Tiara 48 LS
Designed around the new 600-hp Mercury Verados, the Tiara 48 LS is the company’s largest (and flashiest) outboard-powered boat to date.
When I stepped on the Tiara 48 LS, I immediately tossed out any preconceived notions I had of whether this vessel should be called a day boat or a center console. The thought, layout and finish work that went into this boat has yacht written all over it.
The glowing difference between this boat and what many would call a yacht, however, boiled down to the power plants. The 48 LS comes with only one engine option: triple 600-hp Mercury Verado outboards. You don’t typically think of outboard power when jumping into the yacht realm, but these new engines are going to change that. Tiara designed the 48 LS (which stands for luxury sport) around the innovative Mercury V-12s, and after a turn at the helm during an exclusive media event on Lake X in central Florida, I’d say it’s a happy marriage.
“We optimized the boat to that propulsion package,” said Andrew Bartlett, director of design at Tiara. By zeroing in on a single power package, Tiara did not have to compromise any elements of the design for multiple engine installations. The benefits of this approach show up all over the boat. Because the motors have a built-in steerable gearcase, there are no hydraulic or electric steering actuators by the engines. The splashwell is free and clear to provide more room to enjoy the “teak beach” in the stern.
Tiara 48 LS
Since these V-12s kick out 600 hp apiece, you can get the same power as quad 450s in a triple configuration, without losing any performance—you actually gain performance thanks to the two-speed transmission. You do, however, gain some weight. Three 600s weigh 1,024 pounds more than quad 450s, but you don’t feel it when you hit the throttles, and you sure don’t hear it. They’re surprisingly quiet. The 48-footer hops out of the hole and goes zero to 26 knots in 9 seconds. The boat comfortably cruises at 33 knots, getting .6 mpg. At wide-open, the 48 LS hit a bit more than 50 knots.
My favorite element of the 48 LS is the use of outside deck space. The boat is laid out with outdoor entertaining zones so you can have a party in the back and a party in the front, or anywhere in between. The aft deck features a port side, drop-down terrace with a built-in ladder that extends 4 feet, 6 inches underwater. No more navigating wobbly rungs to get back in the boat; this one even has handles. There’s a dive door on the starboard side as well, perfect for stepping aboard from a floating dock. The rotating lounge, which has become a Tiara hallmark, provides another layer of flexibility on the 48. One position opens up some more aft deck space, while the other position brings you closer to the dining table that’s shared with an aft-facing bench. The split backrest adjusts electrically for sitting or lounging.
An oversized hardtop juts out with the supports connecting to the gunwales. This provides a ton of coverage, and an awning extends out to make sure every bit of plush seating can enjoy some shade.
The heart of the boat, and what really moves it out of that day boat market, is the enclosable helm and outdoor galley. As much as I enjoyed driving the Tiara, I pictured myself spending more time in the U-shaped galley just aft of the helm seats. This spot puts the host within ear shot of anyone in those seats, as well as any guests eating at the table, or standing along the semi-protected forward-facing perch or the fold-down seat just aft of the galley. The host can grill some steaks and easily reach the refrigerated drawers, storage cabinets and ice maker. There’s also a drop-down TV to stream whatever you’re binging.
Thanks to electric-sliding fiberglass doors with tempered-glass windows, you can enclose the helm, bringing the noise levels down to a yacht-like hush. This also lets you enjoy the full blast of the air-conditioning. A roll-down isinglass partition behind the helm seats can be closed with the push of a button (no snaps or zippers) to give this spot full protection. You access the cabin from the enclosed helm via a sliding door. You don’t have to leave the helm and make your way to a side-door cabin entrance, like you do on many center consoles. This provides an added layer of security, and you don’t have to get any spray on you as you try to wedge yourself into a small entryway.
The helm layout is sleek and aesthetically sharp, thanks to a black glass-dash complete with teak accents. The large, single-piece windshield is unobstructed and makes visibility a non-issue. Hull number one had the latest-and-greatest Mercury electronic controls with auto trim and a small built-in screen to display engine data. The joystick made close-quarter maneuvers arcade-like easy, and I loved using the Heading Adjust, where a turn or push of the joystick lets you change course by one degree or 10. There’s also a bow thruster, though we didn’t need it. The console holds three Garmin MFDs, a 22-inch in front of the steering wheel and two 16-inch screens to starboard.
The starboard side deck provides access to the bow. There’s also access on the port side via a raised egress, which will also come in handy when boarding the boat from a tall bulkhead. Using a single side deck makes the cabin more voluminous. The master berth is situated forward, and the bed lifts up to reveal a large storage area. The forward cabin doesn’t feel cramped at all thanks to 7 feet of head room. The head offers a separate shower stall. Two more berths are situated aft. These don’t have much headroom, but they’re comfy, and you can slide in filler cushions to make it one large bed. An optional Seakeeper 6 and the standard Cummins Onan 9 kW diesel genset live in the machine space belowdecks.
If your party moves forward, the bow seating space includes three forward-facing spots with electric leg rests and a wrap-around bench. A table raises up from the floor to either coffee table or dining height. The amount of seating is simply mind boggling: “I don’t think I have enough friends for all of the seats in this boat,” I joked to Bartlett.
“You would if you buy it,” he said with a laugh. I have a feeling he’s right. Once you get the keys to a Tiara 48 LS, they’ll come out of the woodwork.
Tiara 48 LS Test Report
Tiara 48 LS Specifications:
Displ.: 25,000 (dry)
Fuel: 660 gal.
Diesel: 30 gal.
Water: 100 gal.
Power: 3/600-hp Mercury Verado V-12s
Base Price: $1.32 million