David Brown Speedback GT review

Can the David Brown Speedback GT really justify the huge price tag?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

For the majority of us it’s hard to get your head round a £500,000 coachbuilt XKR but you won’t feel shortchanged by the quality, design and materials on offer in the David Brown Speedback GT. With extra comfort, that great V8 engine and the fold out picnic seats in the boot, the Speedback captures the spirt of sixties GT cars better than any other. There’s no escaping the Jaguar switchgear or infotainment system, though.

The David Brown Speedback GT is a coachbuilt retro-inspired British car using Jaguar XKR Convertible underpinnings, and commanding a £500,000 price-tag. It’s an eye-watering figure but one that begins to make sense when you get up close with it.

The aluminium body has some wonderful, elegant lines in it, the gunmetal paintwork takes 120 man hours to perfect and shines with a subtle burgundy under sunlight (hence its Guns ‘N’ Roses name) and those wire wheels are a work of art. The chrome brightwork was even deemed a little too bright, so was coated in copper first, then chromed to dull the effect ever so slightly.

The interior layout is familiar but feels infinitely more special than the XKR’s. The dials have new jewel-like numbers, the steering wheel is a wooden masterpiece and many of the switches are now finished in polished metal. They even glow gently at night. Unfortunately your hamstrung by having to use the same old Jaguar infotainment system, though.

David Brown Speedback boot

In terms of the way it drives, it has the incredible performance of an XKR. The supercharged 5.0-litre V8 not only sounds good but delivers the low-end torque that the team wanted from this car, designed more as a relaxing cruiser than an out-and-out sports car. There’s even a pair of rear-facing seats that flip out from the boot floor so you can set up a picnic en route.

The wire wheels are 19-inch units but the tyres have got particularly thick side walls to provide an extra element of comfort. It does the trick, too, gently cushioning the ride over sharp bumps that would have caused a thud in the Jaguar.

In terms of its handling, the GT boasts the same nice, quick steering as the XKR so it always feels nimble. With a little more flex in the tyres, it doesn’t feel quite so flat through tight bends but it’s a trade-off we’re more than happy with.

David Brown Speedback steering wheel

After all, the Speedback GT is designed as a car that offers the elegance and style of a sixties classic, while adding modern technology and reliable mechanicals. In the super-rich world of the buyers of this car, it’s something more bespoke and more unusual than a run of the mill Ferrari or Aston Martin. Clearly, it’s a small market but the fact that six buyers have already put down a 20 per cent deposit on a GT proves that David Brown may just be on to something.

Most Popular

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work
speed limiters
News

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work

Car industry body calls for UK government to adopt the new measures, but we’ll probably get them anyway…
29 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Toyota Corolla prototype review
Toyota Corolla prototype - front
Road tests

New Toyota Corolla prototype review

We try out the updated Toyota Corolla hybrid ahead of its official arrival
30 Jun 2022