The High-Performance Powerboat MTI 340X Catamaran Review

MTI 340X Catamaran

Everything about the 36-footer, from performance to aesthetics, was right in line with what performance-boat aficionados have come to know and love about MTI, and yet the new boat failed to produce significant sales. According to Scism, the founder and owner of the company, it was customer demand that drove him to introduce the then-smallest model in the MTI line. And yet the buyers failed to materialize.

But that was then, as the saying goes, a few years before the Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard revolution began in 2015 and changed the game. The most popular new engine introduction in the history of the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine builder, the powerful, reliable, and quiet 400 HP outboard didn’t just find its way onto the transoms of performance-oriented center-consoles. It created a resurgence in the 29- to 36-foot sport catamaran market, with noted builders such as Skater Powerboats and DCB Performance Boats inspired by demand to build Verado 400R-powered hot-rod cats.

From paintjob to performance, the MTI 340X is an outstanding sport catamaran. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Introduced in August 2016 during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri, the 340X is MTI’s first foray into that market segment. And what a spectacular entry it is, starting with its flawless red, black, and white in-house paint job and slinky, soft, low-profile curves.

In essence a scaled-down version of MTI’s 48-foot cat, the 340X features a wraparound windshield that does an excellent job protecting the cat’s uncommonly spacious six-seat cockpit. The interior, which is produced by MTI, is finely crafted and matches the vibrant paint colors.

As expected, the 34-footer’s forward bucket seats are comfortable and reassuring, as are the four seats in the rear of the cockpit. To complement the grab handles on the gunwales, MTI tucked grab handles between the four bottom cushions. Forward visibility would be better if all the seating was a bit higher off the floor, but that’s a quibble.

Featuring white SeaDek flooring with black outlines, the cockpit includes painted inserts in the gunwales and three individual carbon-fiber dash panels with the steering wheel to port and the Fusion stereo controls centered in the starboard dash above a grab handle. The middle dash panel, which continues down onto the center console pod between the two seats, has a 12-inch multi-touch Garmin GPSMAP 7612 display above a Mercury Racing SmartCraft VesselView 7 system that’s installed ahead of the accessory switches and MTI’s color-matched throttles and shifters.

But while they do count for a lot in the go-fast powerboat world, outstanding aesthetics and features ultimately fall flat if a model doesn’t perform. As we discovered during a test ride with MTI’s Tim Gallagher during lumpy conditions on the Lake of the Ozarks, the 340X has plenty of game to back up its come-hither appearance.

With 800 HP worth of outboard power on its transom, the approximately 6,000 lbs. catamaran hopped on plane and kept right on pulling to a top speed of 116 MPH. Cruising at 100-plus MPH presented zero trouble for the 340X, and it ate up steep boat wakes and chop. In sweeping turns from 40 to 60 MPH, the cat carved with a comfortable inward lean (outward lean no longer cuts it in the go-fast catamaran world) and never slipped or caught.

MTI reportedly has several orders for the smallest model in the MTI catamaran line (the company also builds a spectacular 42-foot center-console) and it’s not too tough to understand why, especially after a ride in one. Thanks to the Verado 400R outboard, momentum continues to build in the high-quality, high-performance sport catamaran market, and the 340X is right there with the best of them.