I thought I'd never see the day, says Hugo Andreae in Motorboat & Yachting. Ever since XSMG said it was going to build a £1.3m superboat, the XSR48, it seemed to be heading for a fall. Three years later, the boat had only ever appeared in luxury lifestyle magazines, and it looked like the credit crunch would finish the project off for good. But no. The boat has finally made it into production and been handed over to journalists for testing.
Like the best supercars, "theatre is everything", says Andreae, and that's just what you get on this boat too. You press a button before getting on board and the small transom gate raises and the lights switch on. The space-shuttle-style seats all five of them cost over £10,000 each. You get linked headphones to talk to your passengers over the noise of the roaring engines.
And it's very fast the Bugatti Veyron of boats, as Peter Rear of Lusso magazine put it. Up to 50 knots it feels much like any other sportsboat. But then "things start to get serious", says Andreae. The second turbos kick in, the G forces pull you back into your seat, and the boat no longer rides up and down over the light chop, but powers clean across the top of it.
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It's also "easy to drive" and "a joy to own". For the world's fastest diesel-engined production boat, it's much less scary and more usable than you'd think. It proves that the boating world can serve up a sense of occasion equal to that provided by a supercar, says Top Gear's James May.
Overall length: 48ft. Beam: 10ft. Displacement loaded: 8.7 tonnes. Fuel capacity: 220 imperial gallons. Top speed: 67 knots, 210 miles @ 2,500rpm. Price: from £1.3 million excluding taxes. Contact: XSMG Limited, 01590-646002, www.xsmgworld.com.
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