Far from being a just smaller version of the award winning Mustang 4600 Sports Cruiser, we loved the 4200 entirely for herself.
Issue: March 2004
Gold Coast based Mustang Cruisers' latest release, the 4200 Sports Cruiser, continues a now firmly established company tradition of setting the style in contemporary sports cruisers in this country. And manages to show the imports a thing or two while she's at it. The Australian boating lifestyle is unique and Mustang proudly builds boats to suit. Mustang's 'style' is familiar all over the country and this boat fits into their range like a hand in a glove. So much so that it requires a moment's focus on the badges to determine exactly which Mustang Sports Cruiser you're looking at.
Being a little more than a metre shorter than the award winning 4600 Sports Cruiser - Modern Boating's Overall Boat of the Year in 2003 - makes some comparisons between the two inevitable. And the Modern Boating team are no less immune to doing this than any other boating enthusiast. Especially after being that impressed with the 4600 that we handed it our ultimate accolade only last year. In terms of live aboard space, a metre is a lot to lose, yet it took some time onboard the 4200 to figure where that metre had actually gone from this smaller boat.
The downstairs saloon is more compact and there's a little less bench space, in fact, there's a little less overall space, but in no way is the 4200 cramped. We must congratulate Mustang's design team for their extremely astute use of all available space. On another tack entirely, the 4200's bow stateroom has an en suite, the toilet and shower are separated - one set on each side of the entryway - whereas the 4600 integrates them both into one. What's fascinating about this is that we suspect, no, are sure, that some people are going to prefer the 4200's bow stateroom configuration and may even choose the smaller boat over the larger 4600 on that basis!
So, it's not only budget considerations that may become a deciding factor when people consider buying the 4200 Sports Cruiser instead of her larger stable mate. What a choice to have to make - let's take a tour. Given the vagaries of Aussie weather, Mustang's combination of upstairs open-air living space and downstairs climate controlled comfort is especially appropriate.
Like its peers the Mustang 4200 Sports Cruiser is delivered 'turnkey', fully equipped with dual air-conditioning and a full suite of both navigation and entertainment electronics. For day tripping, the upstairs lounges are well catered for with a stainless steel sink unit beside a 'hot rock' barbecue sited behind the helm station. When it's not in use, its cover becomes a servery. There is of course an icebox - dehydration must always be avoided at all cost - and outdoor marine speakers for the sound system to keep things thumping. Upstairs is also semi divided into two lounge areas, one on the bridge deck beside the helm and a dinette/lounge aft. Stepping through the transom door - we would like to see Mustang fit a more child proof lock to this - takes you out onto a stern platform that's large enough to almost qualify as a deck in itself.
The bulkhead between this area and the lounge/dinette contains an enormous storage locker accessed through a large hatch that opens outboard. This hatch lets you get at the considerable storage space inside the bulkhead. A boarding/swim ladder stows out of sight beneath another hatch set into the 4200 Sports Cruiser's port corner.
And with all that swimming in mind, there's a handheld shower plumbed into the boat's hot water system mounted conveniently on the transom. All the sand and saltwater can drain away instead of being tramped inboard. Twin sunbathing pads on the cabin top and a central opening through the raked back windscreen complete the 4200 Sports Cruiser's arrangements for open-air entertainment. All of which can be fully enclosed with a set of custom-fitted covers, clears and insect screens if the weather isn't co-operating, or bugs are a problem in your particular piece of boating paradise. The helm itself is set high for clear vision around the boat, while the seat and wheel are adjustable so different sized people can get comfortable at the controls. All the instrumentation and navigation displays are well laid out and even the stereo is adjustable from a keypad beside the steering wheel.
Mustang has ensured the helm station not only looks the part, but also makes it easy to monitor of the boat's functions, while remaining ergonomically correct and adjustable. Even if all helmspersons were created equal, they are rarely of the same size. Mustang say the 4200 is capable of sleeping up to five adults and four children. But while we don't dispute that by making up some of the dinettes and lounges into beds this is correct, we do suggest that for two couples, plus maybe an optional rug rat or two, the Mustang 4200 Sports Cruiser would be extremely comfortable.
Downstairs the aft and stern staterooms each have solid timber doors to close them off from the saloon and their own separate bathrooms. Privacy in either stateroom is complete once the door is closed. In the forward stateroom the big double bed is set high with some access down each side, even though the bow stateroom's bathroom and toilet are separate. The air-conditioning can be controlled from either stateroom.
Aft, the stern stateroom is positioned underneath the upstairs living area, so the bed does require a little agility to get in and out of it. We thought it best to sit on the bed and then lie back. Even so, above the bed the ceiling is quite high and once you are in the bed the atmosphere is one of spaciousness. The galley has a twin burner stove and a single sink set into a granite bench top. The microwave sits in the overhead cupboard at eye level and is matched by a flat screen LCD TV at the aft end. A porthole over the cooking area allows heat to be released from the galley instead of it fighting the air-conditioning.
Contained behind a smoked glass cabinet above the dinette is a DVD player that feeds the surround sound system. Downstairs the 4200 Sports Cruiser's cabinetry is impeccably finished teak and holly, which adds considerably to a decor with class and ambience in equal quantities.
There's no denying the appeal of the (albeit somewhat muted) V8 rumble emanating from the 4200 Sports Cruiser's engine room - those who don't love it passionately are not into engines. Twin 8.1lt multi-point fuel injected Volvo V8s, pumping out 420hp each, propelled our test boat through a pair of Volvo Duo-prop sterndrive legs that were hidden by the integrated swim platform. Under power the Volvos lift the 9-tonne Mustang onto the plane in seconds and it rumbled on up to cruising speeds of around 20-25 knots in the low 3000rpm range in a few seconds more. For a boat her size, the Mustang 4200 comes across as surprisingly sensitive at first, although we quickly came to appreciate the versatility of trim adjustment by both the sterndrive legs and electric/hydraulic tabs, while balancing the effects of strong side winds on the day.
Top speed was 41.7 knots with the Volvos spinning at 4800rpm. At this speed the ride remained quiet in the shelter of the raked windscreen, while we covered ground at an awesome rate for a boat over 40 feet long. Far from being a just smaller version of the award winning Mustang 4600 Sports Cruiser, we loved the 4200 entirely for herself.
Words: Warren Steptoe