REVIEW: MALIBU RESPONSE LXi

By: Daniel Nash, Photography by: Ellen Dewar


TrailerBoat took the long drive up the Hume Highway to test the all new Malibu Response LXi and found the trip all the worthwhile

Malibu has long had the reputation of being the Rolls Royce of the tow scene and the Response LXi is the crème de la crème of their ski range, surpassed only by a special 2007 release celebrating 25 years of Malibu innovation, the Response LXi SE.
The Response LXi, the boat that all skiboat devotees aspire to own at some stage in their lifetime, has been totally revamped for 2007 and Malibu claim the original boat (designed in 2003) that was previously near flawless has been perfected by their research and development team at the company’s San Joaquin Valley facility in California.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this boat has been given a quick makeover. While dimensions of the 2007 Response LXi are virtually identical to the previous model, Malibu’s new Cut Diamond hull plus several other new features signify this as a brand new boat.
According to Malibu, the geometry of the hulls running surface has been optimised to precisely command the flow of water, displace less water and create a softer flatter wake. These improvements, together with a unique chine arrangement, where the chines run vertically and meet the gunwale two feet prior to the bow, give the boat substantially improved performance capabilities. With only six degrees of deadrise at the transom, Malibu promises that the slalom wakes offered up by the Response LXi are even better than the previous model.
The Diamond Cut hull gives the Response LXi a real sporty look on the back of the trailer that features mag wheels. With a new black frameless vented windshield, the Response LXi looks chiselled and sleek, and makes you want to hit the water for some serious competition action or family fun.

VERSATILITY
Therein is one of the great advantages of the Response LXi. It’s an incredibly versatile craft that’s both a serious competition towboat and family wakeboarding funboat when the wedge system is fully engaged. Malibu’s wedge, which features exclusive hydrofoil technology, has been redesigned for 2007 and will offer up some nice rampy swells for wakeboarders of all standards to tackle.
The test boat did not have a tower fitted however, there are two options for the LXi . Either the Illusion X, which features on the Malibu Wakesetter range and has not been available on the LXi previously, or the Titan three tower, while the standard swim platform with rubber mat had been optioned up to a fibreglass swim step.
The 2007 redesign means the LXi can carry a greater payload. It can carry up to eight people and has a plethora of storage for ski gear. Walkthrough access to the bow will see you arrive at a U-shaped bow lounge under which lies storage bins and additional storage pockets. Each side of the bow section is flanked by a stainless steel grabrail, and two cupholders lie within easy reach. There’s also a large underfloor ski locker.
The back end of this boat features a large sunpad under which is further storage for ski gear. Forward of this is a transom bench that is removable if you want more cockpit space. With plenty of space to spare, a full load on the Response LXi will still provide passengers with a high level of comfort and room.

HANDLING
Controlling this boat is effortless. The throttle falls to hand nicely and is ever so smooth to control. Malibu has eliminated cable and associated binding in every 2007 boat right through its range and the Response LXi is no exception. The throttle is complemented by effortless rack and pinion steering. Tight cornering is not an issue with this boat. It simply never lets go. Combine performance with a helm arrangement that is nothing short of awesome and seats that are as comfortable as you’re likely to sit in, and you’re left with that feeling that you’re in control of a sports car of classic pedigree.
The test boat is powered by a Malibu 320hp EFI-MPI engine which is manufactured by Indmar. Clocking 36kmh at 2500rpm, a nice wake is achieved, while fast cruising speed is 53kmh at 3600rpm. Top speed recorded on the day at Lake Mulwala was 72.5kmh at 4900rpm. All information on the gauges is also available via a digital information centre that was introduced by Malibu in 2006. In a glance you can be up to speed on everything from speed to engine temperature. You can also set the speed of the Response LXi via Malibu’s Precision Pro Speed Control which is also featured on the control centre when operational. You are able to choose between actual speed or RPM based speed control
Noise from the Malibu 320hp EFI engine is minimal thanks to a number of design factors that have been incorporated into the construction of this boat. The fibreglass engine chassis system allows for the engine to be through-bolted and the load dispersed over a greater area which reduces vibration and noise. This results in sound dampening, also a feature of the fibreglass composite panel flooring system, and hull and deck construction.
This means you’ll be hearing nothing but the latest and greatest tunes pumping out of the Rockford Fosgate speakers. Controls for the stereo are found just below the switch panel and you can take the option for a remote panel at the transom which will please those who want to lounge around the back end of the LXi.
A serious competition level ski boat with crossovers for wakeboarding, tubing and barefooting, the Response LXi is everything you need for a blast on the water. And you’ll feel as good about riding in this boat, as you will performing behind it.

WHAT WE LIKED
Lots of space and freeboard
High quality build
Versatility

NOT SO MUCH
Premium boat means premium price tag
Needs big tow vehicle

 

Specifications: Malibu Response LXi

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $62,798 plus delivery charges
Options fitted: Chorme billet glovebox door, Stainless wedge, fireglass swim platform, Cd stereo system with remote, paint over galv finish on trailer and Malibu mag wheels
Priced from: $57,273 w/ 320hp Malibu engine

GENERAL
Material: GRP
Type: Cut Diamond hull
Length: 6.28m
Beam: 2.37m
Deadrise: Variable 23° to 6° at tansom
Weight: 1270kg (hull only), approx 1900kg on trailer

CAPACITIES
Fuel: 155lt
People: Eight

ENGINE
Make/model: Malibu LCR EFI-MPI
Rated HP: 320
Displacement: 5.7lt
Prop: 13" x 12" Acme three-blade CNC

SUPPLIED BY
Malibu Boats Pty Ltd
Phone: (02) 6040 1174
Website: www.malibuboats.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #219

 


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