Power Profile: Sylvan M5 LZ DC


By Steven Bull

Replacing the Mandalay line of pontoons, Indiana-based Sylvan Marine’s new M-Series is no basic reboot of a name, it’s a whole new step up in terms of luxury and comfort.

The M5 LZ DC doesn’t look like an ordinary ‘toon in any way. The forward swept arch with speakers, the raised bow platform, the high-end windscreens and the fibreglass caps and LED lighting all stand out.

Both midship consoles are raised for good sightlines and there is plenty of storage throughout the boat. The rotocast seat bases have rain channels built in to direct any water around and out a vent instead of letting it drip into your compartment.

Usually a choice has to be made between a galley/bar layout or bench seats/loungers. Not with the M5. On the port-side at the forward seatback there is a fold-out galley – an option on all Sylvan’s pontoon lines. With sink, countertop, cup holders and bottle holder it’s large enough to be truly functional but still folds away.

Powered by Yamaha’s quiet-running F300, this was a true joy to drive. I was comfortable in the high-back adjustable captain’s seat and when I went hammer-down, we were on plane in four seconds. It’s not blistering performance in terms of acceleration or top speed, but a top end of 42 miles per hour is nothing to sneeze at.

Thanks to the SPX PR25 Performance Package, the centre tube has strakes on both sides but the outer tubes only have them on the inside. This gives enough surface area for good lift out of the water for acceleration and straight-line runs and aids in turns too. For a big pontoon, the M5 banks nicely.

This boat isn’t cheap, mind you, but Sylvan makes no apologies for that. They believe the six-figure price tag is worth what you get. I agree. When a company decides to axe a popular line like the Mandalay to replace it with something all-new, that’s a big gamble. In Sylvan’s case with the M5, I’d say it’s paid off.

Yamaha F300, 4.2-litre, V6, 300 hp, electronic fuel injection (EFI)

Length: 26 ft 10 in / 8.18 m
Beam: 8 ft 6 in/ 2.59 m
Weight: TBD
Fuel Capacity: 60 gals / 227 L
Price: See your local dealer

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Steven Bull is an Associate Producer and Host of PowerBoat Television. He grew up boating on runabouts and PWCs on the lakes around Huntsville, while his wife grew up on cruisers. It only took months after getting married for Steve to adopt that lifestyle. Together, they purchased a Sea Ray 380 Sundancer they keep at the Toronto Islands. A graduate of the University of Windsor’s business school, Steve worked in the front office of OHL and CFL teams before moving to Europe and working as a Ski Guide in the French Alps. He returned to Canada get a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University (formerly UWO). Steve’s broadcast experience ranges from the BBC World Service in England, to business reporter with NTV in Kenya, and from 2010-2014 as a multi-platform reporter and host with CBC News. In 2014, Steve combined his passion for boating with his skills as a broadcaster by joining Lifestyle Integrated where he contributes to Boats&Places Magazine, BoatTest.ca, BoaterNews.ca, and of course, PowerBoat Television.