You know how Bentley built the Bentayga and Lamborghini had the guts to put the Urus into production? Well, this is Sanlorenzo’s Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle – a yacht unlike anything we’ve experienced before.

Steve Chalmers

The luxury SUV is nothing new and has been apotheosised extensively in the automotive world for many years now. Porsche kicked the whole concept off with its Cayenne, which back in 2002 was a massive gamble for the sportscar manufacturer, but one that due to its immense popularity, helped cement the future of the Stuttgart brand.

While many of the leading luxury car manufacturers delved into the SUV segment, the yacht world dipped its toes into the explorer; basically, colossal takes on the luxury SUV. However, we’re talking superyacht LOAs here and none of them could be described as sporty, and that’s where the Sanlorenzo SX88 comes in.

The Sanlorenzo has a distinctive silhouette, with a mix of explorer, sport fisher and trawler helping her stand out in Cannes’ Vieux Port.

Performance and Style

With its compact dimensions – 26.7 metres in length and 7.2 in width, the SX88 is the perfect size for a fun, stylish and innovative crossover. Styled by Officina Italiana Design, the Sanlorenzo has a distinctive silhouette with its mix of explorer, sport fisher and trawler, helping her to stand out in Cannes’ Vieux Port where we put her to the test. Despite her mini-explorer looks, the 88 hasn’t been designed to conquer the Northwest Passage, instead, thanks to her reinforced fibreglass, semi displacement hull and a superstructure made of lightweight carbon, she’s an incredibly maneuverable boat that is happy cruising the waters of the world’s favourite lifestyle anchorages.

Adding to the Sanlorenzo’s performance are the three 800hp Volvo IPS’ which give her a top speed of 23 knots and a 1000 nautical mile range travelling at 12 knots. Compared with traditional drives, the configuration of the IPS 1050s makes it possible to move the units closer to the stern, freeing up space for a compartment for three of the crew.

Fresh Thinking

The SX88 is full of fresh thinking and clever executions, all of which came courtesy of yacht designer and Olympic sailing champion Luca Santella. Back in 2014, he approached Massimo Perotti, the owner of Sanlorenzo, with his bold and audacious concept, which was initially perceived with some apprehension and skepticism. This soon changed when Officina Italiana Design and Lou Codega joined the project, working on the hull and exterior design of the yacht, and with it, 11 units sold before the first SX was even completed.

Built for Fun

There’s no waiting around for garages to open on the 88, instead, the aft lower deck is dedicated to carrying a 4.4-metre tender and several PWCs – which is an impressive spread for a 27-metre yacht. These are launched by the davit, which is hidden in plain sight, as it is actually the port handrail – genius! Of course, once the fleet has launched the whole area becomes a beach club with more than 30m2 of entertaining space.

Housing the watertoys at the stern means the bow space has been completely dedicated to lazing around in the sun. Even the deck equipment has been hidden in lockers, meaning the colossal sunpad covers most of the foredeck. Opposite there is a C-shaped sofa, complemented by a table on an adjustable leg. This zone can serve as a small, open air dining area as well as a second sunpad.

Clever Spaces

Heading into the SX88 you just have to admire the simple elegance of Piero Lissoni’s interior. Open and uncluttered, his design removes any traditional ‘unpopular’ areas, keeping the deck functional but unpretentious. It has the feel of a trendy loft more than of a yacht interior, with huge windows and a studio approach to room separations. At the entrance to the salon there is a small dining room, with a kitchen compartment opposite. Functionality is again the word here, as it features a built-in hood with lighting, a bar counter, microwave, coffee machine, refrigerator, ice maker and even a wine cabinet – all built into niches and masked by panels.

As you can probably guess, the furniture on board is loose, meaning guests can congregate wherever they wish. This is another great feature, which with the huge glazing, gives the Sanlorenzo that unmistakable penthouse feel. In some ways, the central staircase is one of the lounge’s main static features with its glass panelling adding to the Sanlorenzo’s minimalist feel. Last but not least, placing the wheelhouse on the flybridge has opened up the forward section of the main salon, allowing guests to congregate at the windscreen, essentially making it a panoramic lounge.

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Below Deck

All the SX88’s cabins are located on the lower deck, with the aft full-beam master cabin finished with green glass panelling and glass partitions, all highlighted by Carrara marble. The VIP cabin
is located in the bow, with two twin cabins making up the four cabin layout. Interestingly, the second bed in the twin room can be folded-up Pullman style to create a compact suite.

Placing the wheelhouse on the flybridge has opened up the forward section of the main salon, allowing guests to lounge at the windscreen.

Up on the Fly

Flybridges are normally pretty straight forward, but with the SX88, you have a number of options. For winter/summer the aft section can be covered and heated/cooled respectively. But when the sun’s out at the perfect temperature, the glazing can be dropped, the sunroof opened and the skylounge becomes a traditional flybridge/sundeck. As expected, there’s a bar, a lounge area covered by the roof, with a pair of sunloungers out under the sky for the sun worshippers.


The SX88 is like no Sanlorenzo before it and you have to congratulate all involved for having the foresight and willingness to put a new concept into production. From the moment you step on board the SX, with its minimalist layout and open plan design, you soon realise that this is no ordinary yacht. It may upset the traditionalists, but that’s just fine, as this Sanlorenzo is firmly aimed at the younger owner. There’s nothing else quite like the SX88 on the water, although with the sales already generated, we expect to see more LSUVs emerging from shipyards over the next few years.

Sanlorenzo SX88 Specifications
LOA 26.7m
Max beam 7.20m
Draught @ full load 1.7m
Exterior design Officina Italiana Design
Interior Design Piero Lissoni
Engines 3x Volvo IPS1050 (800hp)
Max Speed 23 knots
Fuel Capacity 9,300 ltr
Shipyard Sanlorenzo, Ameglia, Italy