Prestige X70: Game Changer
Who needs side decks? The radical, widebody X70 is a pioneering design from Prestige with a major focus on outdoor living. Yacht Style puts the French builder’s new flagship to the test.
Let’s not pull any punches here. The X70 is, by some distance, the most radical boat that Prestige has ever built. Yes, the hull, engines and lower deck are familiar, as they’re shared with the 680 from the F-Line range and now its successor, the 690. However, from there on up, the X70 takes our expectations of how a flybridge cruiser of this size should look and flips them on their head.
On a normal 70ft flybridge, the split between interior and exterior living space is about 70/30, but on the X70 it’s more like 50/50, with the enormous cockpit gobbling up nearly half of the main deck on Prestige’s ground-breaking collaboration with Garroni Design.
As if that wasn’t unusual enough, the yacht doesn’t feature any side decks, so the saloon can breathe across the full width of the boat’s 5.3m beam. This is a clever trick because the boat is no wider than the one on which its platform is based, but between the oversized cockpit and width of the main deck, it feels far, far larger.
FLEXIBLE AND FUNCTIONAL
Another key point about the X70’s design is its flexibility. The boat we tested had an island sunpad aft in the cockpit and a dining table forward, but options include moving the dining table inside the saloon and having the island forward to give you some free space aft on the deck.
Alternatively, if you want to carry a lot of toys, you can leave the cockpit almost completely open. The area is flanked by low, comfortable bench seats which can be partitioned by the weighted backrests that sit on the island. These aren’t fixed down but have heavily weighted bases, so you can leave them anywhere on any piece of furniture safe in the knowledge that they won’t budge at sea.
Underneath each side bench is dedicated stowage space for Seabobs, while you will find storage for the liferaft under a lid in the island. This may be a brave new world for Prestige, but it knows a thing or two about building practical craft.
How many 70-footers have you seen with double access to the flybridge from the cockpit? That’s what you get on the X70, although if you’d rather a wet bar in the cockpit, you can have one instead of the starboard staircase. With such a great entertaining area, it would be remiss not to have some way of knocking up some grub and keeping the beers cool and within easy reach.
The fantastic day space doesn’t stop with the cockpit. Peer over the ‘infinity’ transom and you’re looking over the standard-fit hydraulic bathing platform with built-in steps and a flip-down sofa facing the water.
There is also a water-resistant Fusion speaker and a slot-in overhead shower, a far classier solution to the usual pull-out hose. The designers have put every inch of this deck to good use and created one of the finest outdoor living areas in the class.
The flybridge isn’t as spacious as the deck below, but it’s no less versatile. Like the main deck, you can either leave the aft end open for free-standing furniture or install the same type of island that’s available downstairs.
The wet bar, located just aft of the dinette on the boat we tested, can be moved to whichever position you please and the standard hard top has a sliding fabric roof inside it, so the area can quickly be covered if the weather turns. In fact, the entire area beneath the hard top can be fully enclosed by screens that zip in and out of position.
The roof’s support struts, which converge in front of the upper helm, are in a bit of an odd position and could catch out taller skippers when they move in and out of the helm seat. It’s almost as if the engineers realised late in the day that the roof needed some extra support and these struts were the solution.
Those familiar with Prestige will have quite the surprise when they step inside the saloon because the look and feel is hugely different from anything the French yard has done before.
In search of a more upmarket look and feel, the builder has teamed up for the first time with Italian designer Valentina Militerno de Romedis to create a décor and vibe that is more akin to the Azimuts, Ferrettis and Sunseekers of this world than anything we have seen before from Prestige.
The shipyard is open about the new direction it is taking the X-Line in terms of design and pricing strategy. The starting price is higher, but a lot of equipment that would ordinarily be an option aboard a Prestige is now standard, in line with the high-end brands the X70 aims to compete with.
For example, electric drop-down windows come as standard in the saloon, as do automatic blinds throughout. The spacious galley is fitted with high-end Miele domestic appliances and the saloon furniture serves an aesthetic purpose as well as places to sit.
The cabins are equally well appointed, especially the master, which sits on its own half deck forward. It’s a spacious, comfortable cabin tucked away from guests and at the opposite end of the boat to the machinery space, limiting disruption from the whirring of the generator or optional Seakeeper stabiliser.
Guests have separate access to their cabins from starboard stairs in the saloon and there is the option of two or three further cabins. The four-cabin version with a full-beam VIP midship and a pair of identical twins forward of it is best if you’re looking to charter, but if you really want to offer guests a treat, the configuration with three full-beam double suites is an indulgent alternative.
Although the X70 shares the same 900hp or 1,000hp IPS engine options with the 680 and now 690, it’s quite different to drive. The X70’s extra weight and height breeds more lethargy from behind the helm and a driving experience that’s unengaging but serene.
Acceleration is measured and there’s a sense of detachment due to the superlight fly-by-wire steering, so it’s best to set a course and let the boat’s perfectly capable hull iron out any obstacles that come its way.
The added height gives it a tendency to wallow, so one of the Seakeepers (probably the larger SK18) would be a sensible addition from the options list. Not only will it help with stability when cruising at displacement speed but it will make life on anchor – a place where the X70 is likely to spend a lot of time – much more comfortable.
It’s not a boat that relishes being hurried, but a top speed just shy of 30 knots is par for the course for this style of craft and a cruising speed between 20-25 knots should reward you with a range of around 250nm. Drop it to single figures and you should be able to go around 750nm between fills, with 20 per cent left in reserve.
The big question is whether Prestige’s radical change of direction has paid off and the short answer is a resounding yes. The boat’s exterior styling will not appeal to everybody, but Prestige can play to more traditional tastes with a perfectly good ‘standard’ flybridge in the new 690, while doing something truly different with the X70 and to great effect.