Adrenaline Powerboats 44 Speede

The 45 Speede is the Georgia builder’s first outboard model offering.

By Gregg Mansfield

When Adrenaline Powerboats’ Mike Layton is looking for inspiration to design a new boat model, he turns to the automotive industry for ideas.

“If you looked at our design wall, there’s usually no boats on them. It’s all hypercars,” Layton said. “We’re really kind of focused on creating components and features in our boat that you don’t buy out of a catalog, that are well thought out.”

The center console pod between the driver and copilot lifts for access to the cabin.
With seating for six people, the 45 Speede can hold a big crew for poker runs or a day on the water.

It’s that automotive inspiration that went into the creation of the 45 Speede, a gorgeous V-bottom that made its debut at the recent Miami International Boat Show. The boat’s running surface is based off the larger sistership ZRX47 Carbon Series, which has been a proven performer for the powerboat builder.

The 45 Speede is the first of the company’s models that Layton designed and purpose-built for outboard power. Hull number one was equipped with quad Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboards. Layton said it was almost an out-of-body experience the first time he took the boat out for testing because of the minimal engine noise.

“What most impresses me about the boat is being able to run the speeds we can run with really good handling characteristics and being able to carry on a conversation and listen to your music at really fast speeds because the engines are not super loud,” he said.

The outboards provided Layton with a wide canvass to work with in the cockpit. Adrenaline included four individually sculpted buckets and two single seats aft the company calls a “U-lounger.” Boarding the boat from the swim platform is easy thanks to a path over the sun pad.

The sun pad opens on a hydraulic hatch with ample room to stow fenders, coolers and extra gear. Five deep-cycle marine batteries were set in custom billet trays with the Adrenaline logo. LED engine lights are a nice feature to light up the boat at the docks in the evening. Optional underwater LED lighting is available.

The dashes on all of Adrenaline Powerboats’ models look like its straight out of an automotive catalog. A digital screen in front of the driver to port includes speed and rpm, while a screen in the center of the dash can be used as a chart plotter or to control the music. The screens and gauges are fastened behind the dash to create a cleaner look. The leather-wrapped dash and steering wheel reinforce the automotive feel to the 45 Speede.

Layton said the technology feeding information to the screens was developed in-house. Adrenaline created proprietary software to trim the outboards, allowing drivers to better dial in the engines.

At the end of the day we want our boats to be more than just a different name. We want the whole process of the build, the whole ideology behind the product to be ours.

“We don’t go to a source and buy a kit and configure it. We literally build it from the ground up,” Layton said. “All the wiring, pin outs on the connectors are all proprietary. There’s probably 5,000 lines of custom code in our 10-inch display that tells various features of the boat what to do.”

Layton believes it’s important for a boat that retails for $850,000 to have custom features rather than traditional off-the-shelf technology.

“We just feel like if we build the same boat that everybody builds why would we do that?” Layton said. “At the end of the day we want our boats to be more than just a different name. We want the whole process of the build, the whole ideology behind the product to be ours.”   

Some of the coolest engineering on the 45 Speede is the cabin door. With a touch of a screen, hydraulic rams raise the door and center console with the throttle and shifter.

“When the door lifts up, I don’t want to see any struts or I don’t want to see any hardware, I just want it to look like it floats up like magic,” Layton said.

Adrenaline created a cabin with four bench seats, a built-in cooler and custom entertainment stereo with four 8-inch speakers and a subwoofer. Up in the bow, a deck hatch provides separate access for the cabin. The Lincolnton, Georgia-based builder took its time installing the custom ceiling headliner with LED lights.

Adrenaline Powerboats describes the two single seats aft as a “U-lounger” to hang out. Boarding the boat from the swim platform is easy thanks to a path over the sun pad.

Adrenaline builds its boats using an epoxy, carbon-fiber infusion process. The boat is capped to create a seamless mating of the deck and hull. To protect the custom paint work, the builder provided eight tie-down cleats for fenders and ropes.

“Since 2006 I don’t think we’ve put a rubrail on a boat,” he said. “We tend to attract a buyer who want that super-clean look.”

Although Layton said they continue to dial in the 45 Speede, top speed is over 100 mph with a cruising range around 80 mph. “You just point it and pick how fast you want to go,” he said. “Select your trim and the boat bottom does the rest.” 

Layton saw a strong response from consumers in Miami and Adrenaline is ready to ramp up production once they clear some projects from the shop.

“I feel like it’s a pretty unique boat,” Layton said. “It’s not small, it’s not underpowered. It’s very aggressive in styling and still has a lot of room. It’s got all the bases covered.” 


Adrenaline Powerboats 45 Speede
LOA: 45’
Beam: 9’3”
Dry Weight: 8,500 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 220 gallons
Price: $850,000
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