The Bénéteau Gran Turismo 40 marks a new dawn for the French yard's good value sportscruiser range, as Nick Burnham reports
The Bénéteau Gran Turismo 40 comes to market looking to do things a little bit differently.
The 40ft sportscruiser market is so highly evolved that there’s an almost regimented standard layout – C-shaped dinette at the back of the cockpit opposite a wet bar, chaise longue forward to port, double helm to starboard either side of a central companionway.
Below, a forward cabin with a central double berth, saloon in the middle with a dinette one side, head and galley the other and a mid cabin with two berths running transversely.
But Bénéteau has confounded our expectations with a subtle yet effective rework of this time honoured traditional layout for its new GT40.
It starts in the cockpit where the aft portion feels longer than normal and has seating both sides, the starboard settee wrapping itself along the transom at one end and truncating in a chaise longue at the other.
The wet-bar is present and correct, but it’s mounted centrally, backing onto the helm. In another departure from established practice, the helm is two steps up in pride of place, slap bang in the middle.
You still get a double helm seat, but fitting it centrally has left room for a third seat on the starboard side – access to the cabin relegated to port. Overhead, Bénéteau has opted for a solid sliding roof section.
Head down below and you’ll find most things where you expect them. The master cabin is up front with its central double berth and the saloon features the usual dinette opposite a galley ahead of the heads.
That port-side entrance means you lose a leg of the normally three sided dinette (which may explain why this area doesn’t convert to sleeping). The galley is on the small side also, fine for lunch but don’t get over ambitious at dinner time.
The reason is clear though, with a generous heads large enough to contain a separate shower stall. It’s a compromise I suspect most owners will favour.
The mid cabin is a little different though. Access is to the centre using the area beneath the helm and the berths run longitudinally.
The GT40 picks up onto the plane exceptionally easily for a 40ft boat running a pair of Volvo Penta D4 300hp diesels. The boat’s light weight of about 7.5 tonnes must help here.
It doesn’t feel lightweight though, in the long rolling swell of our test day we were getting properly airborne and dropping hard into the troughs yet the hull did a fine job of soaking up the abuse.
Best of all there are absolutely no creaks or groans of protest, just the occasional (and understandable) rattle from the solid roof section.
Top end is where you finally feel the difference of the smaller D4 engines and thir 32-knot maximum – you’d eke out an extra knot if it were flat calm.
D6 engines typically offer a high thirty top end. If you want to go faster (or load the boat up with plenty of crew and equipment) you should spec the larger motors.
An adjustable helm seat means that the helmsman’s lot is a pretty happy one. The raised helm also means that you can stand and drive if you prefer, looking over the windscreen header rail.
It’s not perfect, the long arc forward of the hard top means that you need to be aware of potential blind spots caused by the long thick mullions when seated, and a single pantograph wiper in the centre would be fine if the screen were right in front of you, but at that distance a little more windscreen clearance would be of benefit. These are workable niggles though, not deal breakers.
The full report on the Bénéteau Gran Turismo 40, including test figures and prices, will be in the December 2015 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting, out November 5.
Contact See Bénéteau website for dealers.
Fundamentally this is an excellent addition to the 40ft sportscruiser sector, offering enough change to make it a genuine alternative without losing functionality and practicality in the process. And whilst the nth degree detailing won't worry the premium sector, the price just might.