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Better setter: Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV.

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Bigger is badder is better describes the 2011 incarnation of the Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV. Affectionately called the "stretch limo," the 247 can handle you and 16 buds in style while pumping out a wake that can be tweaked to handle riders of every level.

Unique Factor

As the 247 in the name implies, this longest Malibu stretches to 24 feet, 7 inches, which means you don't have to perform "invite triage." Wth this platform, the entire ski team roster plus some friends are invited, and those who run ski schools will find they only need one bus to handle the class of 2011. One of the new innovations this year is the transom seating area that can be used for booting up or hanging out when it's time to chill.

Not that this has ever happened to me, but if you arrive at the lake and start a conversation with "I thought you brought the keys," it's no worries, mate, because the 247 has a keyless start system. Just tap in your secret code, press the start button and go. This year's standard display screen is the Malibu Touch Command (MTC), which uses Projected Capacitive Touch technology like the iPhone's, so controlling elements such as ballast, the Power Wedge, lighting and the optional GPS navigation only requires the operator to tap the screen.

Performance

When the standard engine pumps out 410 hp, you know it's not going to be a web-footed canine. This is the engine our test boat packs, but an interesting aside is that the optional supercharged 555 hp LSAV-8, which is the motor on the Cadillac CTS-V sports sedan, has also been adapted as an outboard by a company called Seven Marine. While the optional powerplant might be the ticket if you are running a full house, we loved the smooth power of the 6.0L Indmar L96. Using the drive-by-wire throttle, we launched out of the hole and got on plane in 3.7 seconds and breezed to a 30 mph slalom speed in 7.4 seconds. Top speed was a faster-than-most 45.3 mph, and we were running 5400 rpm, but despite the fury, sound levels were a moderate 92 decibels thanks to the Silent Rider mufflers.

Saving gas is a high priority these days, and Malibu's Power Wedge helps do that, with a feature called AutoWedge. When engaged, the Power Wedge pulls the stern down to simulate from 400 to 1,200 pounds of ballast to help beef up and define the wake. But because wakeboarders don't do tricks when the boat's getting on plane or turning, Auto-Wedge feathers the Power Wedge when the boat's running below 75 percent of your set speed. This not only takes the strain off your engine but greatly improves fuel economy.

Handling

Control is the name of the game, and aided by its near 25-foot length, the 247 tracks very straight. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have giant twin Gorilla Fins underneath, which are 120 square inches and made of manganese bronze to resist corrosion. With all that tracking help, we were able to generate some serious Gs when doing a 180 to simulate a rider down. The relatively flat 12 degrees of deadrise on the X-25 hull means you don't heel way over in turns--but does it ever grip when cornering. In the extreme chop, you're reminded that it's a ski boat and not an offshore racer, but when we took three ski boats across Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, in rough conditions to find calmer water, this is the one I jumped on.

At the helm, a futuristic Italian Isotta one-spoke wheel allows you to grip it whether you are a 9-and-3 driver or a 10-and-2 type; there are no spokes to obstruct you. The power steering was perfect: not too light where you have no feel but easy enough not to have to use the large muscles in your back to hold course.

Best Uses

The Wakesetter 247 LSV is one of the most versatile ski boats on the market. It weighs 2 tons, and with up to 1,450 pounds of sub-floor hard-tank ballast along with up to 1,200 pounds of simulated ballast with the optional Power Wedge, there won't be any wake-size envy issues. The ballast control allows you to load it up on either side to create a positively stupid-sized surfing wake for people participating in the latest, greatest watersport.

The variety of wakeboard wakes is amazing. Without using the Power Wedge and with minimal ballast, the 247 has a medium-sized, well-shaped wake that's perfect for people who are learning or for those who don't want to launch into the stratosphere (like me with my bad knee). Pump it up and you get a really long, mellow ramp with no lip to beat through, for smooth takeoffs and soft landings.

At higher speeds with no ballast, you can even go old school and slalom with a relatively flat wake. And bringing along every type of ski isn't a problem, because there is massive storage under the seats. Some people might not like the fact you have to remove the bow seat bottoms entirely to access the storage, but it does give you unencumbered access. The cockpit lids have piano hinges for easy access. One of my favorite touches is the rotomolded "pizza box" tray above the motor that can be used to hold a hot pie or can help store and dry those wet items. A pair of massive coolers on the starboard side should hold enough cans and bottles to keep all 17 riders from suffering beverage deficit syndrome.

Preferred Setup

For starters, owners will want the Power Wedge, which helps define the shape of the wake as well as adding some beef. The Wakesetter 247 comes standard with the Illusion G3 tower that has a "weightless" spring-loaded design that's so easy to use that the slightest member of your crew can fold it down in less than a minute. I haven't met many wakeboarders who didn't want a killer stereo, and they won't have to go aftermarket to tune up. The Wake 247 Package option gives you 8-inch main speakers for starters, then for some thump add a subwoofer along with a head-banging (literally) quad of Wet Sounds tower speakers to take your sound to concert pitch. You would be remiss if you didn't choose the Flo-cam rider camera system to capture those "I meant to do that" YouTube moments.

Owner feedback

J.J. and Alisa Shelton, along with Monica, 13, Huffman, Texas

PURCHASED AT DARRYL MOORE'S MARINE, SPRING, TEXAS

What we liked:

* MaliView display

* Roominess

* Incredible wake

* Storage

* Fabulous stereo system

What we would change: If this boat doesn't have it, you don't need it.

Why we bought it: We live on the East Fork of Lake Houston, which is a large lake that's pretty busy, so it can get rough, but the Malibu 247 handles the chop very well. Plus, I like that it's very maneuverable, so when a skier goes down I can get to them very quickly. My brother has four daughters, and my daughter brings her friends along, but we have plenty of room with a capacity of 17, so everyone is comfortable. With all of the storage we have, we don't have things lying around on the deck; there's a place for everything. We can do anything with this boat: The younger kids go tubing, the older ones like to wakeboard and I like to wakesurf. My friend's son is a competition wakeboarder and loves the huge wake we can create. The MaliView touch-screen makes it really easy to change the ballast and control the other systems on the boat. My daughter and I love our music and really dig the stereo. When we aren't skiing, we love to just cruise around or beach the boat to swim.

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IN BRIEF: FEATURES

1 Huge cockpit earns it the nickname "stretch limo"

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2 Killer stereo system turns Wakesetter into a party on the water

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3 Filler cushions turn bow into a tanning station

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4 MaliView takes control of many of boat's tasks

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5 New stainless steel grab handles are functional, stylish

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6 Storage easily accessible with piano-hinged seat bottoms

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MALIBU WAKESETTER 247 LSV

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SPECIFICATIONS

Length            24 ft., 7 in.
Beam               8 ft., 6 in.
Deadrise             12 degrees
Capacity              17 people
Dry Weight           4,000 lbs.
Fuel Capacity          84 gals.

PERFORMANCE

                 mph    rpm  dBA

Peak            45.3    5400   92
Cruise          30.1    3500   83
Time to Plane           3.7 secs.
Time to 30 mph          7.4 secs.

POWER

Test                             410 hp Indmar L96 ETX/CAT
Max hp                                                 555
Cylinders                                              V-8
Displacement                                          6.0L
Weight w/outdrive                                      N/A
WOT Range                                             5600
Base Price w/Indmar L96 ETX/CAT                    $87,560


VALUE-ADDED STANDARD FEATURES

Illusion G3 tower, rear and amidships ballast, Precision Pro speed control, Silent Rider mufflers

MUST-HAVE OPTIONS

Cockpit heater, Power Wedge, depth-finder, stereo w/subwoofer, 8-inch speakers and tower speakers

BUILDER

Malibu Boats, malibuboats.com

Circle 15 on reader service card, page 33

$ FINANCING:

$628/month w/15% down and 6% interest for 15 years
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Title Annotation:tested: Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV
Author:Jones, Alan
Publication:Boating World
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Jun 1, 2011
Words:1541
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