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Formula 400SS FX (2018-)

2 x 520-hp Mercury Racing B3

Brief Summary

It’s always fun being on a Formula and watching the heads turn, and few boats in the line will put them on a swivel faster than the 400SS FX. That’s because this comfortable luxury cruiser has an upgraded fit-and-finish that showed up on our test boat in upholstery with custom embroidery, red carbon-fiber accents. The 400SS FX from Formula backs up the look with performance, thanks to a pair of 520-hp Mercury Racing engines matched to Bravo 3 XR sterndrives.

Key Features

  • FX package, including premium color choices and hull graphics, striking accent colors, contrasting interior textures, and blue LED lighting
  • FAS3TECH hull with foam-filled continuous molded structural grid
  • Twin 520-hp Mercury Racing engines linked to Bravo 3 XR sterndrives matched to Mercury Digital Throttle and Shift controls, SmartCraft VesselView and MerCruiser Joystick Piloting for Sterndrives
  • Standard Kohler low-CO 7.5 kW generator
  • Raymarine Axiom Pro 12S GPS widescreen color Hybrid touch chartplotter with depthsounder
  • Standard cockpit with wet bar, including covered sink, trash bin, and storage, plus 120/12 V pullout refrigerator, and dedicated cooler storage
  • Weather-resistant cockpit seating with Pre-Fixx coating, Tenara element-resistant thread, DriFast foam and StarLIte XL synthetic marine panel construction

Test Results

700 4.5 3.9 3.4 1.3 1.1 267 232.5 67
1000 6.1 5.3 5.6 1.1 0.9 221 191.9 69
1500 8.5 7.3 8.9 0.9 0.8 194 168.7 71
2000 9.6 8.3 15.9 0.6 0.5 123 107.3 N/A
2500 18.3 15.9 25.9 0.7 0.6 144 125.5 N/A
3000 24.7 21.5 27.9 0.9 0.8 181 157.3 N/A
3500 32.7 28.4 34.4 1 0.8 194 168.9 N/A
4000 39.8 34.6 45.4 0.9 0.8 179 155.5 N/A
4500 45.6 39.7 55.5 0.8 0.7 168 146 N/A
5000 50 43.5 75.5 0.7 0.6 135 117.7 N/A
5200 52.7 45.8 83.4 0.6 0.5 129 112.3 N/A


Length Overall 41’ 6'' / 12.65 m
Beam 11’
3.35 m
Dry Weight 17,100 lbs.
7,756 kg
Tested Weight 18,931 lbs.
8,587 kg
Draft 39''
0.99 m
Deadrise/Transom 22-deg.
Max Headroom 6' 2''
1.88 m
Bridge Clearance 12' 6''
3.81 m (max)
Fuel Capacity 227 gal.
859 L
Water Capacity 50 gal.
189 L
Total Weight 18,931 lbs.
8,587 kg


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Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 6.4 sec.
0 to 30 13.3 sec.
Ratio N/A
Props N/A
Load 3 persons, 8/9 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 72 deg., 45 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm

Engine Options

Tested Engine 2 x 520-hp Mercury Racing B3
Std. Power Not Available
Opt. Power 2 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG HO ECT Bravo III X DTS
2 x 520-hp Mercury Racing Bravo III XR DTS
2 x 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 Diesel DuoProp
2 x 400-hp Volvo Penta D6 Diesel DuoProp

Captain's Report

Contents of Report

Formula 400SS FX running

The Formula 400SS FX moves right along with a pair of 520-hp Mercury Racing engines.


The Formula 400SS FX takes a big, fast Formula base boat and, with the FX package, turns the style and finish up a notch. With the upscale FX treatments this boat is a premium-level weekender with a set of performance engines – twin 520-hp Mercury Racing engines turning Bravo 3 XR outdrives. That performance-tuned propulsion system sets the tone for this racy package, from the carbon-fiber accents in the cockpit and on the helm, to the finely finished cabin interior.

Formula 400SS FX deck plan

The Formula 400SS FX shows both cabin and cockpit layouts on the same deckplan.


The Formula 400SS FX has a LOA of 41’6” (12.65 m), a beam of 11’ (3.35 m), and a draft of 39” (99 cm). With an empty weight of 17,100 lbs. (7,756 kg), 90-percent fuel and three people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 18,931 lbs. (8,587 kg).

Formula 400SS FX running

The two-step running surface of Formula’s FAS3TECH hull reduce friction and improve performance.

With the twin 520-hp Mercury Racing engines with Bravo 3 XR outdrives and spooled up to 5200 rpm, along with a twin-stepped FAS3TECH hull, we reached our top speed of 52.7 mph. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 32.7 mph. It was at that speed that the combined 34.4 gph fuel burn translated into a range of 194 statute miles, all while still holding back a 10-percent reserve of the boat’s 227-gallon (859 L) total fuel capacity.

Formula 400SS FX hull

At idle speed one can see the ends of the hull steps.

We reached planing speed in 6.4 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 9.2, and 30 mph came and went in 13.3 seconds. As is always the case with Formulas, this had the feel of a much heavier boat, and therefore she produced a solid feel to her ride. She was nicely responsive to the helm and there were no jerky movements to her maneuvering regardless of how heavy-handed we got.

Formula 400SS FX still

Even sitting still, the Formula 400SS FX looks like she’s going fast.

But it was at the dock where she really shines. The joystick piloting really makes her easy to maneuver around the tight confines of a dock and there’s sure to be an easy transition to those moving up from a smaller boat. We started the turn with the sticks and then changed over to the joystick to complete the maneuvering. Small pulses of the joystick was all it took, and there’s a light ring around the joystick to verify the movements if the boat responds too slowly, which in this case it did not. And soon enough we were tucked in between two boats and laying up gently, ready to step off and tie her up single-handed.

Formula 400SS FX joystick

The Mercury Joystick Piloting for Sterndrives made it simple for our test captain to maneuver around the dock.


Now back at the dock, let’s look over some of the 400SS FX’ operational features. Formula always seems to hit it out of the park with its helm designs. Here, is another example of what a helm should be: This time with red carbon-fiber FX treatments. At the top are the compass and fuel gauges with the trim gauges to the right of those. Below are the tachometers and speedometer. To the left is a Raymarine Axiom Pro 12” (30.5 cm) multifunction display. Rocker switches are below and organized into three separate groups.

Formula 400SS FX helm

The helm has good sightlines and presented several options to allow the helmsman to change positions.

To starboard is Mercury’s engine display, which is actually interfaced with a Simrad multifunction display allowing much more interaction between the operator and the engine control: Things like cruise control, tow assist, and waypoint tracking are all featured here. The color-matched steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base. To starboard is the Mercury JPS joystick, the trim tab control and indicators, and engine trim rockers, and the Livorsi engine controls.

Formula 400SS FX helm

The helm is one place the FX package really shines on the Formula 400SS FX, in no small part due to the carbon-fiber helm dash and accents.

Formula 400SS FX joystick

MerCruiser’s Joystick Piloting for Sterndrives is positioned handy to the racy Livorsi controls and trim tab and engine trim switches.

With the bolsters up, the doublewide helm seat wraps around for comfort and stability. Each occupant gets a separate bolster, and more of the FX treatments with the carbon fiber upholstery, custom embroidery, and contrast piping.

Formula 400SS FX helm seat

The helm seat takes upholstery to a high level with contrasting textures and colors, and flip-up bolsters for the skipper and a companion.

Formula 400SS FX lounge seat

A lounge seat is opposite the helm and can accommodate a single lounger with feet up facing forward or aft, or a couple of people with their feet on the deck.

Formula 400SS FX hard top

The hardtop has stainless steel stanchions for support forward, and adds more than just shade to the Formula 400SS FX, thanks to stereo speakers, LED lights, and opening tinted hatches.


That finish work catches our eye at the first glance as we approach the boat. Formulas gleam in the sun, and even the builders’ older boats hold up over time. At the stern, the non-skid is slate teak vinyl decking. A reboarding ladder is concealed in a hatch in the center of the swim platform, well aft of the outdrives. Ahead is an aft facing double wide lounge that measures 32” (81 cm) fore and aft. It includes beverage holders to both sides and a 12v accessory plug to starboard. The upscale fit-and-finish of the FX Series shows up here in the carbon fiber panels in the upholstery, contrast piping, and weatherproof vinyl. At the touch of a button, the seatback reclines into a flat sun pad.

Formula 400SS FX stern lounge

The stern lounge lets passengers soak up the rays and watch the watersports action at anchor.

Formula 400SS FX sun pad

And it becomes a full-size sun pad for two at the touch of a button.

At the stern there’s shore power connectivity to the starboard side. A storage compartment just ahead is a convenient place to stow the cords. There’s also a TV connection and a city-water hookup. At the sides of the platform there are 8” (20.32 cm) pull-up cleats with 10” (25.4 cm) cleats higher up the bulwarks.

Formula 400SS FX shore power

Shore power connections are on the starboard transom, just below a locker with gasketed lid that’s suitable for stowing cables.

Formula 400SS FX shower

A pull-out shower and engine-flush hookups are on the port side bulwarks at the cockpit entry.


At the cockpit entry there is a stereo remote, and a freshwater shower with hot and cold water. An inward opening acrylic gate protects the 19” (48.3 cm) walkthrough. Cockpit seating consists of a U-shaped seat to port, and the side and stern include storage underneath. To the perimeter, there are recessed areas with beverage holders, grab handles, and USB connectivity. Additional beverage holders are outside the aft corner. Pedestal bases allow for the installation of a table to further the functionality of the space.

Formula 400SS FX u-shaped settee

A U-shaped settee in the cockpit has plenty of seating space, converts to a large sun pad, thanks to two pedestal tables, and also has storage underneath.

Wet Bar Console

To port is an entertainment center showing more of the carbon fiber FX treatment, this time in red. At the aft end is a receiver for the TV pedestal, a beverage holder, an insulated basin, a sink with pull-up faucet, and a trash receptacle. Below are two pull-out coolers and a cockpit refrigerator.

Formula 400SS FX treatment

The FX treatment gleams on the wet bar console with the carbon-fiber counter.

Formula 400SS FX sink

The sink and trash bin all have their own lids, allowing someone access to each without requiring the entire counter to be cleared off – smart thinking.

Formula 400SS FX cooler

A dedicated cooler storage, a pull-out fridge, and fire extinguisher are all concealed within the wet bar console.

Ahead is a lounge seat that can be used in a variety of positions and keeps guests in close proximity to the helm, with still more beverage holders just ahead. Underneath this seat is where Formula installed the 16,000-BTU air conditioner.

Formula 400SS FX hard top

Overhead is a hardtop supported by stainless stanchions. It includes speakers, opening, tinted skylights, and courtesy lights.


The bow is accessed from a center walkthrough and an opening windshield. Rail height is 15” (38 cm). There’s a center non-skid surface that branches out to reach the side cleats. Another set of cleats is just forward, and to both sides of a hatch concealing the ground tackle. Here we see the Lewmar windlass, stainless anchor roller leading through the stem, foot control switches, and a cleat to secure the rode.

Formula 400SS FX windlass

The bow has a clean, sleek look, thanks to the recessed anchor roller and windlass.

Formula 400SS FX gear

All the gear needed to drop and recover the anchor, including the Lewmar windlass, are concealed beneath the hatch lid.

Engine Space

The aft seats lift on an electric ram exposing the engine compartment. Inside, the twin engines are a snug fit but still accessible to all sides for servicing. A platform is at the front to further ease servicing and daily checks. Just ahead is the standard 7.5 kW Kohler low-CO generator. An 8.5 kW diesel generator is also available.

Formula 400SS FX engines

The two 520-hp Mercury Racing engines are nestled beneath the transom lounge.

Formula 400SS FX genset

The Kohler low-CO 7.5 kW genset mounted forward of the mains is standard, but there’s an optional diesel version rated for 8.5 kW.


We enter the cabin through a sliding door that includes a screen. Inside overhead clearance is 6’ (1.83 m). FX retreatments start with custom embroidery on the Ultraleather wraparound lounge and continue with the carbon-fiber overhead trim. The table is height-adjustable for conversion to a berth and is available in this high-gloss Wenge or Charcoal Metallic finish, both complementing the gray wall cover and carpet trim. Additional tables can also be added to expand both the dining and conversion to a berth. Natural light comes from four overhead hatches and four opening portlights. Aft and to starboard is a 28” (71 cm) flatscreen TV.

Formula 400SS FX led lighting

Down below, the FX effects continue with LED lighting and premium finishes, including custom embroidery.

Formula 400SS FX tv

The TV is mounted to a door, behind which is concealing the main electrical panel.

Formula 400SS FX forward settee

The forward settee has a three-piece pedestal table, that stows beneath the sole, and that can be mounted on low pedestals to accept filler cushions for overnights.


To port is the galley with a stand-up refrigerator freezer, high-gloss Wenge cabinetry, and Corian counters. A single-burner electric stove with safety switch is concealed beneath a matching Corian cover, as is a polished stainless sink. The faucet draws from the 50-gallon (189 L) water supply, and the cover is reversible to serve as a cutting surface. Dedicated storage is below, and a trash receptacle is behind the sink. Blue LEDs light the backsplash area, an opening portlight is above, and a glass-faced cabinet also has blue LED lighting showcasing the tempered stemware & tumblers. Storage is above and below the Corian counter. A microwave is to the left. All drawers are assembled with dovetail joinery and are soft close.

Formula 400SS FX galley

The useful galley is at the foot of the companionway stairs for easy access to help keep the hungry crew happy.

The head compartment is a wet head with a vanity, high-gloss Wenge or Linen Steel finish lower doors. A Corian countertop, and a polished stainless sink with swivel faucet. There’s a porcelain VacuFlush head plumbed to a 50-gallon (189 L) holding tank. A curtain closes off the separate shower area and it includes a Corian seat, exhaust fan, and night light. Overhead clearance in the compartment ranges from 5’9” (1.75 m) to 6’ (1.83 m). To keep the switches from getting wet from the shower, they’re up high on the overhead.

Formula 400SS FX wet head

The wet head has many smart features including an A/C register, an opening port, and a curtain to keep the splashing to a minimum. Quality fixtures will make it easier to keep clean.

Mid Cabin

Abaft the companionway steps, there’s a mid cabin with a berth measuring 6’5’’ x 5’4’’ (1.96 m x 1.62 m), and with 2’4’’ (0.71 m) over the berth. A curtain provides privacy. There’s a 24" (61 cm) TV on the bulkhead with storage underneath and behind. Of course the FX treatments are still present, including custom embroidery and speakers equipped with LED lights. There’s even an opening portlight for natural light and ventilation. Alongside the berth there’s a cedar locker, and an electronics cubby with an AC plug, USB connectivity, and a phone jack.

Formula 400SS FX berth

While the convertible lounge forward offers additional space, this berth is always ready for an overnight.


Formula boats are at the upper tier of luxury, fit-and-finish and are priced accordingly. Pride of ownership is the icing on the cake, and it’s always fun being on a Formula and watching the heads turn. On top of her good handling characteristics, the 400SS FX from Formula Boats is also a comfortable luxury cruiser.

The comfort level is on par with the finest of luxury boats and our test shows that she also performs well.