Just because the land has ended doesn't mean an automaker's influence can't be felt on the open water.
Carmakers make cars. It's that simple. But every once in a while, one of them dips its toes in the water, so to speak, or someone does so for them. We're not talking about amphibious cars here, but genuine, bona fide marine vessels. Some of them are design studies, some of them are marketing partnerships with established naval yards. But what they all share in common is an effort to apply automotive design themes to speedboats. Here we've assembled five of our favorites.
The most recent to come across our desks is the latest collaboration between Mercedes-AMG and the Cigarette Racing Team. Drawing inspiration from the 536-horsepower twin-turbo V8-powered G63 AMG muscle-ute, the Cigarette 42' Huntress is as performance-oriented as they come. At the tail end of a massive 42-foot open-format speedboat sits a staggering quintet of 350-horsepower supercharged six-cylinder outboard engines to give the Huntress a total output of 1,750 horsepower, (literally) propelling the Cigarette speedboat up to a top speed of 78 mph.
While AMG partnered with Cigarette to produce its speedboat, Jaguar crafted this one itself. Presented at the launch of the XF Sportbrake behind which it was towed, this Jaguar speedboat concept draws its design elements from classic cats of yore. At 20 feet long, it's less than half the length of the AMG Cigarette, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in style. Its gel-coated fiberglass hull is topped by a carbon-fiber tailfin conceptually borrowed from the Jaguar D-Type, with a fuel cap from a Series 1 XJ and a polished aluminum propeller at the stern. Unfortunately Jaguar built just the one, and has no apparent plans to offer it for public consumption. Shame.
This trimaran concept was the effort of one Stefanie Behringer, a design student at the Pforzheim Technical College, but was completed with the collaboration of the Audi concept design studio in Munich. At 15 meters long (over) 49 feet, the design brief called for a form even longer than the AMG Cigarette speedboat, and is much wider thanks to its dual outriggers. As is all the rage in concept cars these days, the trimaran concept incorporates hybrid propulsion, but in a rather novel form: in each of the outriggers sits a 100hp electric jet ski, which assist the pair of 500hp V12 TDIs in accelerating on the open water and maneuvering in port.
The speedboat you see here is also a concept, and though it wasn't designed by Bugatti - whose Veyron Sang Bleu it was made to emulate - it was penned by a certified automotive designer: Ben Walsh, who styled the interior of the Cadillac Converj concept before moving to PSA Peugeot Citroen. Pegged at 30 feet long, the svelte shape looks like something out of this world, all blue enamel and polished aluminum. The single propeller would theoretically be propelled by Bugatti's thousand-horsepower quad-turbo W16 engine, but will sadly never see the light of day - or the deep blue sea, either.
Rounding out our list - hard as it was to whittle down - is this speedboat built by Fearless Yachts and penned by Porsche Design. Measuring in at just under 28 feet, the vessel was designed to accommodate a marinized version of the Dodge Viper's 8.0-liter V10 with 525 horsepower on tap to propel it up to a top speed in excess of 80 mph. It looks almost as sleek as the Bugatti design, but the vital difference is that Fearless would sell you one for $350,000. (Or at least they would have back in 2008 when it debuted.) This isn't Porsche's only splash in the water, though: the studio also penned a 135' catamaran for Royal Falcon Fleet with a pair of 4,600hp V16s.