Sea Ray's new SLX 260 — available in outboard or wake surf models — delivers power and speed, cutting-edge technology, and an abundance of comfort.
The Sea Ray SLX 260 is a new boat that's been making waves in a number of ways. As we wrote in "All-Woman Design Team Shapes New Sea Ray" (BoatUS Magazine, September/October 2022), this is the company's first model created completely by female designers. And based on its luxurious appointments and eye-catching aesthetics, we named it among the top picks in our "Affordable New Boats" article (also in September/October 2022). Recently we had the chance to jump aboard an SLX 260 powered by a new V10 Mercury Marine 350-hp Verado outboard. What did we discover spending an afternoon afloat?
The number-one word that pops to mind when describing our experience is that the SLX 260 is "comfortable." Very comfortable. The layout is comfortable, the ride is comfortable, and especially the seating is comfortable. In fact, we noticed during our ride that the center-facing seat behind the helm chair, a spot that's not usually the best to ride in, was relaxing and secure even when buzzing across the lake at speeds of over 40-mph.
Speaking of speed, with the single 350-hp Verado, the SLX 260 has plenty of get-up-and-go. We cruised at 4500 rpm in the mid-30s, and at wide-open throttle hit a top-end speed of 48 mph. Plus, with the engine sitting aft of the huge transom lounger and the hushed sound levels of the new V10s, there was more wind and water noise than engine noise as we cruised along.
The SLX is available in sterndrive and forward-drive versions as well, and choosing one of those other options will net you an uninterrupted swim platform across the transom. With the outboard rig, however, the transom lounger swings up on gas-assist struts to expose a monstrous bulk stowage compartment in the space where the engine would otherwise reside. And you still get swim platforms to either side of the outboard, with a telescopic boarding ladder to starboard. An integrated cooler accessible from the swim platform caps off the transom arrangement.
Forward of that transom, the Sea Ray is laid out in standard bowrider form with an L-shaped settee aft of the passenger's chain, a swing-open head compartment housed inside the passenger-side console, and a bow cockpit ringed with seating. Some nice perks up there include fold-down arm rests, drink holders, and coaming bolsters all around. The optional Comfort Bundle gets you a teak table plus filler cushions.
What is not at all standard bowrider form is the level of tech this boat carries. The "Dual Digital Dash" carries two 9-inch Simrad touchscreen displays that give you fingertip-control of all the boat's systems, thanks to CZone digital switching. Active Trim control and monitoring and Mercury VesselView are both standard features, which means you can tap into engine data and receive alerts right on your cell phone.
Spend an afternoon on a SLX 260, and chances are you'll agree that those ladies who designed it got it right. In fact, we feel comfortable saying it's a sure bet. Very comfortable. MSRP (as of publication date): $259,241 | SeaRay.com