Lowe’s new Infinity 230 WT raises the ante on luxury in a sporty sub-24-foot package.
Lowe celebrates its 45th birthday this year with the expansion of its year-old flagship series, called Infinity, a name synonymous with performance and luxury. Lowe bundles a host of standard features that would be extras anywhere else, even on the smallest of the line, the 230 WT — a pontoon that stands out, even when it’s compared to other Infinity models.
Probably the most eye-grabbing feature of the new Infinity 230 WT is the extensive use of polished stainless steel in places such as the rails. On our test boat, which had Smoke gunmetal accent panels, the rails overlaid the white fencing. Toward the stern, the fencing dropped down into nothingness and the rails were showcased against the tan upholstery of the rear loungers. Further highlighting the theme was the striking forward-swept Bimini top, which was really well braced. At the stern was a four-step stainless steel boarding ladder that tied the look together.
At every turn, Lowe found ways to make the Infinity more luxurious than anything it has ever built. The bow section exemplifies this effort. Bowrider seats are overstuffed for comfort and have built-in armrests for more advanced lounging. The starboard-side recliner has a much higher backrest, thanks to the large driver’s console it abuts, and is tall enough to rest one’s head against. A surfboard-shaped clear acrylic cockpit table has four bent-wire cupholders and is a refreshing change from the white, round plastic tables we normally see.
Our test boat had the XL Rough Water pontoon package, which is required when using engines of 250 hp and more. The package includes triple 25-inch tubes with lifting strakes that have Wake Tamer spray shields. The center tube is lowered slightly and set back in relation to the outers to form a motor pod for the outboard. Setting it back preserves swim platform space by eliminating the typical split platform.
Since Lowe is a Brunswick company, a Mercury occupies the transom, and the ultra-quiet Verado Pro FourStroke 250 performed well. Thanks to the 250’s supercharger, the 230 WT got on plane in 2.4 seconds and hooked up really well, getting to 30 mph in 4.5 seconds. The high-revving Pro FourStroke 250 peaked out at 6400 rpm as it propelled the Infinity to a top speed of 45.6 mph. The 230 WT is rated for up to 300 hp, which would be a great choice for 50 obvious reasons. Since it shares the same 2.6L platform as the 250 (and 350), there’s no weight penalty, and both feature Mercury’s Advanced Mid Section (AMS), which includes four variable-rate motor mounts that are soft at idle and stiffen as the boat goes faster, virtually eliminating motor vibration. In addition, the AMS cradle mount gives it a five-inch setback for better out-of-the-hole performance and improved top end.
The XL tube setup is a good alternative to the larger-center-tube school of thought. The large lifting strakes on both sides of the center tube and on the inside of the outer tubes allow it to ride high over the chop and create a pivot point for turning. The Mercury Verado has one of the best power steering systems going, and it doesn’t make as much noise as other systems that audibly wheeze at even small directional corrections. Cranking the Infinity 230 WT into hard turns rewards the driver with a tight radius that is blow-out free.
Our setup came with the Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) drive-by-wire system (required for 225 hp and higher), which is one-finger easy. The only knock on the Verado Pro compared to regular high-power Verado FourStrokes (300 hp and up) is that it doesn’t come with the new Flo-Torq Soft Shift Rubber (SSR) HD hub system, which greatly diminishes the Mercury’s rather pronounced clunk during shifting. I expect that feature to eventually filter down to anything with four or more cylinders.
The 230 WT is a great choice for recreational waterskiing when equipped with an optional ski pylon ($600) that can be stowed when not in use. I was surprised a tower option wasn’t available, but Lowe isn’t much into them, only offering a tubular model on the Xtreme series. (A powder-coated forward-swept tower would look awesome on any of the Infinity models.) The 230 WT has a large in-floor ski locker toward the stern, which is a smart choice because that’s closer to where the watersports action happens.
The 230 WT is rated for 11 passengers, and there is a seat for all on four recliner benches and a companion captain’s seat. The four recliners have unusually shaped seat bottoms — skinny in the middle and wider at the ends — but it allows a person to recline and another to sit comfortably, as long as the sitter doesn’t mind being close to the recliner’s feet. All the chaise lounges have uncluttered seatbacks and the perfect amount of recline. Luxurious touches include really soft upholstery with diamond-stitched panel inserts.
It’s a good cruising machine thanks to a 50-gallon fuel tank and a standard Lowrance Elite 5 CHIRP GPS/fishfinder. There are no fishing options, but if that activity is high on your list, Lowe has plenty of other models (check out the SF series) that can scratch that niche, but there’s never been a pontoon boat that couldn’t be fished with a little effort. Overnighting is even a possibility thanks to options such as a full camper enclosure whose protection can also add days to the boating season.
Prospective owners won’t have a whole lot of trouble figuring out how to rig this boat, since most of the features they’d want are already included, such as the rear Ultra Teak flooring and a loaded raised helm station that includes a Polk Audio Bluetooth controller for its six-speaker stereo system, a wood wheel, multifunction gauges and flush-mounted push-button accessory switches. It comes with a pop-up changing station hidden in the port-side bow couch. Two great options would be the filler cushion insert ($667) for the bow gate section and the Polk subwoofer, which comes at a reasonable $247 upcharge. There’s also a double Bimini option ($1,733) for total shade.