Nitro Z-8 Promotional Video above furnished by Tracker Marine Corp.
The new Nitro Z-8 has a detatchable dual console, a redesigned bottom, insulated livewell, and lots of standard equipment. And, she's dry! At 20'1" (6.12 m) LOA and 8' (2.44 m) beam, she's big enough and stable enough for neophyte and veteran anglers alike.
At 20'1" long, the Z-8 is big enough for two guys to chase after bass, and stable enough to let anglers wander around on the casting platforms without getting tipsy.
What's In the Box?
Nitro Boats sets up the Z-8 with plenty of gear, both built-in and added-on. She has two aerated livewells aft, with timers and pump-outs; controls are at the helm. Her steering is hydraulic, and she carries full instrumentation and a Lowrance Mark-5X fishfinder. There's a 24v MotorGuide trolling motor forward, a fold-down reboarding ladder aft, and plenty of seating and stowage in-between. All your rigs will fit in two rod lockers under the foredeck, with a large stowage box for other gear; aft, lift-out boxes hold tackle trays. All of this is standard, too, as is a color-coordinated, tandem-axle trailer.
Bass boats are all about stowage, and the Z-8 has plenty. The bike seat forward and fishing seat aft are standard, but the removable port console is an option.
How is She Built?
The Z-8 has a hand-laid fiberglass hull backed up with a foam-filled 'glass stringer system and composite transom. Nitro is confident enough to cover her structure – hull, stringers and transom – for the life of the boat. And it's transferable. The rest of the boat's covered by a limited one-year warranty; the trailer comes with three-year coverage for the galvanized tubing.
The removable portside console has a lockable glove box, grab handle and windscreen. Its $795 cost includes factory-installed mounting hardware.
Three-across seating is standard, but we'd add the optional console to give the port-side seat some protection. Under-seat stowage is handy, too. Note the steps onto the aft deck, and the grab handles between the seats.
Is She Fast?
To coax maximum performance out of whatever power you choose, the Z-8 rides on Nitro's Rapid Planing System hull, which incorporates a step near the transom. The company says this makes the Z-8 quicker out of the hole, with little bow rise, better handling and faster with less horsepower than conventional hulls. Nitro offers Mercury OptiMax Pro XS outboards from 200-hp (standard) to 250-hp; 225- and 250-hp motors can be upgraded with Merc's race-bred Torque Master lower unit.
Power options include Mercury OptiMax Pro XS outboards from 200- to 250-hp. No matter which motor you choose, it can mount on a 10" jack plate ($1,200) if you want maximum performance.
We haven't tested the Nitro Z-8, but her builder says she'll do 66 – 68 mph (106.2 – 109.4 kph) with the standard 200-hp OptiMax, 70 – 72 mph (112.7 – 115.9 kph) with 225-hp and 74 – 77 mph (119.1 – 123.9 kph) with 250-hp. This sounds plenty fast to us, given she's just 20'1" long and about 3,600 lbs. (1,633 kg.) loaded. Remember, these are Nitro numbers, not BoatTEST.com's, so don't call us if your Z-8 won't run this fast.
Dual 20-gal. (75.71 L) Guardian livewells come with aerators, timers, recirculators and pump-outs. Nitro says the livewell lips are anti-slosh.
Control the livewells with these rocker switches at the helm. And they look cool, too.
Extras You'll Want
Other than standard equipment, there isn't much you really need to add to the Z-8, but some things you might want. Adding a second fishfinder on the bow costs between $225 and $3,700, depending on how crazy you get, and if you want GPS. You can exchange the standard Lowrance finder in the dash for a similar range of upcharges. Upgrading the trolling motor runs between $450 and $850. We'd want trim control on the steering wheel ($95), the Hot Foot throttle ($125) and maybe tilt steering ($155).
The port and starboard lockers have automatic lighting activated by the lid. If you've ever fumbled in the dark while holding a flashlight in your mouth, you'll appreciate this. The carpet is marine-grade, and provides secure, comfortable footing on all flat surfaces.
The 24v MotorGuide Pro Series trolling motor, standard, develops 70 lbs of thrust. More powerful options are available, up to a 36v, 109-lb MotorGuide Digital Tour Series with a 50" shaft.
Whatever options you select, you won't have to argue over the cost of your Z-8, since Nitro's policy is no-haggle pricing -- and they publish all prices on their website. Before you walk into the dealership, you know what the boat you want will cost. Save your haggling skills for buying a new pickup to tow it. MSRP for the Z-8 is $31,995 plus prep and freight for standard power, $34,995 for the 225-hp OptiMax and $36,195 for the 250. The Torque Master adds a bit to the larger motor prices.
Even if you get speed-crazed and choose the biggest engine and lots of extras, you can buy the Nitro Z-8 for under $40,000; stick with standard power and you're in for under $35,000. We found a well-equipped 20'9" (6.32 m) Ranger Z520 listed for $52,000 with a 250-hp outboard. A Triton 21HP Elite DC with a 225-hp engine we tested last year carried an MSRP of almost $58,000, so the Nitro looks like a bargain to us. What's not to like about that? And, maybe that's why Nitro's sales are up.
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!
Nitro Z-8 (2011-) Price
Nitro Z-8 (2011-) 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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