The FX line was created to add over-the-top features to an already first-rate brand. We've been impressed as each model makes its debut and this new 400 FX8 continues that trend. She now represents the largest in the lineup, is loaded with upscale features, and on a recent test she perform like a lady… well, maybe a very muscular lady.
- Nonskid foredeck center walkway
- Tinted, tempered curved-glass windshield with center walk-thru and polished stainless steel frame
- Radar arch with mast light & white air horn
- Extended integrated swim platform with concealed stainless steel swim ladder & pull-up cleat
- Carbon-fiber composite dash and trim panels in silver
- Bennett trim tab switches & indicators
- Cockpit/swim platform blue/white LED courtesy lights with hand-held remote control
- Molded wetbar with integrated sink, carbon fiber composite countertop, 120V/12V pullout refrigerator w/stainless steel front and beverage racks, 17 1/2-quart Igloo cooler, in-counter trash container & 120V GFCI outlet
- Pneumatic-assist transom door
- Light Cherry woodgrain-finish flooring throughout cabin
- 120V water heater with heat exchanger
|Length Overall||41' 6'' / 12.65 m|
3.81 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||11.5 sec.|
|0 to 30||13.9 sec.|
|Load||3 persons, 1/4 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||80 deg.; 56% humidity; wind: 0 mph; seas; calm|
2 x 565-hp MerCruiser
2 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG High Output ECT Bravo III
2 x 525-hp Mercury Racing Bravo III XR
2 x 725-hp Ilmor MV10 Indy Stern drive system
|Deck Warranty Extended||10 Years|
|Engine Warranty Extended||5 Years|
|Gelcoat Warranty Extended||2 Years|
|Hull Warranty Extended||10 Years|
The 400 FX8 is designed for people who like to go very fast, in style with sumptuous luxury and every amenity imaginable aboard. Because the 400 is so big she has lots of room in the cockpit for friends and an interior to turn them green with envy. She is a boat that can admirably handle friends for a thrilling day on the water, but also be taken on long-distance cruises by a couple needing to get away. With the FAS3TECH hull, 22-degree deadrise at the transom, and an 11' (3.35 m) beam she can handle lots of horsepower and challenging sea conditions with the comfort and security that only a proven offshore design can provide.
Speed with Class.
The Formula 400 FX8 was created to bring out the best of the best for boaters who want something very special. She is designed to go very fast, but there is more to the FX concept than sheer speed -- and it is here that Formula excels. Her fit-and-finish both on deck and below, her amenities, styling, and attention to detail are second to none in the genre.
Surprisingly Expansive Standards List.
I'm not talking about items to get added to the standards list just to make it look longer (nav lights, stainless cleats… etc.). I'm talking about actual items that are rarely seen on any standard list. From the minor items such as Bennett trim tabs, to the built-in central vac system, to the 16,000 BTU reverse cycle air conditioner. And that's just scratching the surface. This is part of what sets the FX line apart from the rest of Formula's boats, to say nothing about other boats on the market.
FAS3TECH is Formula's line of go-fast boats. Their hulls are specifically designed to bring speed to the table, and it is the same hull design that is being used in this high-end, high-speed cruising yacht. The most notable feature of this hull design is the double-stepped hull which sucks air under the bottom to make the boat even faster.
5-Year Service Contract.
Formula calls its warranty/service contract program the "Transferable 5-Year Formula Guard Protection Plan." It is one of the best in the business and only a handful of builders have anything quite like it.
Styling and Good Taste.
Like all Formula boats the 400 FX8 has been designed and styled by John Adams who exclusively works for Formula. He is a veteran in the business and his concept of go-fast styling has been much emulated but it is hard to match his keen sense of nautical style and taste.
The Formula FX8 has a LOA of 41'6" (12.65 m), a beam of 11' (3.35 m) and a draft of 36" (.91 m). With an empty weight of 16,100 lbs. (7,303 kg), one quarter fuel and three people onboard we had a test weight of 17,080 lbs. (7,747 kg).
With a pair of 565-hp Mercury racing engines driving through Bravo I XR lower units we reached a top speed at 5360 rpm of 63.5 mph. At that speed we were burning 85.3 gph for a range of 159 statute miles. Best cruise was reached at 4000 rpm and 40.9 mph. At that speed we were burning 42.15 gph, which we could maintain for 5 hours, giving the FX8 a range of 218 miles.
We reached planing speed in 11.5 seconds, reached 30 mph in 13.9 seconds, 40 mph in 19.2 seconds and continued accelerating through 50 mph in 24.9 seconds.
We hasten to add that the engines we tested are not the standard ones which are twin MerCruiser 380-hp 8.2 L High Output ECT engines driving through Bravo III lower units. The first up-grade option offered is Mercury Racing's 525 EFI with Bravo III XR.
Upon accelerating the FX8 bow comes up 17–degrees, and because that bow was so far ahead of the helm you will lose sight of the horizon for roughly 10 seconds. Once up on plane she settles into a 5–degree bow high attitude which provides comfortable visibility whether sitting, or when leaning up on the bolster.
I find that she's got great handling characteristics and part of what makes her so comfortable is that things happen relatively slowly. There are 7-1/4 turns from lock-to -lock on the wheel which inherently makes any turns at speed relatively docile.
Her stepped hull is very slippery so she's got good speed and she clearly wants to run. Drivers need to be rather aggressive with the throttles to get over that hump before planing speed so don't be shy about hitting the throttles. This characteristic is typical with deep-V boats of this size and weight. Her minimum planing speed will be at or around 3500 rpm so use that as a benchmark when slowing down.
She's a bit sensitive to trim and if too much is used the operator can quickly induce oscillation. To get out of the porpoise movement, bring the outdrive trim down a click or two.
When taking power off she settles into the water stern first which again, brings the bow up so be sure that the area is cleared.
Hear Me Roar.
Our test boat was configured with Bravo 1 XR outdrives ($75,530). Both outdrives were tied together with a stainless steel tie bar. Through-transom engine exhausts are optional ($5,610) and exited just below the swim platform. These really serve to give the FX8 a deep, throaty rumble. Our test boat also had the optional blue LED underwater lights ($2,770). The standard stainless Bennett trim tabs measured 15” (88.1 cm) by 17” (43.2 cm) each.
An aft facing double wide rumble seat
is custom embroidered with the FX8 logo. Formula is quick to state that this seat should not be used while the boat is underway, and they are correct to do so. But while at the dock or at anchor, this makes an ideal spot to hang out and watch the kids swimming off the stern or the sun setting over the horizon.
U-shaped cockpit seating
is well padded and constructed using weather resistant StarLite synthetic marine panels, DriFast foam, and vinyl treated with PreFixx stain inhibitor assembled with Tenera element resistant thread.
To the stern, the U-shaped seating lies back to back with the aft facing rumble seat at the swim platform. By pulling out a side mounted pin and lowering the seat backs, both seats form a double wide sun pad.
The helm of the FX8 has Livorsi oversized mega series gauges with red bezels and blue backlighting mounted against a carbon fiber composite dash. A Garmin 740s GPS chartplotter is fitted as standard equipment. Options include a Raymarine E12 GPS ($5,400), GPS and radar ($13,985) or a combo GPS radar and autopilot ($22,980).
Axius is available as an option for joystick maneuverability ($16,120), but I found the 400 FX8 to be plenty maneuverable without it. A more cost-effective option however, is the bow thruster ($8,540) that we had installed on our test boat.
A port side lounger
allows for a pair of people to face the captain and admiral at the double wide helm seat, or a single person to lounge facing forward or aft. There is storage under the seat but in the case of our test boat that space was taken up by the optional 16,000 BTU reverse cycle cockpit air conditioner ($7,180).
The bow is accessed by molded steps leading to a walkthrough windshield. Formula thoughtfully interconnected the upper and lower latches of the opening for the windshield. Bow rails seem to be more aesthetic than functional at 1'4" (.4 m) high. Four opening hatches provide light and ventilation to the cabin below. Nonskid runs down the center of the foredeck and off to the sides where the cleats are mounted. Forward is a flush mounted hatch concealing an electric windlass. A polished stainless steel anchor is connected to 150’ (45.7 m) of all chain rode -- all standard.
The cabin is accessed via solid wood entry steps. Cherry wood grain decking is used throughout the cabin (standard). Temperature is controlled by a standard 16,000 BTU reverse cycle air conditioner with digital climate controls.
is to port with the hardwood dovetailed drawers that we’re so used to seeing in Formula boats. The refrigerator is dual voltage and there is a concealed electric stove with a safety shutoff switch on the cover. The galley also includes a microwave oven, a 5 speed blender and a trash container. The counter top is Corian.
A dinette is forward
, and that's a feature I'm always happy to see as it adds usable space to the bow area. It's easy enough to convert something like this to a berth but to have it as a dedicated berth means it's only going to be used if you're spending the night with extra company onboard. This is a much more usable scenario and high marks to Formula for going this route.
The upholstery is a mix of pillow top cushions and UltraLeather/crushed velvet upholstery. The high-low table and filler cushions allow a conversion to a berth.
The deep cherry finish of the cabin continues in the head which also features Corian countertops, a polished stainless steel sink with swivel faucet, a porcelain VacuFlush head leading to a 50 gallon (189.3 L) holding tank with dockside pump out, and a separate shower with a molded-in seat.
features a queen size berth with memory foam mattress, full width storage, and an optional 19”(48.3 cm) flatscreen TV ($1,530). This berth has crawl-in access between the companionway and the door to the starboard hanging locker. Once inside it is remarkably private because a bulkhead closes it off from the companionway stairs and the galley equipment. Inside there are reading lights, portlights port and starboard, and of course, A/C.
The first thing that occurs to me is that this is not a boat for people who want a stripped out, lightweight muscle boat that makes a lot of noise and goes fast. Boaters wanting the appearance of speed and little more should look elsewhere and save their money.
Because the boat can be cruised for a long weekend or even more, she is more than just a day boat for entertaining and thrill seeking. She can also be a terrific way for a busy businessman to get in a weekend of boating far from home because she goes so fast, and so comfortably. Once at the destination, the owner can sleep aboard or ashore. Like sailing, the fun is in getting there.
The 400 FX8 is quite a different kind of boat for a different kind of boat owner, one who appreciates a finely built vessel that is a classic in its genre. She is a boat that will turn heads in any crowd.
Always with Formula we have to address the price. As we always say about Formula boats -- they are simply not for everyone. It takes someone who is truly successful to be able to afford one. This FX8 has a base price of $671,430 and fully loaded the price can get upwards of $779,000. To add a little perspective, this compares to Formula's 400 Super Sport with a base price of $638,680.
The people that I know who own Formula boats don't mind spending the extra money to get what they want, and Formula knows what this caliber of customer wants.