**More pictures below**Trailer not included**
You know quality. You crave performance. And you appreciate the finer things in life. Until you win the lottery, however, price will remain a factor when you shop for a ski boat.
Fortunately, if you can live without a wood-grain dashboard and a few other goodies, you can still get a full helping of high-end skiing potential and top-quality construction for a lot less than you’d expect. To cash in on one of the best values on the water, just remember the following words: Malibu Sportster.
This entry-level inboard made its debut at our 1998 Boat Tests and walked off with some of the best slalom, acceleration and top-speed scores of the event. For 1999, the Sportster is back in both open- and closed-bow configurations.
These almost identical boats differ in only one respect. The closed-bow Sportster provides a bit more enclosed storage capacity, while the open-bow Sportster LX offers room for a couple more passengers. In contrast to the majority of open-bow conversions, the LX weighs the same and skis the same as its closed-bow sibling and even offers the same two-person observer’s bench behind a full-width windshield.
Both Sportsters share another important feature with other Malibu models: They are built to the same industry-leading standards, employing all of the proprietary technologies, premium materials and award-winning innovations Malibu lavishes on its premium models.
What’s the trade-off? One less color in the gel-coat, a few inches of width, a few cosmetic details, a smaller rear seat, 3 1/2-inch servo gauges rather than 5-inch, and a few other things you’ll probably never notice for all the fun you’re having.
Like the closed-bow Sportster, the LX proved to be one of the best slalom boats of the test — entry level or otherwise. It drew high marks from our barefoot crew and impressed the performance team with a sub-six-second acceleration run and a top speed near 50 mph. With Malibu’s patented Wedge deployed, the LX even made the boarders happy: They didn’t have to pile bulky water bags on the deck.
If you want to please both your crew and your accountant, take a serious look at the Sportster LX.
Model: Sportster LX
Engine: 310 carb
Dry weight: 2,100 lbs
Capacity: 8 people
Capacity(fuel): 38 U.S. gallons/143 litres
Heater, wedge, Malibu boat cover(great lakes).