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Brabus Shadow 500 test: Black-ops cruiser has the speed to match its looks

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A delivery trip from Poole to Southampton proves the ideal way to test the 50-knot Brabus Shadow 500

It’s zero nine hundred at our rendezvous point of a nondescript pontoon in the depths of Poole Harbour. The skies are clear but the wind is building from the east, the tide streaming from the west.

Our mission – which we have chosen to accept – is to take Brabus Shadow 500 Black Ops hull #00 from this location to an undisclosed one in Southampton. Actually, it’s not undisclosed, it’s the River Hamble for the British Motor Yacht Show but it’s difficult not to get caught up in the military jargon when the boat you’re about to test is called ‘Black Ops’.

That said, if you weren’t aware that the Shadow 500 is the result of a partnership between German car tuner Brabus and Axopar you could easily mistake the boat for something with a more sinister purpose.

This Black Ops version is a limited edition restricted to just 28 boats and sports the brooding hand-painted gunmetal grey paint scheme and vibrant, Brabus-branded red Sunbrella upholstery.

Up close it looks the business and is covered in sharp detailing, carbon fibre, brushed stainless steel and various other accoutrements that justify the boosted price tag over a standard Axopar 28 on which it is based.

Our fully loaded demo boat with the wet bar package, T-top, upgraded audio and navigation packages and electric windlass comes in at €234,200 before tax, but the standard specification is generous.

It’s worth noting that there is a non limited-edition version available with prices starting from €159,500 excluding VAT, but it doesn’t have the quayside appeal of the black beast.

Read the full review of the Brabus Shadow 500 in the September edition of MBY.