The Mission of the Glastron GTS 187
The Glastron GTS 187 marks the brand’s entry into jet-powered pleasure boating. She brings strengths and features Glastron is known for, including smart styling, the Glastron’s much-touted (“Super Stable Vee”) SSV hull, and an MSRP price of $32,353 as tested with the Rotax 250-hp engine.Because of her rocket-like acceleration she brings thrills and exhilarating performance for boaters looking for an adrenaline rush while boating. For those who have been weaned on the excitement of PWCs but who are now ready for something like a real boat, a boat like the Glastron GTS 187 is just the answer. A key feature is that a jet boat eliminates an exposed prop. This appeals to many families, especially those with young children. Even with jet power, the engines should always be turned off whenever people are in the water swimming around the boat.
The Glastron Back Story
The Glastron was born in Texas in 1956. Its models became known for their sleek styling and innovative hull designs such as the “Aqualift” tri-hull and the more contemporary SSV hull, still in use today. Over the years, they achieved something akin to a near cult appeal with boating enthusiasts as far away as Europe. At one time it was the largest builder of sportboats in the world, producing over 50,000 sportboat units per year – something that today the entire sportboat industry cannot approach.
The GT Line and Legend.
It is perhaps worth noting that being “cool” is part of Glastron’s boating legacy. In the long and successful franchise of James Bond feature films, one of their known hallmarks was to showcase “cool,” high tech gadgets in their action sequences. The 1973 James Bond film, “Live and Let Die”, featured one of the most exciting boat chases ever depicted in a movie, and all boats used were Glastrons. For his part, Agent 007 was driving a Glastron GT.
In the 1990s, the Glastron brand was acquired by Genmar Holdings and manufacturing was moved to Minnesota. Like lots of brands it rode the roller coaster up hill in the late 1990s and early part of the new century. But the Great Recession starting in 2008 hit Genmar hard and it in turn forced the company into bankruptcy. Operating under Chapter 11 protection, the builder stayed in business and was sold, along with Four Winns and several other brands, to Platinum Equity, a turn-around investment company with a sterling reputation.
Platinum Equity Invests During a Down Market.
After the brand’s acquisition the parent company invested heavily in upgrading existing products and in designing, then tooling new ones. Because overall boat sales had dropped to 25 to 30% of what they had been before the economic meltdown, Platinum Equity wisely consolidated Glastron boat production in the Cadillac, Michigan plant of Four Winns, building its boats along with those of Glastron and Wellcraft. Now, all four brands (Glastron, Four Winns, Scarab and Wellcraft) are built in the Cadillac, MI plant by their highly experienced, quality-focused boat building work force.
Beneteau is the New Owner.
With the partial recovery of the economy and the new tooling investment made by Platinum Equity, the largest boat company in Europe acquired the four brands in 2014 and became the proud owner of Glastron, Four Winns, Scarab and Wellcraft. Now the full resources of this international, publicly-owned company are behind the venerable Glastron brand. And because Beneteau is managed and operated by boaters from the top to the bottom, we think Glaston’s future has never looked brighter.
Glastron’s GTS 187 has --
The Engine is Key.
Her Rotax 4-TEC jet power plant provides quick acceleration to get water skiers and wakeboarders up in a hurry. Further, she can be navigated in shallow water with only a 14” (35.56 cm) hull draft. Moreover, by offering models in three different horsepower ranges from 150 to 250-hp, buyers can match the power to their specific application.
The Rotax engine is a 3-cylinder, 12-valve, 4-stroke engine with a displacement of 1494 cc. The 150 and 200 versions are liquid-cooled, with a dry sump. All are EFI. The 250-hp version has a supercharger and an extended intercooler. One of the largest advantages of these engines is that their lightweight. The GTS 187’s engine and power train is direct-drive (i.e. no transmission and no 90-degree turns), compact, and relatively simple with far fewer parts, both moving and otherwise. With fewer parts generally maintenance concerns are reduced. However, the jet propulsion system requires a higher level of maintenance if operated in salt water. Freshwater flushes are recommended after each use.
These power units meet stringent CARB 3-star ratings for low engine emissions. The BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products) Rotax engines are cited as among the cleanest, quietest engines in the industry. BRP has a 30-year track record in producing jet-powered Sea-Doo watercraft.
Built for fun on the water with friends and family, her maximum passenger rating is 8 people or 1,200 lbs. (544 kg), whichever comes first. With three people in the bow, three on the bench seat aft and two in the bucket seats, the boat has the room, but like most boats in class, the weight issue will be the controlling one on capacity, in most cases. The GTS 187’s overall length is 19’6” (5.94 m) and her beam is 7’5” (2.26 m). Boaters will likely enjoy her open bow seating, stylish cockpit instrument design, stern rear-faced seating and generous stern swim platform afforded by her jet package positioned entirely under the water line. Extended swim platforms are historically a signature design featured on traditional Glastron I/O models.
Aboard this Boat.
The GTS 187 has a split, walkthrough windshield design with a gentle curvature. Side windshield wings are offered as an option. In the cockpit, dual console adjustable bucket seats forward are backed by a full-width bench seat aft with storage underneath. There is glove box storage in the port console and more storage under the reasonably roomy, padded bow seating for 3. She also has an in-floor cockpit ski locker.
The GTS 187’s deadrise is 20-degrees at the transom and Glastron fans have always endorsed the SSV, deep-V hull that is part of the GTS 187’s package. This Glastron hull has been around for many years, testifying to the integrity of its design when it comes to runabout handling. Indeed, one of the best features of this hull is the fact that upon acceleration, the whole boat rises out of the hole and not just on its bow.
Her draft is rated at 14” (36 cm) which makes her ideal to get into skinny water. However, at low speeds a jet intake is at risk of inhaling grass and debris off the bottom in shallow water of less than 2’ (.61 m). On the plus side, the Rotax engines have grates over the intakes to help block debris. More often than not, simply shutting down the engine, and therefore the suction, will clear the obstruction. Other jet engines are also susceptible to grass and plastic bags getting wrapped around the impeller shaft. Rotax gets around this by having a shroud surrounding the spinning shaft, protected it from such problems.
The Glastron GTS 187 has a LOA of 19’6” (5.94 m), a beam of 7’5” (2.26 m) and a draft of 14” (35.56 cm). With an empty weight of 2,040 lbs. (925 kg), half fuel and 2 people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 2,801 lbs. (1,271 kg).
With the 250 Rotax turning at 8250 rpm, we reached our top speed of 46.2 mph with an 18.8 gph fuel burn. Best economic cruise came in at 5000 rpm and 20.7 mph. At that speed the fuel burn dropped to 4.5 gph, which produced a range of 112 miles and an endurance of 5.4 hours.
The first, and most obvious characteristic of the GTS 187 is that she is a fast boat. We cranked her up to planing speed in less than 2 seconds. Hit 20 mph in 4.2 seconds, and continued right on through 30 in 6.3 seconds. There’s a one-quarter turn to the steering, lock to lock. This generates the urge to continually crank the wheel all over the water. And the GTS 187 is more than happy with that. She’ll spin out in the turns, much like a PWC, and then releasing the wheel returns it to the neutral position and she’ll blast off in the next direction.
She tracks well in the straight and level and in more sedate turns she’ll come around with no adverse effects of chine walking.
The GTS 187 comes with a custom factory-matched trailer. Her storage length on the trailer is 20’9” (9.33 m). With a published dry weight of approximately 2,300 lbs. (1,040 kgs.) and reported trailer weight of 731 lbs. (323 kgs.), the GTS 187 falls well within the towing range of many mid-size trucks and SUVs, making her economical to pull and petite in terms of required storage space. The standard single-axle trailer has disc brakes and a swing-away tongue. An optional galvanized trailer with GatorHyde is $853 extra. A spare tire/wheel is $267.
Options to Consider
Options for the GTS 187 include variations on the tow sports package. The XL Package and it starts at $1,233. It includes the bolsters for the bucket seats, snap-in carpet, and stainless steel grab handles among a number of other things. We recommend these options --
Pricing for the base boat with 150-hp engine is $28,260. Contact a local Glastron dealer to select the specific options that the buyer desires.
Note: Dealer prep, taxes, and freight not included.
Observations on the Glastron GTS 187
The jet boat segment has experienced steady growth for the past decade, the Great Recession notwithstanding. Their safety, agile, spirited performance, and skinny water capabilities have been the major reasons for their growing popularity.With the advent of the new Glastron GTS 187, we see a marriage of the proven 3-cylinder Rotax 4-TEC engine with the proven Glastron hull shape in an attractive package that makes use of Glastron’s classic styling. Further, the engines are marketed by BRP and the boats are built on the other side of Lake Michigan in Cadillac which means that the two companies work together hand and glove. Each new entrant to the jet boat market has tried to carve out its own niche, and Glastron is no exception. It is playing to its strength – a nearly 60-year tradition of building edgy, sleek-looking vessels with exceptional performance at a price that is quite competitive.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Glastron GTS 187 (2015-) is 46.2 mph (74.4 kph), burning 18.8 gallons per hour (gph) or 71.16 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Glastron GTS 187 (2015-) is 20.7 mph (33.3 kph), and the boat gets 4.6 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.96 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 112 miles (180.25 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 250-hp supercharged Rotax.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!