Thunder Struck

Maiin Photow

Cigarette Racing launches its new 52 Thunder center console. 

Photos courtesy of Cigarette Racing

Cigarette Racing upped the ante in the center-console market with the introduction of the 52 Thunder, a gorgeous new model that features six 500-horsepower outboard engines.

The 52 Thunder is the first design to originate under Alex Ruiz since taking over as CEO for Cigarette Racing nearly two years ago and fits neatly in the company’s burgeoning center-console lineup that spans from 41 to 59 feet.

Cigarette Racing 52 Thunder
The table hides away in the floor, providing additional space.

“It’s a boat that has our DNA all over it,” Ruiz said. “This is an all-new hull design, completely done from scratch with all-new technology in it. It’s very advanced.”

Ruiz said the 52 Thunder (52’ 1” LOA, 14’ beam) is the most technologically advanced boat Cigarette Racing has ever built. New technology includes hatches that open with the touch of a button, backrests in the bow slides out of the gunwales and seven fully hydraulic helm seats. Tables in the bow and stern lower into the sole when not in use.

Cigarette Racing 52 Thunder“Our engineering department is industry-leading, and we have the ability not only to design these aspects and make them come to life, but the ability to execute at a high level and keep our quality at a premium,” Ruiz said. “This center console that is truly worthy of the Cigarette brand and what the future of the company is going to be.”

Cigarette designed the stepped-bottom boat knowing that Mercury Racing had its new 500R outboards in the pipeline. Mercury Racing in early June released the 500-horsepower outboard at its 50th anniversary gala in Charleston, “South Carolina.”

“It’s a boat that has our DNA all over it,” – Alex Ruiz

With 3,000 horsepower on the transom and a 24-degree deadrise, the 52 Thunder delivers exceptional performance, Ruiz said.

“This boat is going to perform way better than any other boat out in big water and will be a lot smoother of a ride,” Ruiz said. “Obviously, when you have the Mercury power of six 500Rs behind you that helps a lot in terms of performance and speed.”

Cigarette Racing 52 Thunder
Sun lovers will worship the three spacious loungers in front of the console on the 52 Thunder. It also forms a large space for entertaining in the bow.

The 52 Thunder is available with five or six 500-hp outboards. Of the 30 boats already sold, nearly all the buyers are opting for six outboards, Ruiz said. The center console is also available with four Mercury Marine 600-hp Verado outboards. Cigarette Racing plans to offer in 2024 a staggered version of the 52 Thunder with a swim platform in the center.

Cigarette Racing 52 Thunder
The helm has seven fully adjustable, shock-absorbing captain chairs with power dropout bottoms and movable armrests. The upholstery on the 52 Thunder was done in-house and the Cigarette Racing logo is featured prominently throughout.

The helm is the lap of luxury on the 52 Thunder with seven shock-absorbing captain chairs that have power drop-out bottoms. The upholstery was done in-house and the iconic Cigarette Racing logo is featured prominently throughout the cockpit.

A stylish hardtop with an expansive glass windshield fits seamlessly into the 52 Thunder’s design and protects the crew from the sun and elements. The dash features three 24” Garmin displays, and two cupholders to the left and right of the Cigarette-branded steering wheel in the center. To stay cool on warm days, Cigarette equipped the helm with 8,000 BTU air conditioning.

Cigarette Racing 52 Thunder
Cigarette Racing left no detail unnoticed on the 52 Thunder. Its in-house upholstery work is top-notch. JL Audio system supplied the stereo system.

Just behind the helm seating are facing bench lounges with a large table that can be used for meals or playing games. When done, the table lowers into the deck with the push of a button. To prepare meals, Cigarette Racing offers what Ruiz calls the “chef’s kitchen” on the stern. A nice touch is the underside of the cabinet is finished with stainless steel for easy cleaning.

“This is an all-new hull design, completely done from scratch with all-new technology in it. It’s very advanced.”

Alex Ruiz, Cigarette Racing CEO

Cigarette Racing included an 8-foot-wide cabin with large glass windows on both sides to let in plenty of natural light. The debut model featured U-shaped seating and is equipped with 16,000 BTU air conditioning. An enclosed head with a shower has high-end finishes buyers expect on the $3.1 million center console.

In front of the console are three individual lounges with cupholders on the outer armrests and wraparound seating in the 14-foot bow.

Neat touches buyers will appreciate are the starboard dive door, light-changing JL Audio speaker and small screens throughout the boat for passengers to keep tabs on speeds.

Cigarette Racing 52 Thunder
Cigarette Racing CEO Alex Ruiz describes it as a “chef’s kitchen” at the transom of the 52 Thunder. Nearby is facing seating with a table that raises and lowers from the deck.

While Cigarette Racing built its reputation on offshore performance boats since it was founded in 1969, expect the Opa-locka, Fla., to focus on developing new center-console models. It’s a reflection of where the high-performance market has gone as outboards continue to be boater’s preferred choice for power.

Ruiz said Cigarette Racing will launch a fishing version of the 52 Thunder in about a year and plan to have a fishing model of its 41’ Nighthawk ready for the 2024 Miami International Boat Show.

“We’re very happy with the 52-footer and we feel like it checks a lot of boxes,” Ruiz said. “We have a bunch of new products that we’re actually engineering right now of different sizes in the center-console range. In the years to come, we’ll have more groundbreaking center-console boats as well as possibly redoing some of our current boats.”

Extra Image If NeededwSpecifications Cigarette 52 Thunder

  • LOA: 52’ 1”
  • Beam: 14’
  • Dry Weight: 29,000 pounds
  • Fuel Capacity: 880 gallons
  • Power: (6) Mercury Racing 500R outboards