► It’s the Merc S-class’s marine cousin
► We test Silver Arrow Marine Yacht
► Costs £2 million, very good in the wet
Almost 900bhp, a £2m price tag and answering to the name of a Silver Arrow – it must be the F1-car-for-the-road Mercedes-Benz will be unveiling this September. But how many hypercars have an anchor, sunbeds and a ‘terrace by the sea’?
If Mercedes were to design a posh motor yacht it would be…exactly like this. Got an S-class? You’ll feel right at home here. Park your Mercedes-AMG S63 alongside the Arrow460-Granturismo and the only problem will be telling them apart (note, the boat floats beautifully, the car less so).
Yachts from car companies are nothing new...
And for good reason – brand extensions are rarely as fast, sexy and exciting after all. Even Mercedes, in the distant past, has made waves. The three points of its star do represent land, sea and air, after all. Bugatti, Aston Martin and Lexus are three more that have recently taken the plunge.
Often they are just dream boats, or marketing exercises with no more input from the car firm than colour and trim. The Merc is rather different. It was designed by Mercedes-Benz Style at its Como studios in Italy – under the direction of Daimler AG design supremo Gorden Wagener – at the behest of a UK registered start-up company called Silver Arrows Marine.
Silver Arrows Marine’s big idea was to reinvent the 14m motor yacht as something more innovative and usable than just a noisy and uncomfortable wave-crusher using design, features and processes from the motor industry. Top speed was to be less important than comfort and refinement, so more GT than GT3. Hence the first Arrow460’s billing as the ‘Granturismo of the seas’.
With a lot of never-before-done boaty stuff and, unusual in yacht terms, a prototype stage (usually with boats the first customer is the guinea pig), the R&D has been protracted – the idea first surfaced in 2008. It took a clean sheet of paper and a ‘brain’s trust’ of eminent yacht designers and partner firms like M-B Style, but the yacht is now in production.
With twin diesels and 880hp, the first fully-loaded Edition 1 costs from €2.5 million plus taxes (call it £2m in sterling) and the target is to have four boats delivered by the end of 2018.
You could buy a real Silver Arrows for that!
Supercharged 1930s Mercedes racing cars are notoriously tricky in the wet. Not so their 2017 namesake which I am in Cap Ferrat on the Med to put through its paces for CAR magazine.
Two million quid’s worth of luxury yacht is not my usual on-water experience, but, heck, I’ve got a dinghy and done my Powerboat Level 2. Believe me, you don’t need any of it.
This is one very easy and smooth boat to drive – literally child’s play. A lot of it is down to an Easy Docking joystick system that coordinates prop and bow thrusters with perfect precision. No more falling-about-laughing bystanders when you try to squeeze into that berth…
At speed it’s mechanically quiet and smooth with a pillowy ride through moderately choppy waters. There’s no crashing and banging, plus the real bonus that you don’t get wet. All very relaxed and civilised. Top whack is 38 knots but at a 24-knot cruise you certainly won’t spill your G&T plus you will have enough range for the 160 miles across the Med from the Cote d’Azur to Corsica. And if you live in Eastbourne rather than the Cote d’Azur? Bad luck.
Mercedes Silver Arrow Marine Yacht: what's it like to live with?
You can moor up and try that ‘terrace by the sea’. It’s a hydraulically-extending swim platform that slides out of the stern, so you can plop straight into the water.
Then maybe some supper – there are kitchen facilities but mostly it’s a wine fridge – around a large glass table, with the fully retractable side windows down and the vast glass sunroof lifted up high on hydraulic struts. Think gentle sea breezes filling the cabin and harbour lights twinkling across the water…
Not romantic enough? Push another button and the table disappears and out slides a king-size double bed for a night under the stars.
The open-plan ‘loft-style’ below decks area is a revelation with its Mercedes concept car-style design and Alcantara and mesh fabric materials aplenty. There’s even a big shower room. And your millions buys lots of goodies: JBL and Bose entertainment systems, electronically dimming glass (like the Merc SL’s MagicSky) for UV protection and privacy, and of course full air-con – the eyeball air vents are in fact the only actual Merc component on board.
Who says cars and boats don’t mix? It’s bit of a stunner we reckon and a shiny silvery revelation among all those lookalike aggressive and very white sports cruisers. But who will buy it? These days the world’s oceans – sorry, glamour hot-spots – are full of superyachts and they all need tenders. (Sir) Philip Green is not going to get out to Lionheart in a rowing boat is he?
With all it has going for it, the Arrow460 is far more than just a tender, though, doubling up as a dayboat for partying (it can take 10 people) or an all-mod-cons overnighter for two people.
A true Mercedes? If it looks like one and swims like one…
More Mercedes-Benz reviews by CAR magazine