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Bayliner VR5 Review, A Bigger 20-Footer

If you’re looking for clever use of space in an easily towable bowrider, then Bayliner’s V-hull VR5 should certainly be on your shortlist. In fact, the manufacturer claims there is the equivalent interior space in this pocket-sized 20-foot model that you’d find in a 22-footer. That’s due to the noticeably wide bow, which stretches its 8-foot beam as far forward as possible—trademarked by Bayliner as BeamForward. At the opposite end, their trademarked AftAdvantage points to the cockpit extending right to the back, with swim platform added on. This provides huge interior space for lounging, watersports, and fishing, all of which are catered to with standard and optional features. 

First built in 2016, this model (and the larger VR6) couldn’t be more different from their 185 predecessor with its traditional V-shaped hull. The VR5 marked the start of something new for Bayliner; a bowrider with the space you’d find in a deck boat but with the styling of a classic runabout packed with watersports and fishing features. The gamble paid off and the VR5 remains industry-leading. 

The VR5 is offered as both sterndrive and outboard models (VR5 OB).


Bayliner VR5

The Bayliner VR5's 8 foot beam is stretched as far forward as possible to maximize aft seating space.


Bayliner VR5 Key Features

The VR5 is the culmination of many of Bayliner’s successful bowriders, and the basic model has several nice features before you even look at the impressive optional features list. You can expect a 180-degree swivel helm seat, waterproof 120-watt AM/FM stereo w/ Bluetooth capability, and a swim platform with telescoping ladder. Add to that the 1200 gph bilge pump, custom sport steering wheel, and sport windshield with opening center panel, and you’ve got a big boat in a compact package. 

Optional features allow for real personalization including speakers in the watersports tower, fishing accessories, and an exterior lighting package. Engine-wise, choose between the standard 200, or a meatier 250 HP MerCruiser ECT 4.5L MPI Sterndrive (Alpha 1 Outdrive). The VR5 OB comes with a 115 HP EFI Mercury FourStroke Outboard. 


Bayliner VR5

The Bayliner VR5 features a large swim platform and impressive interior space for its 20 foot length.


Bayliner VR5 Performance 

As with all Bayliners the engine options are limited to Mercury, a fellow company owned by Brunswick Corporation, but there are several choices offering good performance. The standard inboard option is a 115-horsepower Mercury FourStroke, with an optional 150hp model, while there are also the choices of a 2.0-liter, GS QSD diesel engine with 170hp and paired with an Alpha One stern drive, and the meaty 4.5-liter MPI engine in 200 or 250hp.

The top of the range MerCruiser 4.5-liter 250hp V6 sterndrive engine will produce speeds of 45mph at 4500/5000rpm. The steering is smooth and light, and it corners exceptionally, handling choppy waters with ease and comfort. 


Bayliner VR5

The helm features a 180 degree swivel seat and sport windshield.


Bayliner VR5: Why Buy It

  • Wide design brings 8-foot beam far forward and large swim platform aft creates exceptional interior space
  • Basic package is drive-away-ready with a whole suite of standard features
  • Two lounge areas in a 20-foot bowrider
  • Customizable for fishing and/or watersports
  • 200 or 250hp MerCruiser 4.5L engine can reach speeds of 45mph
  • Self-bailing liner drains all water overboard
  • Stable and comfortable even in a significant chop
  • In-floor ski/wakeboard storage
  • Buying used? Older model-year boats may have older engines/accessories that should be trialed thoroughly. For other tips when buying used, read our Boat Inspection Checklist  


Bayliner VR5

The Bayliner VR5 comes with a custom sport steering wheel and Bluetooth capability.


Bayliner VR5 Technical Specifications

  • Length: 20'7"
  • Beam: 8”
  • Max People Capacity: 8
  • Max people weight: 1,790 lbs.
  • Max horsepower: 250hp
  • Fuel capacity: 33 gal.
  • Deadrise: 20 degrees
  • Fuel type: Gas/petrol
  • Approx weight with standard engine: 3,342 lbs.
  • Approx weight with trailer: 4,095 lbs.
  • Estimated draft: 2'8"
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Steering type: Hydraulic
  • Hull warranty: Lifetime


Check out all the Bayliner boats for sale

Image credits: Bayliner



Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

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