With the Premier 290 Grand Entertainer, the mission couldn’t be clearer. This is a high-end pontoon boat designed to provide her guests with the most comfortable entertainment platform to grace the lake or river that she’ll be plying – but to “entertain” in more than one way. First, with her full cabana bar, and large deck with comfortable in-the-round seating she is a party vessel extraordinaire.Second, when equipped with the Premier PTX Package and powered by twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 300-hp outboards, she is one of the fastest, most watersports-oriented pontoon boats on the water – one sure to provide lots of entertainment of a different sort. Add the i-Dock Joystick Steering System and she becomes a pleasure to handle around the docks, as well. And add the extra 1'4" (.41 m) in-deck width provided by the optional 10' (3.05 m) beam and this boat lets a crowd live extra-large. Overall, the Premier 290 is very much the “Grand Entertainer”.
Most pontoon boats have a bow entry door, and the 290 Grand Entertainer is no exception. However, the unique removable bow seat spans this gate, providing full wrap-around U-shaped seating at the bow, a great feature at party time. Entry gates aft provide easy access with the bow filler seat in place, or it can be left at the docks when not needed, providing a bow walkthrough.
Premier has built its reputation on giving the customers what they want and that often means building something a little unconventional. In fact, the company tells us that some of its best innovations have come at the suggestion of customers.
Flexsteel is Best.
As for the furniture itself, it's all Flexsteel, made by the same company that makes high-end office and home furnishings. Corrosion-resistant spring steel straps under the seat provide a cushioning effect that just isn't available in the typical foam-only pontoon boat furniture.The bases of all the seats are roto-cast plastic with Premier’s patented EZ-hinge, allowing easy access underneath the cushions. Components are marinized, fully sprung, and highly corrosion resistant. The materials exceed ASTM B117 Salt Spray Exposure Testing as rated by DuPont Powder Coatings USA, according to Flexsteel.Premier is the only builder of pontoon boats that we know of that uses furniture made by Flexsteel.
Changing Room/Pump-Out Head.
To port, the Mirage changing seat lifts to reveal a changing room/head compartment. Many pontoon boats have this feature, but none that we’ve seen match the size and utility of the one installed on the 290 Grand Entertainer. It has enough space for changing and allows room for the optional pump-out head. And note that it is an available pump-out head, or a Porta-Potti.
Like the couches, the helm seat is made by Flexsteel and is among the most comfortable in class. It is wider than the typical seat, has much more padding, and instead of flip-down armrests, those on the 290 Grand Entertainer are self-leveling to remain comfortable with the seatback reclined. They are specially made for marine use.
The helm has the Evinrude multifunction screen, ICON 4.3 CTS, to port with the optional Garmin GPS in the center and the stereo to the right. The digital shift and throttle controls and i-Dock joystick are comfortable to work with to the driver’s right. The hickory-wood trimmed, three-spoke wheel is mounted to a tilt base, and wood accents on the helm are complimented by the attractiveness of this wheel.
The Bar is the Star of the Show
The Island Bar
This is without a doubt the most intriguing feature of this boat’s entertainment capabilities. The aft port corner of the boat is taken up by an attractive bar which includes four pedestal seats that adjust to varying heights. Tubular footrests around the perimeter of the bar are perfectly positioned for comfort. The ladies will appreciate the flip-out purse holders in front of each seat.
The cabana bar itself consists of a solid surface counter in two tones with lighted drink holders recessed in front of each seat. Overhead is a cabana top that provides comfortable protection as well as a place to store stemware.
Behind the bar are all of the accessories necessary to make the 290 Grand Entertainer's owner a host to be envied. The tools include bottle holders, a dual-voltage refrigerator, two stainless drawers with steel sliders and internal bottle holders, a sink, cutting surface, a paper towel rack, ice bucket and plenty of available counter space.
Premier didn't forget that the 290 Grand Entertainer is still a boat and that boats are made for fun on the water. Just abaft the bar is a folding double-wide gate that leads to a set of extra-wide aluminum stairs that descend to the surface, where a flip-out ladder dips into the water. This is a classy way to get into the water and it provides a comfortable sitting area between the engines for letting the feet dangle in the water, while remaining within easy reach of the bar just ahead. We have not seen anything quite like the arrangement south of a $2 million motoryacht.
Of course, she’s also a capable tow boat as well. Whether the end of the line has kids on a tube, a wakeboard, a pair of skis or a slalom ski, the 290 Grand Entertainer can handle it all. Although to be clear, the wakeboarder will probably be a bit disappointed as this boat just doesn’t create a wake that will allow a rider to catch lots of air. But for everyone else, it’s hang-on time. Let’s take a look at what sort of performance we got on our test.
Premier offers the 290 Grand Entertainer with a third pontoon called the PTX Package, but this is much more than just another tube. The 36” (.91 m) diameter tube -- huge as pontoons go --has an octagonal shape and a 1’-wide pad that the boat rides on when at speed. The outside pontoons are 25” (.64 m) in diameter and have strakes on the inboard side to provide lift and help the boat lean in turns. The 36” PTX tube has 44% more displacement than conventional 25” diameter tubes, thus its ride is far more comfortable and much dryer.
The Premier 290 Grand Entertainer has a length overall of 29'5" (8.93 m) and an optional beam of 10’ (2.59 m). With an empty weight of 4,275 lbs. (1,939 kg), 82 gallons (276 L) of fuel, 2 people and test power we had an estimated test weight of 6,282 lbs. (2,850 kg).With a pair of Evinrude E-TEC G2 300-hp motors turning 15.75" x 15" Rebel stainless steel props, we reached a top speed of 50.1 mph at 5600 rpm. At that speed, we were burning a combined 47.8 gph giving us a range of 75.6 miles.
As this is a boat that stays well on top of the water, best cruise is pretty much wherever the driver wants to be, but we found her to be quite comfortable at 3000 rpm and 23.5 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to only 11.2 gph, giving us a range of 151.2 miles and an approximate endurance of 6 hours and 30 minutes, while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
Time to Plane.
Here's where things got real interesting. With those twin E-TEC G2 300-hp engines, we accelerated to 20 mph in 2.6 seconds and 30 in 4.2 seconds. After running those numbers, we immediately searched the lake for a bowrider to race but there wasn't one available.
The main reason why the 290 Grand Entertainer is so quick to 50 mph, of course, has something to do with the 600 horsepower strapped to her stern. While we don’t feel that the boat really needs that much power – we think twin 225-hp engines would also be impressive – there is no denying the “wow” factor of this huge pontoon boat streaking across a lake. And in big lakes where distance can be a factor, speed can come in handy.
The 290 Grand Entertainer presents a minimal 3-degree bow rise upon acceleration, maintains that angle for a cruise attitude, and rolls only 4 ½-degrees into the turns. In high-performance turns, she will lower her bow and carve through the turn a little more aggressively.
When equipped with Evinrude’s i-Dock Joystick Steering System, the 290 Grand Entertainer can be maneuvered into virtually any slip or dock space. The engines respond smoothly to the joystick input, and within minutes our test captains were comfortable moving the boat in and out of slips or slipping sideways into a tight spot between two boats at a dock. The captain can use the “boost” button to adjust the amount of power being applied, and the steering resistance and number of turns lock-to-lock can be programmed.
We were definitely impressed with the Premier 290 Grand Entertainer’s combination of luxury and performance in a do-all package that will change the way people look at pontoon boats. Expanding the beam to 10' (3.05 m) really opens up the boat, creating more usable space. The cabana bar is more than a gimmick because it is thoughtfully laid-out and well-equipped for its intended purpose. Throughout the boat, the seating is exceptionally comfortable. Even the changing room/private head is a step above the competition.The PTX Package makes the boat a serious performer that’s capable of towing any form of watersport, and that can beat many sportboats out of the hole and even outrun some at top speed. The twin 300-hp engines are the maximum horsepower for the boat and while they are fun, they also make her a little pricey. Even a pair of 200 or 225-hp motors would make her a lot of fun, and the twin engines could still have the option of joystick docking. Of course, adding the i-Dock system would make low-speed maneuverability that much better.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Premier 290 Grand Entertainer (2015-) is 50.1 mph (80.6 kph), burning 47.80 gallons per hour (gph) or 180.92 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Premier 290 Grand Entertainer (2015-) is 23.5 mph (37.8 kph), and the boat gets 2.10 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.89 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 151 miles (243.01 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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