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XO 260 DSCVR test drive review: Finnish yard is back with a bang

After a few years out of the spotlight, XO is back with the XO 260 DSCVR, a bullet-proof new sportsboat that combines user-friendly features with laser-sharp handling.

For a brief period from 2012 to 2015 Finnish brand XO was the brightest star in the Scandinavian sportsboat firmament. Its vinyl-wrapped deep-vee aluminium hulls matched to powerful engines and bullet-proof build made for some of the toughest, fastest and sweetest-handling craft around.

In the May 2015 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting the diminutive XO 250 ran rings around the combined might of an Axopar 28, Draco 27 and Paragon Ranger 25, even though we gave the final nod to the Axopar due to its superior cockpit layout and value for money.

It was a telling moment as in the years that followed Axopar sales rocketed while XO sales stalled, partly due to a change of ownership at the yard and of its UK distributor.

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Now it is back with a vengeance, boasting a reinvigorated model line-up, more user-friendly cockpit layouts and a new UK dealer in Ideal Boat. The 260 DSCVR is a perfect example of XO’s new, innovative approach.

Measuring just over 26ft but with a considerably wider beam and higher freeboard than the waif-like 250, the XO 260 DSCVR feels like a significantly more substantial craft than its predecessor.

Any concerns that the new models might lack some of the previous version’s structural integrity are swept away the minute you step on board. The company motto “When others stay in port” rings true – everything about the XO 260 looks and feels like it’s been built to withstand a meteor shower.

Some of that is a natural consequence of building the hull in what the yard describes as “military grade aluminium” with a seriously robust supporting framework to ensure it is both more rigid and yet lighter than a standard GRP hull, but it’s also down to the standard of fixtures and fittings.

Let’s not forget that the cockpit moulding is actually GRP in order to facilitate the soft curves, smooth finish and luxurious feel of what is, after all, quite a costly bit of kit.

Read our full review of the XO 260 DSCVR in the July 2021 issue of MBY, which is out now.

XO 260 DSCVR Specification

LOA: 26ft 5in (8.1m)
Beam: 8ft 5in (2.57m)
Draught: 2ft 11in (0.9m)
Displacement: 2,100kg
Fuel capacity: 315 litres
Test engine: Single 400hp Mercury Verado outboard
Top speed: 43.1 knots
Range: 158 miles at 22.8 knots
Water capacity: 45 litres
RCD category: C for 8 people
Starting price: £91,582 (inc. VAT and 250hp outboard)
Price as tested: £158,675 (inc. VAT and 400hp outboard)

N.B. XO 260 DSCVR is pronounced Discover, not Discovery as the video states.

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