Sunseeker XS2000 review: Millennium monster – from the archive

Get in, sit down, hold on, shut up - good advice at the best of times, and particularly with the Sunseeker XS2000 coming at you.

Yes, it’s here. Yes, we’ve driven it. And yes, it will cause a run on the marine industry’s reserve of superlatives. Awesome, breath-taking, bonkers, hilarious, scary, brilliant, desirable.

The Sunseeker XS2000 is all of the above, and an awful lot more. A must-have for the Millennium.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention over the past six months, the XS2000 is an out-of-the-box raceboat.

The result of a co-operative venture between Sunseeker and Fabio Buzzi, Italian raceboat builder and all-round headcase.


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The Sunseeker XS2000 started life as a Buzzi 38 Sunracer. But the British yard have taken over the styling and manufacture to produce a truly startling machine.

One that may well spawn a new one-design offshore race class. The 39ft 0in (11.89m) sportsboat is made from GRP and carbon/Kevlar composites, and combines a Buzzi-designed stepped hull with exterior styling by Sunseeker.

There is basic accommodation under a large sliding hatch on the foredeck, but this isn’t really a weekender. It’s an out-and-out performance boat.

As such, it comes with a pair of high-performance engines, ZF two-speed gearboxes and Trimax surface drives.


The engine options are either twin 350hp Yanmar diesels, twin 420hp Yanmar diesels, or (Lordy!) a pair of Mercruiser HP600 petrols, giving a staggering 1,100hp in total.

The cockpit is very firmly on the small side, with no seats for the driver and navigator – just bolsters.

There is a three-seater bench aft, behind which is a large sunpad over the engine hatch.


The Morse throttles are centrally mounted on the dash, instruments are by VDO, and the feel of the layout is one of an uncompromising raceboat.

Getting in and out of the helm position is about as easy as getting in and out of a Lamborghini Countach – and there’s about as much stowage.

The example we tried out (in fairly lumpy seas off Poole before Christmas) boasted a pair of Yanmar 420s, and the performance was seriously impressive.

Weighing in at nearly four tonnes half-loaded, and pumping out 840hp, the Sunseeker XS2000 nudged an indicated 75mph before my bottle went.


The two-speed gearbox allows phenomenal acceleration, especially considering this is a diesel-powered boat, and it is every bit as feisty as the 1,000hp petrol-engined Fountain 42 I tested earlier this year.

The ride from the Sunseeker XS2000 is fairly soft, but then this is a deep-vee monohull with a beam of 7ft 6in (2.29m) so you’d expect it to be.

The stepped hull allows it to get up on the plane very quickly, and when it’s airborne (which is quite a lot of the time) it flies flat and lands fairly softly, although not softly as I had expected.

In the turns the XS2000’s hull grips tenaciously, while the drives hurl vast plumes of water into the air and the engines roar in a very undiesel-like fashion.

The Sunseeker XS2000 also has an anti-stuff bow design, and in the interests of investigative journalism we did try it out. And it works – just.


On a couple of occasions we stuck the XS2000 through the mountainous wake of the Predator 75 photo boat and emerged unscathed (if a little scared) the other side.

We took in enough water to set off the automatic lifejackets, but we didn’t head straight for the sea bed at 60 knots.

Driving the Sunseeker XS2000 is an assault on your boating senses.

Your perception of speed changes completely, the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end as the engines thunder.

And a huge grin spreads across your face as the speedo rockets beyond 60mph and you click it up into second gear.


This isn’t a practical or sensible boat, but it is a driver’s boat – unfettered monster.

Perhaps most significantly, the Sunseeker XS2000 is a pure performance boat from a mainstream British builder.

Hats off to them for having the balls to produce a very single-minded boat for a very particular type of customer.

In an increasingly homogenised boating world populated by capable but unexciting all- rounders, Sunseeker have kicked over the traces and produced a true classic.

It’s a McLaren F1, a Manx Norton and a Mk IX Spitfire all rolled into one for boaters. It’s not perfect, but who cares when driving it makes you feel this good.

First published in the February 2000 issue of MBY.


Price: £200,000 approx
LOA: 39ft 0in (11.89m)
Beam: 7ft 6in (2.29m)
Displacement: 4 tonnes (half loaded)
Engines: 2 x 420hp Yanmar diesels
Top speed: In XS of 80mph

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