Want to know a recipe for a truly beautiful car?
Start with a Jaguar XKR Convertible, add all of the latest technological and mechanical advancements, hit it with a hammer until it looks a lot like James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, and you have the new David Brown Speedback GT.
David Brown was the owner of Aston Martin during its DB series glory days (yes, that's what the DB stands for), and is an entrepreneur and car enthusiast. His new company's sixteen month long passion project is pure retro luxury.
The bodywork on this machine is just gorgeous. Elegant lines, wire wheels, and an inspired gunmetal paint job with a subtle hint of rich burgundy all come together in just the right way. - not too much, and certainly not too little. Jaguar owners will recognise the Speedback's interior layout, though under closer inspection, small improvements have been made to almost everything. Disappointingly, no one thought to upgrade the outdated-and-still-not-very-good-when-it-was-new Jaguar infotainment system, but honestly, this oversight won't detract much from your joy of driving it.
The Speedback retains the incredible performance of an XKR. At 510 horsepower, the supercharged 5 litre V8 sounds delicious and delivers a smooth, slick ride. For our tastes, we miss the Jaguar's edge of aggression, but this car was clearly designed to put relaxing luxury first, and rubber burning second (not that it can't go amusingly fast). The deep-sidewall 19-inch wire wheels provide a creamy smooth ride and, along with air suspension, gently cushion you in a way the Jaguar never could. The Speedback handles just as brilliantly as the XKR - responsive and confident - and we're willing to forgive the slight effect the new wheels have on cornering, which it still does well. The two fold-out rear-facing seats are a nice touch.
The Speedback GT offers the perfect combination of classic elegance and modern comfort and reliability. And even though it costs an eye-popping £500,000, it's no surprise that there are already buyers lined up. This is a car designed from the start to be very rare, very expensive, and painfully appealing.