The Formula 270 BR is a premium, performance-oriented bowrider displaying the company's legendary level of exterior finish. The boat we tested was powered by a 430-hp Ilmor MV8 6.2L one-drive package that combines the Ilmor power with hydraulic clutch outdrive for exceptionally smooth transitions into gear. Ilmor engines have won 19 Indianapolis 500s and the same expertise and precision that has made the Ilmor name famous around the racing world has gone into their marine engines. The engine in the Formula 270 BR has a 5 year, 500-hour warranty -- something almost unheard of with racing engines.
- Transferable 5-Year Formula Guard® Limited Protection Plan with 10-year Structural Warranty (USA only)
- Pressure-treated Perma Panel™ structural hull matrix with foam-filled hull cavities
- Concealed fiberglass anchor locker
- Tinted, tempered curved-glass windshield with stainless top frame & center walk-thru
- 316L stainless transom grab rail with tow eye & swim platform boarding rail
- Continuous molded cockpit liner
- Molded fiberglass dash in Charcoal or Mocha with Liquid Black panels, Ritchie® compass, digital depth sounder, illuminated waterproof accessory rocker switches with E-T-A® circuit breakers, Livorsi® illuminated instrumentation, domed with chrome bezels, auxiliary 12V outlet, smartphone dash pocket with iPod™/MP3 port & tilt wheel in leather wrapped stainless
- Clarion waterproof dash-mounted stereo control & six 61/2˝ speakers with polished stainless grilles & 400W amplification
- Double-wide convertible helm seat with articulating seat bottom
- Expanded aft-facing sun lounge with trunk storage below – converts to full-length sunpad
|Length Overall||27' 0" / 8.23 m|
Currently no test numbers
1 x 300-hp Merc 350 MAG ECT Bravo III
1 x 320-hp Merc 377 MAG ECT Bravo III
1 x 380-hp Merc 8.2 MAG ECT Bravo III X
1 x 430-hp Merc 8.2 MAG HO ECT Bravo III X
4 Volvo Penta engine options from 300-hp to 430-hp
Formula’s 270 BR is a roomy bowrider that combines family gatherings with watersports functionality, all in a premium build with upscale features. She’s got the fit and finish we’ve come to expect from the brand and the handling to match. The model we inspected brought the upscale qualities into the engine compartment, with the 430-hp Ilmor MV8 6.2L one drive package that combines the Ilmor engine with the high-end outdrive with it’s hydraulic clutch for smooth transitions into gear that are met with only a change in engine tone as the drive engages, instead of the usual clunk into gear.
- • 10-year structural warranty. We've seen five-year, but 10-year certainly signifies a company that is standing behind their products.
- • Five-year Formula Guard protection. This covers all the components on the boat that normally have a one-year protection plan. Formula Guard kicks in after the initial year to protect owners for an additional four years. Again, this is indicative of a company standing behind their product.
- • Painted graphics. While it's rare for a boat to not have any graphics on the topsides, they are nearly always decals. Naturally, these start to peel after several years of use, and it's not uncommon to see dirt collect at the edges. Formula's graphics are applied with a very high-end paint, and it’s a difficult process to apply. All of the problems with decals are thus eliminated.
- • High-end finish. It's very easy to pick a Formula out of a crowd of boats going by. They have a much higher quality gloss and shine to their finish that makes them stand out above the rest. This is because Formula dedicates so much time to polishing their finishes to perfection.
The Formula 270 BR has a length overall of 28’ 5” (8.66 m), a beam of 8’ 6” (2.59 m) and a draft of 40” (102 cm).
Local conditions prevented us from testing this model, but Ilmor’s test team reports a top speed of 51 mph at 5850 rpm. Best cruise was reached at 3500 rpm, where the 270 was running at 27.8 mph. At that speed, the 12.1 gph fuel burn translated into 2.3 mpg and a range of 208 statute miles, while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s total 101-gallon (382.3 L) fuel capacity.
Upon advancing the throttle, the 270 BR will come up 16 degrees, which brings the bow just under the level of the horizon, so there’s no concern about loss of visibility. Once up on plane, just a couple of shots of up-trim will move the spray from the helm to the aft quarters, and the boost in speed can easily be felt. If the trim is brought up any further, then the 270 starts to porpoise rather than ventilate the propellers.
With 2 ½ turns on the steering wheel from lock-to-lock, the 270 BR is responsive. She has comfortable turning characteristics in that she doesn’t dig into the turn to the point where everyone and everything gets tossed to the outside of the turn. Rather, she has a slight slide and comfortable 22-degree max bank angle that keeps everyone settled into the seats. She also tends to stay stabilized in the turn, as opposed to oscillating throughout the turn. She’ll dip her shoulder into the turn, and that creates a loss of speed, so we found ourselves adding throttle as the turn was established.
As for visibility, at no-wake speed the windshield frame is only slightly above our test captain’s line of sight. However, in cruise mode, the bow is at a 5-degree bow high attitude, which had us looking right through the dead center of the windshield. Of course, when sitting up on the bolster, we’re above it all.
Beginning at the stern, the full beam molded swim platform comes out 2’ 3” (0.7 m). There are courtesy lights to both port and starboard, as well as throughout the cockpit, and an optional handheld remote to turn on the courtesy lights is offered ($610). Extended swim platforms are offered that come out 3’ 5” (1.04 m); we recommend this course. One, that was fitted on our model, has an under-mount stainless steel ladder ($6,545), and the second choice has a swim step ($9,040). Both include the stainless steel wrap-around framing and drink holders in the corners. Additional options include the transom shower ($1,040) plumbed to the 13-gallon (49.21 L) water tank, vinyl decking ($3,115) in natural, aged or slate teak, and a transom tilt switch ($235).
The stern features an aft-facing rumble seat, trunk storage to port, courtesy lights to port and starboard, a three-step reboarding ladder, and a stereo remote. We’d like to see the stereo remote closer to the rumble seat. Wood-grained vinyl decking is optional ($2,625).
Just ahead is a 4’ 8” (1.42 m) wide lounge seat that is ideal for relaxing while the 270 isn’t underway. To reinforce this, its functionality is such that we can use this as an alternative to the aft cockpit seating, not in addition to. Formula manages this with the reversible seatback that allows us to use one or the other. When using the aft lounge, the seatback is moved forward, and the cockpit seat elevates to complete the lounge. Naturally, when the seat elevates, the storage underneath is also exposed. This therefore makes for an ideal location for a carry-on cooler, since we’re not moving people out of the way to access it when the lounge is in use. As expected, storage is underneath the lounge.
The cockpit is accessed via a 14” (35.56 cm) wide starboard-side walkthrough and our test boat was equipped with the optional transom gate ($410). The cockpit features L-shaped seating, with storage underneath, opposing another L-shaped seat to starboard with still more storage. The 31” (79 cm) helm seat has a flip seatback that completes the second L-shaped configuration. A pedestal base is located in the center of the deck for the standard table, and there’s dedicated storage inside the engine compartment.
A cockpit wet bar is offered as a package with the head compartment vanity and transom shower ($3,850) and another includes a refrigerator, Corian counters in the head and the transom shower ($5,920).
A switch at the helm activates the optional electric lift hatch to the stern. This compartment offers a roomy installation that even includes dedicated storage for the cockpit table and pedestal. The interior of the compartment is completely finished off thanks to the back-gel department. Cockpit and storage drains all lead overboard, rather than into the bilge. Batteries are easily accessible and secured properly with the terminals covered. All hoses are double clamped. The standard automatic discharge fire extinguisher is mounted to the forward bulkhead. Formula adds the thoughtful touch of an access port right next to the top of the hydraulic ram supporting the engine hatch, so that the hatch can still be opened in the event of an electrical failure by pulling the mounting pin and manually lifting the hatch.
The observer gets a wide and comfortable seat with a flip seatback. Ahead, the console features a deep glove box, again, gasketed all around, and the lid is fastened by a piano hinge. A stainless drink holder is to the side. Inside is a stereo with USB connectivity and a separate accessory plug.
The head compartment on the 270 comes standard with a Porta-Potti. Upgrade to the manual flush porcelain head ($1,810) or the VacuFlush head ($4,370), both with a 13-gallon (49.21 L) holding tank. Cargo netting is secured to the back of the door for those occupants that like to take their time. The door itself is contoured to open past the observer’s seat.
We’d be hard-pressed to say that the compartment lends itself to a changing room as the headroom is 3’ 9” (1.14m), but as a head it’s well suited, so give serious consideration to adding the option.
The helm console is a single fiberglass piece and the gel is darkened to reduce the glare effect in the eyes, as well as in the reflection in the windshield. The 270 BR helm presents an uncluttered layout, with dual columns of rocker switches to either side of the panel. Instrumentation includes two large gauges to the center, with one allowing for selectable data to suit the operator’s tastes/needs. A selection of ancillary gauges surrounds an included depth gauge and trim gauge. Centered in the top of the panel is a compass.
The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base. The stereo remote is to the left, with a horn button correctly standing out in red directly adjacent.
There’s no strap-n-snap for Formula. This windshield is held open by a stainless latch at the bottom. When closed, rubber gaskets ensure that there’s no vibration to drive anyone nuts. With the top section closed off, a lower air dam will completely block the wind on chilly days.
With the air dam closed, there’s good access to the interior of the helm console, and this is where the stereo is located. There’s also a removable panel to allow for electronics servicing and installation behind the helm panel.
Moving forward, the bow seating offers some versatility. Seats can be configured in the “normal” layout, with lounge seats wrapping around from one side to the other. A pedestal base allows for the installation of the cocktail table. Armrests are comfortable, and a space in the bolsters would allow for holding a drink. Rails are outside the armrests for added security, without affecting comfort. Flip-down armrests are to the middle of the seats, and we find that these types of armrests that flip down are much easier to use than ones that flip up. An optional filler cushion with a center backrest ($905) will turn the bow into a sunpad with three-across seating.
The next configuration available is for two forward-facing chairs. By removing two cushions, one to either side, two chairs allow sitting with feet on the deck rather than stretched out. The forward seats also provide a convenient footrest.
Fully forward, a hatch leads to open storage, and options include a four-step beach-reboarding ladder ($520) over anchor storage and it comes with a stainless grab handle just behind the hatch to assist in reboarding. We appreciate that Formula uses latches that release when lifted and re-latch automatically when the hatch closes. Too many times we’ve hit the throttle only to watch a forward hatch, with a rotating-type latch, start to bounce open because the last person to close it didn’t rotate the latch. It’s a small thing, but have it happen enough times and it becomes a major inconvenience. These latches eliminate the problem entirely.
Formula also includes an option for a windlass ($5,730) that includes 75’ (22.86 m) of chain and a polished stainless steel anchor.
Engine Choices and Pricing
The 270 BR has an MSRP of $160,200, powered as our test boat. Base price with a MerCruiser 6.2L 300 engine is $147,440, and the Volvo Penta V8-430 will bring it up to $173,750. Obviously, this boat is not for everyone, but Formula is an upscale brand that caters to an elite group.
Formula did a nice job of creating a roomy bowrider with the 270 BR. She offers just the right number of upscale features and comfort. Her handling is on par with the rest of the Formula fleet, and buyers are offered a reasonable level of options, in addition to the lengthy standards.