Glastron seemed to be going for bragging rights when they designed the GLS 215 BR. While bowriders tend to have the same layout from one model to the next, this one does have some notable features that I liked. For starters the high sides to the cockpit make it very difficult for the little kiddies to get into trouble from hanging over the side. The windshield also carries far back for an additional layer of safety. I noticed the usual storage areas, and a few that were unusual. No space went wasted on this boat and that’s the mark of a company that gets aboard their boats and touches and feels them.
The aft sunpad was the usual size that we see time and again, but this one also had storage underneath. That made for a great place to store wet towels and suits, and the heat of the engine will dry things out quickly. Additionally, there was a flip-up aft facing rumble seat that made a great place to hang out when on the hook and the kids are floating off the stern.
The GLS 215 handles in a way that makes you think you are on a much larger boat. You won’t find aggressive sportboat handling, and hard turns should be taken at less than full speed. Actually, half speed is best, otherwise the propeller tends to ventilate. To correct just back off on the turn a bit and then the prop starts to grab water again. I found that the best wake, that is to say, the best wake for jumping, occurred around 1500-2000 rpm. You’ll be going less than 10 mph, and by cranking in lots of up trim you’ll have the bow riding high and the wake big enough to start cresting. Now it’s time to get airborne so you’ll want to consider the optional tower to increase the height of your jumps (add $3,784). When doing a hole shot, there’s a normal 16-degree bow rise, but since Glastron builds in a dropping sheer line as the gunwales reach the bow, you lose little visibility due to that bow rise. This is an important feature.
When trimming the GLS 215 you don't have to go crazy. Just come up to about the 1/4 mark on the gauge. That will get you where you need to be, and if you go too far, your indication will be the prop ventilating, and then you just drop back down a click or two.
You’re going to want to consider some options for your GLS 215, aside from the tower we’ve already touched on. I liked the combination of looks and functionality of the upgrade package (add $680) that consists of docking lights (since I’m typically the last one off the water at night), a transom tilt/trim switch (great to have when trailering), an hour meter (a must when keeping track of maintenance), and a stainless steel transom shower (to rinse off the salt). The standard engine package is the catalyzed 270-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 GXi. I found it to be adequate for all the moves that were expected of a boat in this class, but if you have lots of very heavy friends who also like to water ski or wakeboard, then you can upgrade. The 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GiC can be had for an extra $1,479, and MerCruiser’s 300-hp 350 Mag MPI EC will set you back an additional $2,821. Notice how this boat is new enough to only only catalyzed engines.
At the Helm
I’d like to see Glastron bring the seat up about 3” (7.6 cm) for multiple reasons. When I was sitting down in the seat, the panel came up quite high and I felt like a little kid being so low. Sitting up on the bolster helped, but then I was looking right at the windshield frame. Depending on whether I was turning or heading straight, I kept finding myself ducking down, or straightening up in order to see ahead. Pedestal height is an easy thing to fix. Before buying any boat, make sure the helm seat height fits your torso for good visibility. If it does not, just ask the dealer to install a longer or shorter pedestal tube.
One thing Glastron consistently nails is the position of the armrest in relation to the engine control. Always comfortable, and on the GLS 215 they got it right again. At your right leg there is a raised area with a drink holder in it. This also serves as a convenient spot to put your foot up and then by resting your elbow on your knee, your hand sits right on the side of the steering wheel... a surprisingly comfortable position.
Glastron put a lot of cleverness and innovation into the GLS 215 BR but some of these items need a little bit of tweaking, in my opinion. These are all items that can be easily corrected.
I found the Glastron GLS 215 BR to be a very attractive package, and at a base price of $43,387, including trailer, it was attractively priced as well. With a boat of load nifty features, plenty of creature comfort and good looks to boot, this is a boat that will give you pride of ownership for years to come. And since you’re going to be hanging onto this one, you’ll be glad to know that Glastron stands behind you with a lifetime limited warranty on the hull, deck, floor, stringers and transom, and a two-year warranty on non-structural components.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Glastron GLS 215 BR (2011-) is 50.2 mph (80.8 kph), burning 20.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 75.7 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Glastron GLS 215 BR (2011-) is 30.2 mph (48.6 kph), and the boat gets 3.89 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.65 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 119 miles (191.51 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 270-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 GXiC.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|