with trim on the throttle; upgraded controls are available. We like the switch placement, so your hand doesn't have to stray far from the throttle.
We tested the 245 Performance when it was first introduced in 2004. With the middle engine at that time, a 375-hp MerCruiser 496 Magnum, we clocked a top speed of 62.5 mph. This is fast enough for most people, especially in a 24'6" boat, but only OK in the high-performance world. We think upgrading to the H.O. option would move top end to around 67 mph: A Baja 25 Outlaw with the Mag H.O. ran 65.6 in a BoatTEST.com trial; the 245 Performance is about 750 lbs lighter, so should go a little faster. This is just an estimate, so don't hold us to it.
Backlit Livorsi gauges and a custom black-finished steering wheel are standard. We like the optional carbon fiber mounting plate and the colored bezels. The speedo and tach are right in front, and big enough to read when you're bouncing at high speed. Upgraded instruments and wheel are available.
Trim tabs with indicators are also optional, but you'll want them; we'd choose the raceboat-style 14" x 19" rather than the 12 x 12-inchers. For some reason, a compass is also optional – what's that all about? Selling a boat without a compass is like selling a car without headlights.
One advantage of a single engine is lots of room on both sides. Maintenance is critical on a boat like the 245 Performance, and being able to reach everything on the motor makes it a lot easier. The automatic fire extinguisher is optional – it should be standard.
Except for the missing compass, the Baja 245 Performance is well-equipped as a standard boat. Other than what we've already mentioned, we would definitely recommend a fire-extinguishing system, which every boat should have; a second battery; a fume detector, which also should be standard; and a canvas cockpit cover. From a functional standpoint, that's about it.
A three-step swim ladder is standard, but if you like to swim we recommend the extended platform with ladder, which should provide clearance beyond the Bravo One drive. High-performance props are sharp, and you don't want to kick into a blade. A transom shower is optional, too.
Serious high-performance enthusiasts will want the Corsa Quick & Quiet II through-hull exhausts (through-hub is standard); those into controlling noise pollution can choose the Corsa Quick & Quiet Plus, which is switchable between through-hull and -hub. The standard rubrail is vinyl, but can be replaced with a heavier-duty version with a stainless-steel insert. We'd go for that, if only for peace of mind around pilings. (For a complete options list and pricing, contact your Baja dealer.)
Drive a boat like this long enough, and your hair will be permanently swept-back. We think it's a small price to pay for having this much fun – but our hair is getting thin, anyway.
Baja's MSRP for the 245 Performance is $65,925 with the 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG, $78,827 with the 375-hp MAG and $87,853 with the 425-hp MAG H.O. and Bravo One X drive; an even heavier-duty XR drive bumps the price to $94,302. We're not going to race our 245, so the Bravo One X is fine; the $6,449 we save will pay for our options. The actual price of your Baja 245 Performance will depend on your negotiation skills and your dealer's hunger, but we are confident you'll be able to buy a well-equipped boat with H.O. power for around $90 - $92,000.
That price will get you a fast, fun and exciting boat from a quality builder. We love high-performance boats and have been driving them as often as we can for decades, so we can recommend the 245 Performance enthusiastically. But if you decide to go this route, test drive several boats of various quality, all in choppy water. That's where you'll see the difference first-rate construction and rigging make. Any boat's fine when it's calm, but you'll want a boat like the Baja when the whitecaps start to form.
|Washdown: Fresh Water|
|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!