Automakers showcase marine designs at Miami boat show

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

Events such as the recent North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit aren’t the only big shows that draw interest from the automakers. At least three companies known for their cars made a splash last weekend at the Miami International Boat Show.

It’s not unusual for automakers to have displays at boat shows, though they primarily have focused on selling trucks and SUVs capable of towing boats to a marina.

But that wasn’t the narrow focus at Miami, where:

■Mercedes-Benz and its high-performance AMG division are no strangers to the big boat show and were back this year with another racing craft, the 50-foot Cigarette Racing Team 50 Marauder AMG. The Mercedes-AMG GT R was the inspiration for the design.

■After making its debut in September at Monaco, Aston Martin showed its first nautical effort, the prototype Aston Martin AM37 powerboat, an eight-passenger day cruiser designed around the sort of styling cues for which Aston Martin is well known.

■Honda, which has been producing marine engines for more than 50 years, unveiled its newest concept outboard engine, the Honda Marine Design Concept Engine inspired by the new Acura NSX supercar.

The NSX-inspired concept “imagines a bold new engine for the future of what marine engines could be,” Honda said in its news release.

Done by Honda’s Advanced Design Group, and is taller but slimmer than the typical marine outboard. A sculpted center channel is inlaid with an NSX-style honeycomb mesh for improved aerodynamics and engine cooling. The engine has what Honda calls “the floating winged blade,” another NSX design cue, to enhance the sleek, vertical aero design.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s AM37 is the prototype for a series of boats to be built by Quintessence Yachts in the U.K. It has a double-curvature windscreen and a power-operated sliding deck so the cockpit — similar to the interior of an Aston Martin automobile — can be covered or uncovered. The power-operated carbon-fiber bimini top stores above the engine’s hatch when not in use.

Though designed as a day cruiser, the AM37 includes a double bed in an air-conditioned cabin that also has a refrigerator, microwave, espresso machine and on-board lavatory.

The boats will be available with either a pair of 370-horsepower Mercury inboard diesel engines or 430-horse Mercury gasoline engines, or as the AM37S with a pair of 520-horse Mercury gasoline engines.

The 50-foot Cigarette boat celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Mercedes-AMG/Cigarette Racing partnership and the 50th anniversary of the Mercedes-AMG relationship. The use of carbon fiber lightens the boat by more than 1,300 pounds.

Power comes from a pair of Mercury Racing 1550/1350 QC4v engines, which provide as much as 3,100 horsepower, though the boat can be operated at 1,350 horsepower on 91 octane fuel.

The boat’s color is called Green Hell Magno, a salute to the north loop of the famed Nuburgring race track.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at