VIDEO: Bavaria E40 Flybridge review

It may have been designed with ex-sailors in mind, but with slowing speeds and cutting costs, the Bavaria E40 Flybridge may have arrived at just the right time

Ever since testing the Sedan version of the E40 on Loch Lomond last year, I have been keen to get my hands on the Bavaria E40 Flybridge.

The Sedan we had on test, with its single 150hp engine, worked brilliantly in the sheltered surroundings of the Loch but with a top speed of 10 knots, it felt unlikely to cut it if you were to try and cover some distance offshore.

With £15,000 separating the Sedan from the Fly, it seemed the highest-powered flybridge version would be the model to opt for if it’s offshore cruising you want.

It’s not as if the largest D4 300hp motor transforms the E40 into some kind of snarling speed demon, but it does at least mean that 10 knots is your cruising speed as opposed to your top speed.

In fact, we topped out at 14.5 knots in benign conditions, so 10 knots really is the sweet spot and strikes a good balance between progress and refinement.

If you want to boost the range to its maximum, then throttling back to 7 knots will deliver a range of approximately 600nm.

It would have to be pretty calm to travel comfortably at that speed though, at least until Bavaria offers some form of stabilisation as an optional extra for the E series.

One of Seakeeper’s compact gyro stabilisers could make a big difference to how the E40 handles rough weather, even if it does add considerably to the otherwise very keen pricing of this model.

On the calm of our test day, the relaxed nature of helming the E40 came to the fore. Of course,
the entire boat south of the flybridge is identical to the Sedan version, which means you get the quirky aft helm mounted centrally on the main deck.

It’s a novel driving position, which ex-sailors (who are likely to make up a decent share of the
E’s customer base) will immediately click with.

The wheel certainly looks like it has been borrowed from one of Bavaria’s yachts and it sweeps from lock to lock in big easy strides, the bow swaying lazily from side to side.

The boat turns neatly enough with the keel gluing the hull to the water and ensuring it tracks comfortably. That said, with so much play in the steering, the helm does need quite a bit of attention at slow speeds, which could become tiring over time.

As could engine noise. The D4 is more hushed than the higher-revving D3 but at the upper end
of the range, it does begin to make itself heard.

The layout doesn’t help matters because the engine is mounted in a central space beneath the helm station and, as well insulated as this area is, it still creates a kind of echo chamber directly beneath the helm.

My advice? Enjoy life in the slow lane on the E40, it’s what the boat is made for.

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