The Brabus Shadow 500 Cabin is built on an Axopar hull and then sent to Brabus Marine for the treatments above the waterline. That’s where the fit and finish and all the fine detail work that we see in the finished product come together.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.5 seconds|
|0 to 30||7.0 seconds|
|Props||13.6 x 21|
|Load||3 persons; 50% fuel; 50 lbs. gear|
|Climate||85 deg.; 78 humid.; winds: 5-10; seas: 0|
2 x 250-hp Mercury Pro XS
2 x 250-hp Mercury Pro XS
By Capt. Steve
In Europe, the name Brabus is a big deal and is instantly recognizable for its quality and premium name. In North America, not so much. If we had to come up with a North American counterpart though, it would probably be along the lines of Maybach Automotive. Maybach doesn’t make the cars – they take an existing car and make it into a luxury automobile. So it goes with Brabus.
The mission of the Brabus Shadow 500 is to blend a luxury cabin cruiser consistent with the Brabus name with excellent handling characteristics of the Axopar name. The result is the best of both worlds… style and capability. She not only makes an ideal commuter but quite possibly the perfect superyacht tender.
Major Features (Including Distinguishing Features)
- Best handling hull in class. Our tests have consistently shown this to be the case.
- Five hull color schemes available
- Intelligent steering module with pushbutton control for bow thruster, trim tabs and stereo
- SIMRAD glass dash with dual 12” (30.48 cm) displays
- Can accommodate up to 500-hp
- Large opening sunroof
- Inverter powered air conditioning
- Dual side doors to main deck cabin
The Brabus 500 Cabin has an LOA of 31’3” (9.53 m), a beam of 9’8” (2.95 m) and a draft of 2’8” (.80 m). With an empty weight of 6,173 lbs. (2,800 kg), half fuel and three people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 7,002 lbs. (3,176 kg).
With the twin 250-hp Mercury Pro XS engines turning 13.6 x 21 pitch propellers and wound up to 5950 RPM, our speed topped out at 62.1 MPH. Best cruise came in at 4000 RPM and 38.4 MPH. It was at that speed that the 19.1 GPH fuel burn translated into 2.0 MPG and a range of 134 statute miles, all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s 74-gallon (280.12 L) total fuel capacity.
Shove the throttles forward and she’ll come up on plane in an average of 3.5 seconds and she’ll stay on plane right on down to 11 MPH. We reached 20 MPH in 4.9 seconds and 30 came and went in 7 seconds.
She has what is inarguably the best handling characteristics in class. No matter how hard we pushed her, she refused to show any untoward characteristics. The auto trim handled the engines fine so there was never any prop ventilation during the hard turns. Heavy wakes of passing yachts failed to produce any pounding or hull slap and try as we might, we failed to even get any spray on the windshield.
The standard, and only engines available, are the dual Mercury Pro XS V8 Four Stroke 250-hp CMS XLs. They include the Merc Racing View 703 GPS Helm unit, Active Trim, Mercury TDS (Theft Deterrent System), VesselView Mobil and the Power Graphics Kit on the engine cowlings.
Since this is the Shadow 500 “Cabin” let’s start with the cabin itself. It’s accessed from sliding doors to both sides that provide an opening 32” (81.28 cm) wide and then a 10” (25.40 cm) step down. There are two rows of seating, the helm and observer’s seats and then bench seating across the stern that measures 61” (154.94 cm) across that is down another 10” (25.40 cm). There’s air-conditioning powered off of an inverter so there’s climate control without the need for a generator. The only vents are at the rear of the cabin though. I’d like to see some additional venting added to the front as well. And we’re already seeing the Brabus upscale treatments in the 32 oz (.91 kg) upholstery with custom stitching.
One common theme with this brand is the clever use of space. There are a lot of features put into a small area but there is never a need to feel cramped thanks to some clever thinking. For example, unlatch the sides of the forward seats and they roll forward to expose a sink and chill box.
Comfort, as well as fit and finish, have not been left off the table. There’s a foot rail surrounding the seating and a custom carpet with the Brabus trim. Behind the forward seats, there’s cargo net storage. Grab handles are up high and out of the way of being in the way of hitting arms or ribs as we go through waves. The entire cabin is surrounded by glass for excellent visibility. LED lighting is across the back paneling and there’s a large electrically actuated opening sunroof.
The helm features SIMRAD’s upgraded Nav package with dual 12” (30.48 cm) screens behind a glass panel that still allows for touch functionality. There’s a row of electrical switches that are lights when activated and to the left of the wheel is the Mercury VesselView display (included in Extended Navigation Package). The ISM (Intelligent Steering Module) is the focal piece of the helm, however. The Brabus logo is in the center of the wheel and the sides house controls for the trim tabs, bow thruster and stereo controls. One important detail is to recognize that this section of the steering module is in a fixed position, so if you are the type of operator that likes to put your finger in the wheel and spin away, curb your enthusiasm. You’ll only do that once as your finger will get into the fixed section of the module and it won’t feel good. But again, you’ll only do this once.
Well, the features on our test boat start with this optional wetbar module that has an opening top hatch that releases with a pushbutton to the side. It's all finished in Gun Metal Gray that matches the rest of the boat. An electric grill can go in the right-side position. There's a sink, a top-loading refrigerator and storage is underneath. Options for this area include a fully open aft deck with bench seating or an aft cabin with sunpad top and Brabus interior.
There’s ample storage in this area. In the deck, there’s a hatch leading to a huge storage compartment that leads all the way under the refreshment center and up to the cabin. Additional storage is to the side in deep saddle compartments. All hatches are held open with gas support struts and all exterior decking is treated with rubberized non-skid.
Just behind are staple rails and these are reversible to provide either room to move about in the aft deck or room for the outboard to tilt all the way out of the water. Not both.
We make our way forward via 14” (35.56 cm) wide side decks. The bulwarks come up 22” (55.88 cm) and the rails top out at 28” (71.12 cm). The cabin top has a recessed edge so the whole length becomes a convenient grab rail.
The bow is another area that gets creative with its use of space. Because the Shadow 500 presents such a narrow entry to the seas, the builder chose not to go with two small V-style seats to either side and went with one seat only to the port side. This is a fair compromise and one that works quite well as it allows for a wider single seat that now continues across the front. Plus, the wraparound bolster surrounds the entirety of the bow.
Of course, this area is not without its versatility. There are receivers in the deck for a pair of pedestals. Long versions will accommodate a table. Short versions accommodate support for a sunpad conversion. Storage is under the seat. This entire area can be shaded with a standard pop-up sunshade supported by carbon-fiber stanchions forward and the forward edge of the cabin at the back of the shade.
Of course, what would a family-friendly boat be without a head compartment? On the Shadow 500 Cabin, it’s accessed from the front of the console with a forward opening hatch. The door is held open by a magnetic catch. This compartment is laid out in Cool Grey against a Black color scheme. It includes an electric flush toilet. The sink and faucet are connected to a 10.5-gallon (40 L) water tank and the sink top is black Corian. The top half of the aft bulkhead is all mirrored. There’s a side storage compartment to port.
Options to Consider
Brabus Aft cabin – $15,860
Aft Wetbar Package – $7,150
Cabin air conditioning
Extended Audio Package – $2,990
Extended Nav Package – $7,670
Webasto Heater – $4,420
Electric Windlass and Remote Control – $7,150
Price (or Price Range)
The marriage between Axopar and Brabus Marine is one made in luxury heaven and it’s the best of both worlds. It blends an excellent handling boat with a luxurious fit and finish in a workable space where little else is desired. As a commuter, she’s well suited so those with island homes or a workspace across the water will appreciate her that much more. As a family cruiser, she’ll also be right at home.