The Formula 500 SSC combines an open bow and deck layout with a full cabin to create an inviting day boat with overnighting capabilities and offshore cruising. She is powered by quadruple 600-hp Mercury 7.6L V12 Verado outboards and is essentially a watersports-oriented express cruiser.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane
|0 to 30
|3 persons; 2/3 fuel; full water; 50 lbs. gear
|78 deg.; 65 humid.; winds: 5-10; seas: 0
4 x 600-hp Mercury V12 Verado
4 x 600-hp Mercury V12 Verado
Report by Eric Colby
Formula Boats is expanding the boundaries of the crossover bowrider with the debut of the company's flagship, the 500 Super Sport Crossover. She combines an open bow and deck layout with a full cabin to create an inviting day boat with overnighting capabilities and offshore cruising. She is powered by quadruple Mercury V12 7.6L Verado 600-hp outboards and is essentially a watersports-oriented express cruiser. With a highly polished painted hull, she will be immediately recognized wherever she goes.
The Formula 500 SSC is intended for owners who want to take off to the islands or other inviting destinations for fishing, scuba diving, swimming, or to use water toys, but who also want a boat large enough for entertaining friends and family as a day boat. By including a master cabin below and an elegant U-shaped banquette forward, and a galley and large head, she can also serve as a cruiser for extended adventures. Her hull, construction and amenities mean that she is a four-season yacht that can go anywhere where fuel is available.
The Formula 500 Super Sport Crossover was designed by John Adams to be the next evolution in the SSC series. She has more than 40 (12.19 m) linear feet of cockpit space that flows on a single level from the swim platform to the bow seating area. Formula’s SmartZone concept optimizes the space with a helm console to starboard and separate areas that offer passengers the choice of traveling under the hardtop or in open air. Belowdecks she has 6’7” (2.0 m) of headroom, sleeping accommodations for four, a private standup head and a partial galley.
Formula 500 SSC Major Features
- Quadruple Mercury V12 7.6L Verado 600-hp outboards
- Mercury Joystick Piloting
- Seakeeper 9 gyro stabilization
- 64,000 BTU reverse-cycle air conditioning
- 16 kW diesel generator with sound shield
- Raw-water sea chest manifold system
- 65” (165.1 cm) retractable TV w/Bose soundbar
- Triple forward-facing bow seating area
- Motorized SureShade aft and sun awning forward
- Powered sun window shades on both decks
- 4 full-spectrum underwater lights
- Glendinning motorize 50 amp cord reel
- Galleys on both decks with a grill aft
- Stern all-sports launching platform
Formula 500 SSC Features Inspection
One of the signature elements of the SSC series is the large full-beam swim platform that offers easy boarding. There are boarding ladders in lockers on each side. On the transom to port is an aft-facing lounge that converts to a doublewide sunpad, while to starboard, a utility locker has dedicated space for four fenders plus connections for shorepower and cable and a transom shower and city-water inlet.
There's a Gaggenau electric grill and a pop-up LED light just ahead. For entertainment, there’s a waterproof stereo control, four JL Audio speakers and a 200-watt subwoofer. The upholstered sport station just ahead of the outboards has six stainless-steel cupholders and can be upgraded with available racks for Seabob F5s or stand-up paddleboards.
A gated central passageway makes it easy to head forward into the aft cockpit. It’s in line with the entry to the salon to make it easy to move about the 500 SSC. To port is a horseshoe-shaped lounge around a stationary Corian table that has four stainless-steel beverage holders and a center popup LED accent light. An optional power-adjustable table lowers and fills in with a cushion or drops all the way into the deck.
To starboard is an L-shaped lounge with a 54-gallon (204.41-L) cooler in the base. It’s equipped with cooling coils so there’s no need to add ice. Just ahead, two stools provide additional seating at the Corian cockpit bar. Overhead, a standard SureShade ATF retractable awning extends aft from the hardtop with the push of a button.
The Main-Deck Cabin
A full-width power-retractable glass bulkhead system allows the boat’s cabin to be opened up, coupe-style, or to be closed to the weather. This gives the 500 SSC year-round cruising capability thanks to the 18,000 BTU reverse-cycle air conditioning system in the mid-salon and the 30,000 BTU system at the helm.
To port are a raised L-shaped raised lounge finished in Ultraleather upholstery and a Corian dining table that has two clever fold-out stools to add to the capacity without restricting the flow for passage. To starboard, the salon galley is U-shaped and has a stainless-steel sink, a Vitrifrigo All-In-One dual drawer refrigerator/freezer, a Samsung PowerGrill Duo convection-microwave oven, six hardwood dovetailed drawers and storage.
On the leading edge of the galley is a digital switching display. There’s an identical Raymarine Axiom+ 12 display and wireless iPad that controls the system at the helm. Triple command seats have individually adjustable seat bottoms so the driver and two companions can customize their riding positions. Power-adjustable-height footrests enhance customization. Air conditioning vents in the helm seat backs keep everyone cool and double as windshield defoggers.
The composite dash is equipped with two Raymarine Axiom XL 24 widescreen color chartplotters with standard 48” (121.92cm) Raymarine open-array radar and FLIR M332 thermal camera, Joystick Piloting System, SmarCraft Vessel View, Bennett trim tab controls and waterproof accessory switches. To starboard are new digital controls with individual trim on the front, collective trim on the side, individual start stop buttons on the back and single start-stop on the side and a digital screen. The ignition switches and theft deterrent system are hidden behind a hinged panel in the dash.
The Rockford-Fosgate stereo with Bluetooth and USB port pumps out the tunes through 16 JL Audio multi-color LED lighted chrome-finished speakers in the cockpit with 800 watts of amplification and four lighted 200-watt subwoofers. Overhead, the Taylor Made glass sunroof has Poseidon retractable sunshades.
To port, the unique Formula slide-open windshield and clear acrylic air dam provide easy passage to the bow. Three lounges with forward-facing backrest extend across the front of the helm console and backrests wrap all the way around so passengers can pick their most comfortable perch. Fold-up armrests for the forward-facing lounge enhance security and two electrically actuated tables with filler cushions can be lowered to turn the area into a protected sunpad or playpen area.
A bow sunshade erects on stainless-steel supports to provide protection from UV rays. Pop-up LED lights keep the fun going when the sun sets. There’s dedicated storage for the shade, seat covers and filler cushions. On the foredeck, the 500 SSC is equipped with a concealed windlass, with a digital counter for the 250’ (76.2m) rode and a polished steel anchor. There’s also a freshwater washdown system for the anchor. Covers come standard for all outside upholstery.
Formula 500 SSC Performance
The Numbers. The Formula 500 SSC has an overall length of 53’4” (16.25 m), a beam of 14’6” (4.41 m) and she draws 51” (129.54 cm). She has an empty weight of 43,300 lbs. (19,685 kg) and with 98% fuel and three people on board we had an estimated test weight of 48,370 lbs. (21,940 kg).
With the four 600-hp Mercury V12 Verados turning 33” (83.82 cm) pitch prop sets, we hit a top speed of 66.4 mph at 6400 rpm. Best cruise came at 5000 rpm where we recorded 50 mph and 117.5 gph, which translated to .4 mph and a range of 249 miles with 10 percent of the boat’s 650-gallon (2,460-liter) fuel capacity. Because of the two-speed transmission in the V12 Verados, when we accelerated from 4000 to 4500 rpm, the fuel burn drops from 114 gph to 106 gph. Equally remarkable is that the 500 SSC stays on plane down to 18.3 mph. She accelerated to 20 mph in 5.8 seconds, planed in 6.6 seconds and hit 30 mph in 10.4 seconds and we passed through 40 in 14.6 seconds.
New Technology. Two of the most important technological advancements on the V12 Verado are the two-speed transmission and that only the lower units articulate when the steering wheel is turned. The latter allows the engines to be mounted only 4” apart and gives the lower units move 45 degrees in each direction, which is more than conventional outboards. We were impressed by how quiet the ride was at the helm. Running at 40 mph and 4200 rpm, we recorded only 73 decibels, which is basically conversation level. When we put the 500 ASC into a hard turn at 50 mph, she came around 180 degrees in 25 seconds and, thanks to the counter-rotating prop sets, there was no ventilation. Regarding the two-speed transmission in the outboards, we never felt the shifting take place. It provides more torque in the beginning and then the boat planes and shifts to second gear, improving efficiency and economy. When we shifted in and out of gear, we felt and heard nothing. To give an idea of how precise the 500 SSC’s handling felt around the docks with 2,400 hp and 28 propeller blades, our test boat didn’t even have a bow thruster.
Formula also smartly rigged the engines with the outboard engines fed by one fuel tank and the two inboard outboards are fed by the other one. If one tank gets contaminated, two of the engines can still be used to get home and they won’t just be running on one side.
Storage and Systems
The 500 SSC is equipped with 26 beverage holders plus easy-access storage for carry-on gear underneath the seats and in lockers positioned throughout the boat. There are 11 molded and gel-coated fiberglass compartments finished plus a Yeti Tundra 35 cooler on a pull-out drawer.
Dual USB charging stations are also conveniently located in all the gathering areas. For entertainment, there are underwater LED multicolor lights and a Sound-to-Light with Wi-Fi control that features full-spectrum color choices that sync to the music.
Battery power is provided by five engine-start and three auxiliary marine units.
A 16-kW diesel generator has its own battery and a separate 50-gal. (189 L) fuel tank. This is an important safety installation.
A Seakeeper 9 gyro stabilizer comes standard.
Systems Access Beneath a service hatch in the deck, there’s an enormous lazarette-style compartment stern are the engine start batteries. In the center is a large sea chest. Water heater and house batteries are to port. Between the two fuel tanks is the Seakeeper 9 gyrostabilizer and ahead of that is a 16 kW generator. There's a Dometic compressor for the undersea chiller above along with the Glendinning cord reel.
Formula 500 SSC Accommodations
A sliding hatch adjacent to the helm provides entry to the 500 SSC’s cabin. Solid Corian steps lead down to a fully molded cabin liner with woodgrain-finish decking and 6’7” (2 m) of headroom. Opening windows, a motorized blind system, tinted skylight and forward window with privacy glass let a user control the amount of light that enters the area. Similarly, 16,000 BTU air conditioning with a UV purifier provides control of the climate. The main distribution panel and an iPad charging station are easily accessed.
Forward, an Ultraleather lounge wraps around a table that can be lowered with the push of a button to fill in, creating a berth. As we’ve seen on other Formula models, sleeping legroom is improved by raising the forward backrest.
The Aft Cabin
Formula calls the 500 SSC’s aft cabin a “private retreat.” It has a memory foam Aerus queen berth with an upholstered headboard with individual reading lights and side storage with a shelf, a wireless phone charger and dual USB charging ports.
Across from the berth to starboard, the Ultraleather sofa provides a place to just sit and relax. It’s flanked by consoles that have storage, wireless phone chargers, pop-up 120-volt outlets, dual USB charging ports, stereo volume control, an iPad LaunchPort inductive charging system and 32” LED/LCD Smart TV with a soundbar and Blu-ray player.
The Lower Cabin Galley
The cabin galley can be finished in an open-grain or high-gloss. It has a lighted backsplash panel, full Corian countertop, a stainless-steel sink with a Corian cover, a stainless-steel Isotherm pull-out refrigerator, a microwave oven, a Keurig coffee maker and a concealed trash container. The nearby electronics tower has a remote for the stereo, climate control, switches to adjust the table height and a LaunchPort inductive iPad charging system.
Digital switching controls all lighting and air conditioning and relays chartplotter and engine data. A separate app controls the stereo’s four cabin speakers, while the 32” LED/LCD Smart TV has a soundbar and Blu-Ray. A seven-spot wine chiller is to starboard. Storage includes a dedicated compartment for the Dyson V11 vacuum cleaner and a cedar-lined hanging locker.
At the bottom of the cabin stairs to starboard is the door to the private head. It has a vanity with a Corian countertop, a vessel sink and large mirrored upper cabinet. The toilet is a Vacuflush and the separate shower has rain-style and wand heads behind the tempered glass door.
The 500 SSC comes standard with quadruple Mercury 600-hp V12 Verado outboards. The boat has Formula’s FAS3Tech multi-step bottom design and she’s built with the company’s proven one-piece stringer and bulkhead grid that’s chemically bonded and fiberglassed in place. Small, egg-crate-type stiffening is glassed into the bottom of the boat creating remarkable hull strength. The hull and deck are also chemically bonded before the joint is thru-bolted and protected by a PVC rubrail with a stainless-steel insert.
Paint, Not Gelcoat
Formula uses the best gelcoat material on the market, but even it is subject to oxidation with time. A conscientious program of compounding and buffing can keep it bright for years. Painted graphics come standard. But – our recommendation is: take up Formula’s optional offer of Axalta Chroma Premier polyurethane basecoat that’s protected by an Imron Elite clearcoat. The finish outlasts gelcoat and doesn’t need to buffed as often to maintain its luster. It also creates the best-looking exterior finish in the industry, in our opinion.
Formula’s Flex plan also lets an owner take customization to the next level by letting a buyer come to the factory and select everything from interior fabric colors to pillow styles. In addition, Formula offers a “Your Way”
Options Worth Considering (not mentioned in the report)
- Carbon-fiber gangway w/rails and mounts
- TracPhone LTE-1 WiFi hotspot (requires KVH service)
- Mercury Premium Theft Deterrent System (requires Mercury service)
- Color-coordinated outboard cowl accents
Huge center console crossover boats have been all the rage the last few years, but when it comes to passenger comfort, versatility, and utility they are limited because of the center console design concept, which tends to keep people in a narrow area on the centerline. Formula has attacked the same market with a large boat that is far more comfortable and guest and owner-friendly. It uses the whole boat right out to her 14’6” beam. The result is three dinette lounges outside, inside and below – a moveable feast for all occasions and climates.
First, she has a large cabin with an extended sunshade so guests are out of the sun if wanted, or in it if desired. When it rains, or there is a chill in the air, the on-deck cabin keeps everyone cozy. On hot, humid tropical days open her up and enjoy the heat, or turn on the AC, and chill. Putting a queen bed in what is essentially a huge day boat is brilliant because it turns this vessel into an express cruiser in the crossover space. Because of her tasteful, enduring lines, she will be at home in stodgy Maine, or as avant-garde as they come on the French Riviera.
She is, perhaps more than anything, practical. We can’t think of anything we’d like to do on a boat that can’t be done on the new Formula 500 Super Sport Crossover. There is really nothing quite like her on the market.