Invictus GT280S, the gran turismo

The Sport version features outboard engines of up to 500 hp. This is precisely what we had on the transom with the new V6 by Yamaha

by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Alberto Cocchi

IT ALL BEGAN WITH THE GRAN TURISMO 280. It was the first Invictus model with an extra touch by Christian Grande. The latest version of the model is known as “S”, which stands for Sport. Engines of up to 500 hp can be installed at the stern, and Yamaha has taken that specification literally with two new V6s of 250 hp each. What is new about them? The Steer by Wire system has been optimised to improve tacking and boat control. At the helm, one gets a feeling of increasing stiffness. The wheel is easy in the low to mid-range and gets stiffer as one accelerates. This means one always has optimal control: if the wheel were always soft, it could become inaccurate at high speeds.

The convertible cabin is comfortable thanks to the raised deckhouse – which manages to not weigh down the look of the boat. The bathroom is sufficiently large.

The reverse system has also been changed. Up to 2500 rpm, when the reverse gear is engaged, the exhaust is above the ventilation plate and thus away from the propeller. So the propeller works in water that has no bubbles and is thus more efficient. The new V6s also have a new foot design. The goal is to reduce pressure on the profile to increase durability. And then there is the TotalTilt function so that one can lift the engine upwards before tilting to raise it out of the water. This solution reduces bulk on the stern, allowing the foot to protrude further out from the boat while still being entirely out of the water. The architecture and the volume of the engines are unchanged. They are 60° V six-cylinder 4.2-litre engines. On the water, the promises made at the press conference were met. I found the GT280S fitted with the two Yamaha 250s very easy to handle and always safe.

The conditions during our test were ideal for a drenching. The waves were steep and at least half a metre high. And there was a stiff wind of almost 18 knots. These were conditions that could seriously challenge an eight-metre hull. But they didn’t. It has substantial thrust: by my stopwatch, it took little more than three seconds to start planning and sixteen to reach maximum speed. I had an easy ride up to 4500 rpm at 36 knots. Given the sea conditions, to get up to reach the top speed of 48.2 knots, I did some bursts in the more protected coastal spots. I turned so that the sea was astern and sank the throttles. Even when the bow cut into the waves, the boat stayed dry. Overall, the boat behaved very well. I felt in perfect control. Stable, safe, manoeuvrable and dry: everything you could want.

Some of the more welcome figures of the new outboards are their low consumption. At all cruising speeds, the litres per mile vary between a little more than two and less than four.

The water lines of the GT280s and the two Yamaha outboards are a perfect match. But if I stayed nice and dry, it is also thanks to the windscreen which did a very good job and to the semi-reversed bow that Christian Grande has designed especially for all the Invictus models. The two V6 Yamaha outboards delivered a lot of power. Getting to just under fifty knots in a cruising boat, even if it is a sporting one, with waves half a metre high, is a very good result.

Many of the characteristics of the new Yamaha V6s are dedicated to improving comfort when cruising with the Steer by Wire system and the one to improve efficiency when reversing.

The walk-around layout makes moving about onboard easy. The gangways to access the bow are sufficiently wide and there are numerous handrails so that one is always safe.

The other very positive feature – that I glean from numbers rather than from what I am experiencing – is consumption. It is low: even at maximum speed, the sum of both engines shows consumption of 179 litres/hour, so 3.7 litres/mile. At 30 knots, we consume around 80 litres/mile and 2.5 litres/mile. At minimum planning speed, we drop to 61 litres/hour with litres per mile unchanged at 2.5. These are low numbers that contribute to offering considerable autonomy. The tank holds 530 litres, giving a range of 140 to 240 miles depending on cruising speed. The sea qualities of the Invictus GT280S are also noteworthy when turning. The boat is agile, but always stable and safe. The ergonomics of the dashboard and the hetman’s seat are also excellent. Everything is within reach and in the right place.

The Invictus design is not just good to look at it, it is also efficient. There is the semi-reversed bow that provides both space below deck and the ability to cut through the waves. And there are also the handrails: they are everywhere and help one feel safe at sea and anchor. Moving around is never difficult, even when going to the bow and climbing onto the deckhouse which is higher to provide more space for the cabin. There are handrails there too, and also near the two stern platforms that flank the outboards. They are useful; they are where they are needed. Christian Grande has turned them into design features and I can’t imagine an Invictus without these steel features.

The T-Top on the deck seems strong and robust. Towards the stern, it rests on two struts, whereas at the bow there is only one, which divides the windscreen into two halves.

It feels very good underway, even at very high speeds. Consistently stable and safe, in part thanks to the Steer by Wire system of the new Yamaha V6s.

Yamaha Helm Master EX – Electronics help make life easier. This is the philosophy that guides many industries, including the engine industry. Yamaha has made it its mission offering a new rigging system that can be used with all its outboards. The only requirements are an electronic throttle on the dashboard and an onboard of 150 hp or more. Obviously, Helm Master EX also works with multiple installations. The system includes a joystick, digital electric steering, a touch screen display, auto-piloting functions and a Drive by Wire controller. Drive-by-Wire allows smooth steering at all speeds, even the lowest. It thus provides greater control of the boat’s directionality. The digital steering uses electric actuators that are less bulky, quieter and more efficient compared with a traditional hydraulic system. So there are no pumps, no cables. The interface with the autopilot makes it possible to set specific routes, which is particularly useful to people who use their boats for fishing. The electronics also bring many additional functions such as automatic trim and “Neutral Hold”. With the push of a button, you can prevent accidental nudges of the throttle from sending the boat shooting off at top speed. In my view, this is a very important system, almost as much as the safety catch, because on smaller boats it’s quite likely that people will accidentally bump into the throttle when they’re moving around, especially when mooring. With this system, the engine revs increase but the gear remains neutral. Overall, Helm Master EX makes everything feel pleasantly under control. In other words, it is there, but one hardly notices it because it is automatic and intuitive. The more advanced functions are ideal for professionals and fishers. But all, including beginners, will appreciate the ease of manoeuvring when mooring.

Via Donnici, 28
I-88021 Borgia (CZ)

PROJECT: Christian Grande

HULL: LOA 8.87m • Maximum beam 2.84m • Displacement 2,400 kg • Fuel tank volume 530 l • Maximum rated power 2×250 hp

MAIN PROPULSION: 2xF250NSB Yamaha • Outlet mechanical power 184 kW (250 hp) • V6 (60°) • Swept volume 4,169 cc • Bore&Stroke 96mm x 96mm • Compression ratio 1.75:1 • Maximal rotational speed 5500-6000/min • Weight 260 kg


PRICE: Starting from 159,100 € as standard, power with 2 x 250 Yamaha F200

(Invictus GT280s, the gran turismo – – December 2021)