Review: Beneteau GT40 Gran Turismo

By: John Willis, Photography by: Ellen Dewar

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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The new Beneteau GT40 Express luxury motor cruiser has gone all-out. It’s a sensible mix of power and technical features combined with superb styling, terrific layout and an alluring, feature-filled fit-out with subtle new materials - all combined into an exhilarating water sports machine.

 

  • The Beneteau Gran Turismo 40 has exquisite looks and styling.

 

  • Twin Volvo Penta D4 300ZD marine diesel engines provide a top ride and power. The central helm is a superb design.

 

  • Overall flow and layout on the Beneteau GT40 are also excellent design features. The convertible nature of this luxury motoryacht will appeal to many owners.

 

  • However, general access for the daily checklist may prove difficult for some.

 

The Beneteau Gran Turismo 40 is unquestionably a leader in design. Designers Nuvolari and Lenard haven’t followed the recent minimalistic concept of many offerings but instead have chosen to make a statement in style and grace with a beautiful approach to overall liveability.  Every inch of the boat is elegant, expansive, ergonomic, energetic, exquisite, enticing and exciting. It’s based on some terrific seafaring technology combined with alluring internals and finished with a curvaceous body to die for. The Beneteau GT40 is a boat that will stand out from the crowd.

 

Beneteau GT40

Beneteau GT40 Grand Turismo

At 41.5-feet (12.67 metres) overall the GT40 is a terrific size that can be enjoyed alone or with a crowd. The cockpit has seating for 11 guests, all accommodated in total comfort in a very entertaining layout. She offers overnight accommodation for up to six people and the facilities to keep them all happily fed and refreshed. With a massive fully retractable sunroof, a large day lounge for sunbaking on the forward deck and a terrific launching pad for water sports off the rear platform, it’s a vessel for all climates.

I’ve often been disappointed by show ponies that look the goods but let you down when it counts. Not the Beneteau GT40 – just plant those throttles and try to wipe the smile from your face. This is a grunty powerhouse with spectacular on-water performance and pleasurable handling whether at full noise or when manoeuvring into a tight marina pen. I tested the boat on a choppy Port Phillip Bay and felt the immediate urge and confidence to drive it across Bass Strait to the wonderful Tasmanian aquatic treasures. She would be a perfect Sydney Harbour entertainer, a ripping Rottnest retreat or a glorious island-hopping Whitsundays delight.

 

 

Layout and design

Interior of Beneteau GT40 Grand Turismo

Out front is a stainless anchor fitting with Lewmar windless recessed into a deep anchor well and enclosed with a hatch. The bow is enclosed by a strong bi-sectional stainless steel rail which reaches a good safe height similar to that of surveyed vessels. She has large, secure bollards for safe mooring and walkways either side of the cabin, which are very easily traversed.

The low-line cabin roof slopes slowly to the bow creating the opportunity for removable sun lounges with pivoting backrests for total comfort. These beautifully trimmed cushions can be stored in the mid-sectioned second stateroom and they are thoughtfully cut around the forward hatch, which supplies light and ventilation to the master stateroom in the bow.

From the outside, the structure appeals as more of a targa that has been almost fully enclosed with stylish window lines. The large single-piece windscreen with its big wiper-washer provides unobstructed vision from the Beneteau GT40 and there’s a pair of electric side windows for added convenience on either side.

The helm, cockpit and swim platform are simply masterpieces of modern nautical design. The char-grill style barbeque and sink unit are housed in a very attractive fibreglass enclosure on the rear deck area. It keeps cooking mess well away from the lounge area, but the chef stays part of the party. You step up to the command and entertainment area through a stainless steel rear gate and find a single-level expanse of pure entertainment venue. The flooring is all teak-trimmed, right out to the platform defining the flow. Beautiful fibreglass mouldings, premium fittings, accessories and a huge choice of seating options are striking. The upholstery quality is superb, with light cream quilted inserts offsetting beige faux-leather. It features lush padding, quality stitching and ventilated backing. There is a dual lounge to the port side, another behind the centrally located helm seat and another long "L-shaped" lounge extending from behind the passenger module with chez back. All of the seating units have storage or access points to plumbing and electrical fittings and there is an open section that’s perfect for a large icebox. In the centre is a very functional high gloss solid timber folding table that also converts to a base for a full sun lounge.

 

Central helm

Central helm on Beneteau GT40

I loved the idea of a central driver’s position with a dual seat and lift up bolster. Beneteau have got the helm and windscreen height just right with terrific visibility throughout the rev range and very little bow rise on take-off. If you like the wind in your hair or direct vision at night, you simply look out through the huge electric sunroof with the comfort of a flip-up bolster to support you. Passengers like to see the track ahead so there’s a separate seating module to starboard.

The dashboard presentation and layout enhances the rest of this visually stunning craft with polar white, cream and ivory gelcoat features accented with stainless steel foot and grab rails, with tan leatherette grips on all hand holds. The actual dash layout presents very well and it’s not too high to prevent vision. There’s plenty of room for the optional Simrad electronics package with its NSS12" multi-function display and a large choice of factory fitted-options. The Volvo display gives full engine diagnostics at your fingertips, uncluttering your direct vision. The dual binnacle controls are well placed, as is all of the switchgear.

Our Beneteau GT40 review boat was fitted with the latest fad in accessories, the joystick controls. The standard package comes with the guts and manoeuvrability of twin Volvo D4 300ZD marine diesel engines, driving Duo Prop drives with enormous thrust both in forward and reverse. It also came with the optional bow thruster for terrific manoeuvrability. I personally wouldn’t pay the very considerable price increase for the joystick option.

 

Interior

Cabins in Beneteau GT40 GT

A stairwell is almost an afterthought on many cruisers, but it’s an integral highlight, inviting flow between the levels on the Beneteau GT40. The big, wide entry is on the port side of the helm with a lockable door and a clear sliding top that meets a further skylight beaming natural light into the galley and convertible dinette.

All of the lower levels feature Walnut Alpi Mat panelling with white moulded head liners, brown oak flooring and a designer selection of feature laminates and textures, including high-end fixtures, craftsman-built joinery and beautifully textured upholstery. The galley is rather simple but very neat and accommodating, including a reasonable amount of bench space, an electric Kenyon stove with pop-ups for holding pots in place, plenty of shelf storage, utensils drawers, rubbish compartment and a Waeco compressor fridge in the cabinet. There are overhead cupboards and portholes either side of this central area with plenty of ventilation, accentuated by a large wall mirror. The bathroom feeds off to the starboard. It’s not huge but accommodating for a 40-footer.

The master stateroom in the bow is quite traditional with its large island bed with plenty of headroom, overhead hatch and long side windows with small opening ventilation ports. There is drop lighting, reading lamps and power points all neatly trimmed in a selection of surfaces and colours, making a very cosy bedroom.

Amidships and down another level is the second stateroom with its dual single beds as standard. These can easily be made into a very large bed with a bunk infill and while it’s a bit short on headroom, it is a cosy nook for the twin berths with plenty of light and storage options. For maximised comfort she’s fully air conditioned and runs a 4 KVA 50Hz generator with inverter and charger.

 

Volvo D4 300ZD marine diesel

Beneteau GT40 Grand Turismo on the water

The hull features balsa core sandwich construction, a 3.85-metre beam and 7935 kg dry weight. Beneteau have refined their "Air Step" technology with Generation 2 design, with its stepped keel and strakes that aerate the running surface, giving lift and a virtual air cushion to soften the ride and increase efficiency. She has a lovely steep entry that cuts the slop and keeps the ride dry. I was pleased with a top speed of 33.8 knots at 3635rpm, consuming a total of 116L/h, and lower-than-expected noise levels At 23 knots she does 67.4L/h at 2800 rpm, for a range of about 200 nautical miles with 10 per cent reserve in the 650-litre fuel tanks. She really liked a more conventional travelling speed of 15.6 knots at 2300rpm with a light load, where you will expect just under 60L/h but it’s not as efficient, running with more hull in the water.

The compact four-cylinder, four-stroke diesel Volvo D4 300ZD marine diesel engines with Duo Prop stern drives have common rail fuel injection systems, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, turbocharging with an aftercooler. They have full cast iron blocks and cylinder heads and are perfectly matched to the GT40 with minimal noxious emissions. At only 559kg each, plus the stern drives, the D4s provide efficient power to weight for a "real" loaded weight expectancy of around 8.5 tonnes. While we only had four passengers on our test, she just jumped out of the hole and onto the plane very efficiently and powered very evenly throughout the whole rev range.

Our demonstration boat was fitted with the 4-inch Volvo digital multi-function screen to the compact dashboard and I found it to be quite satisfying for the package. There is plenty of torque transfer changing gear with the horsepower of the D4 and the enormous forward and reverse thrust of the Duo Prop legs with some almost "clunking" in out of gear. I like it, you know where you are between shifts.

I was very impressed with the efficiency of the overall package and although my initial reaction was that they would be a little underdone, I was wrong – they are very satisfying. Being typical Aussies, no doubt others will opt for the bigger 370hp engines.

 

Beneteau GT40 specs

Beneteau GT40 price: $577,000

Priced from

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Joystick control, paint and upholstery upgrades, Alpi Walnut finish with Brown Oak floors, air conditioning, generator, inverter, bow thruster, Simrad electronics with autopilot and AIS transponder, 4" Volvo-Glass, sun mattress, cockpit fridge, electric toilet, electronic side windows and sunroof, cockpit shower and many, many more.

 

PRICE AS TESTED

$ 759,000 (INC TAXES)

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Monohull sports cruiser

LENGTH 12.67m

BEAM 3.85m

WEIGHT 7935 kg dry

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE CE Certification B10 – C10

FUEL 2 x 325L Fuel tanks

WATER 200L Water Tank, 40L Water Heater, 80L Holding Tank

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Volvo D4 300ZD marine diesels

TYPE Four-cylinder, turbocharged marine diesel engine

RATED HP 300each

DISPLACEMENT 3.7 litres

WEIGHT 559kg each plus stern drives

GEAR RATIO 1.76:1

PROPELLER G4 SS propellers

 

MORE INFORMATION

Sundance Marine

Savages Wharf, 8/158-170 Nelson Place

Williamstown, VIC, 3016

Phone 1300 55 00 89

Web sundancemarine.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #480, on sale July 14, 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


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