The Formula 350 Sun Sport is a roomy day boat that can double as a weekender for overnighting, either as a transient cruiser or tucked away in a secluded cove. This boat was powered with twin Ilmor 480-hp engines and the Ilmor joystick system that provided close quarter control.
The Formula 350 Sun Sport has a roomy layout for enjoying a day out on the water, but is also up to the task of some medium-range cruising. The ergonomics of the helm are laid out in a manner that the experienced captain and novice alike will feel confident at the controls. Abundant drink holders and a U-shaped lounge that converts to a table arrangement or an expansive sun pad are all complimented by the wet bar.
- • Well-appointed cabin
- • Ample storage for personal gear
- • Spacious helm seat
- • U-shaped aft lounge
- • Extended swim platform
- • Twin Ilmor 480-hp engines
- • Ilmor joystick control system
The Formula 350 Sun Sport’s fit and finish is one of its strong suits, including the graphics and hull paint options.
Attention to detail is key to the Formula 350 Sun Sport. The sleek styling stays true to Formula’s heritage of building a quality watercraft. The cabinetry throughout the cabin has all the amenities of home. The cabin seating is upholstered in “Ultraleather” and is extremely soft.
The Formula 350 SS has an LOA of 37’11” (11.56m), a beam of 10'9" (3.28m) and a draft of 39” (99 cm). With an empty weight of 13,470 lbs. (6,110 kg), full fuel and three people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 15,279 (6,930 kg).
The pair of Ilmor 480-hp 7.4L engines are new for Formula. They give the 350 Sun Sport plenty of performance and fill a void in the market that runs 380, 430 and then jumps to 520 horsepower. The 7.4 L was first added to Ilmor’s lineup as an inboard engine back in 2011. It’s a catalyzed engine that burns clean and efficient.
With the twin 480-hp 7.4L Ilmor engines powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 57.7 mph at 5250 rpm. That said, we had some significant options on this boat that detracted from our speed, including a hardtop and generator, not to mention a full tank of fuel. We could easily see those items taking 2.1 mph off our speed, making this a 60 mph category boat, easily. In fact, Formula reports that they have recorded those speeds.
Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 34.8 mph. At that speed, the 30.3 gph fuel burn translated into 1.1 mpg and a range of 167 statute miles while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s 162-gallon (613.2 L) total fuel capacity.
Please note that for the penalty of just 0.59 of a mile in range, the 350 can travel at 41.1 mph at 4000 rpm.
Docking is where the Ilmor One Drive system really shines. For a confidence booster, the Ilmor one touch joystick docking system is a pleasure to work. The hydraulic shifting is silky smooth, and thanks to the muscle, this dual-power-level boat goes in virtually any direction the joystick is pointed. With the absence of clunking associated with some other joystick controls, it’s hard to tell when the drives shift into gear.
A glance at the Ilmor display screen will verify what direction the boat is moving in conjunction with the joystick, rather than waiting for the boat to respond. The joystick is progressive, so small movements mean small reactions from the boat, and it isn’t always obvious, especially with the noiseless shifting.
Caution: There’s no real sightline to the extended swim platform and it sticks out further than one might think. The stainless steel rail surrounding the platform will protect it in the event of any errant brushes with the dock.
As for her handling, those twin 480s got the boat up on plane in 4.7 seconds. She accelerated to 20 mph in 7.6 seconds and passed through 30 mph in 11.7 seconds. She had the solid feel of a Formula, and maneuvering wise, everything happened at a sedate pace that guests will find particularly comfortable, and this was so no matter how aggressively the boat was handled. There was no chop in sight during our test day, so we can’t comment at this time on how she handles in rough conditions.
Clearly this Formula 350 Sun Sport has a lot of features when compared to a typical day boat, and this is likely one area where those in the market will be doing comparisons across different models.
Entertaining guests is the main focus of the U-shaped seating, wet bar, aft sun pad and extended swim platform, which becomes a private beach when the boat is at rest.
At the helm, two critical pieces of information, the fuel and trim, are at the top and to either side of a basic compass. The left side of the panel houses a large speedometer and twin tachometers that are easy to monitor with a quick glance. In the center is the navigation screen, and adjacent to that is the selectable and customizable Ilmor display showing the engines’ information.
To the left of the panel are rocker switches that are lighted when activated. The brushed stainless steering wheel is mounted to a fixed base, which may be easier to conform to the driver if it could tilt. The Clarion stereo and VHF are below and to the left.
The carbon fiber of the upper panel is repeated to the right side of the helm station where the joystick control and trim tab rocker switches are mounted. Below that are the Ilmor digital engine controls, which feature control buttons for the collective outdrive trims, the individual trims, the station select button, neutral select and single-lever engine sync.
The spacious helm seat is two-person, with individual flip-up bolsters and curved sides allowing the captain and companion to stand or sit independently. This would allow for a conversation while underway and perhaps let the first mate lend a hand with navigating.
The bow is accessed from center-mounted molded steps, with a stainless grab rail adding to the safety of the transition. This is really just for accessing the ground tackle and tying off bow cleats, since this bow is not designed for riding while underway.
Beneath a molded fiberglass hatch is the windlass with the rode leading to a thru-the-stem anchor roller. A chain stopper is just abaft the roller, and control switches are ahead and to starboard. An additional set of controls are at the helm.
The stainless framed windshield closes off at the walkthrough and the dual latches are interconnected. Since the boat has no gunwales, this is the only access forward.
To the left of the helm is a doublewide seat that can allow two people to join the captain or one person to recline either forward or aft facing. Naturally, storage is underneath.
The cockpit features versatile U-shaped seating to starboard finished with the same premium upholstery. Upscale snap-in carpeting adds a touch of class to the deck and is removable for cleaning. Below the seating, there’s plenty of storage, including dedicated storage for the cockpit table.
To the port side, there’s more of the carbon fiber treatments of the FX series at the refreshment center. It features a trash receptacle and sink under separate hatches held open with assist struts. Below is a cockpit refrigerated drawer and freezer. To the left are the battery switches, fire extinguisher and room for storage.
Covering the helm and U-shaped seating is the massive hardtop, adding significantly to the comfort level of the cockpit. It’s supported by a beefy stainless steel framework.
To extend the comfort further back to the aft lounge, there’s an extendable awning that is electrically actuated from the trailing edge of the fiberglass hardtop.
The cabin is accessed through a center-mounted sliding door and a screen is also integrated into the door assembly. Curved stainless rails assist with going below.
Straight ahead, when entering the cabin, there’s a settee wrapping around a solid wood table on a stainless pedestal. The backrests are padded bolsters curving all the way around. For entertainment, speakers with backlit grilles are flush-mounted into the forward bulkhead.
To port is a galley that includes a microwave, storage, a single-burner stovetop recessed into the Corian counter, a trash receptacle and a single basin stainless steel sink with contemporary fixture. Additionally, there’s a bottle and condiment storage area just behind. Below is a grab rail with more storage. The drawers are on stainless sliders with dovetail joinery.
Just across from the galley is a TV, with a stereo and climate control just below. Open counter space includes stainless beverage holders, and a refrigerator is built into the cabinet below that.
To starboard is the head. It’s a wet head and features a pull out sprayer with a hanger just above, all separate from the sink and faucet. There is storage below the sink and above. The forward bulkhead is mirrored, as is the door just outside the head leading to a cedar closet.
Aft, there’s a berth tucked under the cockpit that facilitates overnighting on the 350 Sun Sport. It measures 6’2” (1.88 m) long and 4’7” (1.40 m) wide. It also has 23” (58.42 cm) of headroom. Included is lighting, storage and a mirrored headboard.
Non-skid Amtico decking takes us out to the stern. A hot and cold shower, with engine flush connections alongside, and a stereo remote are at the port bulkhead.
The main focal point of the aft deck is the 4’ x 5’ (1.22 m x 1.52 m) double wide aft-facing lounge seat. It’s created by flipping the aft seat back forward, making this lounge safe to use only when not underway. Drink holders are to both sides and, as expected, there’s plenty of storage underneath.
New Extended Swim Platform
The non-skid decking continues out to the swim platform. Our test boat had the extended platform that really adds to the versatility of the 350. Drink holders are to both sides and the pull up cleats are mounted well out of the way. An additional pair of cleats is even higher, and ahead and to the center is a tow point. To the starboard side are the shore power, TV and city water connections.
Formula has a solid reputation for building quality boats with a premium level of fit-and-finish. There are really no other boats quite like them in class. The 350 SS is a comfortable boat that crosses over from roomy day boat to a casual overnighter. On top of that, we found that the handling characteristics of the Ilmor engines and One Drive outdrive systems make for a match befitting this premium-level boat.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Formula 350 Sun Sport (2017-) is 57.7 mph (92.9 kph), burning 73.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 279.71 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Formula 350 Sun Sport (2017-) is 34.8 mph (56 kph), and the boat gets 1.1 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.47 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 167 miles (268.76 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 480-hp 7.4L Ilmor.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!