The Hunton XRS43 is right out of a James Bond movie, a gentleman’s speedboat that would make the perfect escape craft from Dr. No’s island lair or a chase boat in Casino Royale. It’s a sprinter dressed up in a tuxedo. Imagine the build quality and near-flawless fit and finish of a Chris-Craft Corsair 36 coupled to a double-step hull and twin Mercury Racing 600 SCi sterndrives. You get “performance with panache.”
The XRS43 looks particularly at home on the French Riviera, where we tested it, with the oversize teak swim platform, rear-facing transom sun pad, and L-shaped lounge. The teak rolls forward from the swim platform into the cockpit and along the side decks, and even covers much of the bow. The $999,000 price tag might sound alarm bells, but most of the big-ticket extras like the teak, bow thruster, hydraulic helm seats and full Garmin electronics are standard. Belowdecks amenities are as thoughtfully designed as in the cockpit, with a forward berth, a large galley (Isotherm fridge, two-burner Kenyon stove, microwave) and a lounge that has a white tweed cover instead of vinyl.
Headroom in the full head is 6 feet 3 inches. For a go-fast boat, the cabin feels big.
But once the Mercs light up, this British gentleman turns into a street fighter. The double-step hull planed in five seconds, reaching 30 mph in seven seconds. At our top end, 65 mph, the Mediterranean coastline blurred. Hunton designed the hull to be stable in rough water, and it landed softly off the 3-footers, carving into turns. No shudders, shakes or chine-walking. Dual throttles are perfectly positioned at elbow level. There’s a Star Wars hyperspace leap from 3,000 to 3,500 rpm, when the XRS43 sprints from 15.7 mph to 39.5 mph. But the ride from one end of the speedo to the other felt safe. Hunton already has its XRS37 in the United States and expects the XRS43 by the end of summer 2014. We suggest a sea trial: It will leave you stirred, not shaken.
Comparable model: Formula 40 Super Sport