REVIEW: BENETEAU GRAN TURISMO 46

By: KEVIN GREEN, Photography by: SUPPLIED; KEVIN GREEN

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Sportscruisers are the SUVs of the boating world, so this first stepped hull with IPS from Beneteau should take you to most places, reports KEVIN GREEN.

REVIEW: BENETEAU GRAN TURISMO 46

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The Gran Turismo range combines style with some grunt and this is especially the case with the GT46 which can have twin 435hp engines to ensure its place firmly in the sportscruiser category. The middle sibling in an expanding range that has the GT40, GT42 and most recently the GT50, the 46 shares the optioned 435hp engines with its bigger sister, but at four tonnes lighter has better performance, as I found out off the Spanish coast.

For me, a sportscruiser is all about fun and function, so it has to have usable deck space while pulling enough horsepower to blast offshore for the weekend. In between, there must be liveability at the anchorage, so enough comforts to keep the kids happy yet not be overly complicated. The open-plan three-cabin GT46 looks to accomplish this well – given our review boat was hull #23, sales are looking strong already – so I thought it best to find out why myself.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

HIGHS

• Style
• Functionality
• Performance
• Layout

LOWS

• Modest tankage (limits range)
• Shoddy transom sunpad

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Beneteau collaborated with Italian designers Nuvulari Lenard along with interior wizards Andreani Design to create what initially looks an understated and uncluttered boat; or at least that was my first impression as I stepped onto the wide teak-clad swimplatform. Cockpit access from each side creates an island transom lounge, allowing for an open-plan space through the aft cockpit to the saloon.

Unusual bay window-style anodised steel doors weatherproof the saloon and an overhang above partly shelters the deck. This open arrangement means there’s combined seating for about 10 guests, so party time should be comfortable on the GT46. Inside, there’s good versatility in an uncluttered saloon – the teak table unfolds to serve both benches while also removable and the aft benches move on a chromed track. Tall headroom and lots of sweeping window glass (with blinds) gives clear views when resting on the bench seating or sky views when the large electric sunroof is opened. The thick vinyl covering is wipe-clean (and there’s a leather option) and its cream colour contrasts nicely with the teak flooring. A single step takes me to the elevated starboard helm, which sensibly has two seats. Instrumentation is dominated by the 16in Simrad NSS screen, surrounded by chunky buttons, while on the right is the Volvo throttles and IPS pod joystick plus Lenco trim tabs.

LAYOUT CHOICES

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The GT46 has two main layouts, a galley-down with the two-cabin version or a three-cabin with galley topside. Our review boat was the two-cabin with galley-down. The downstairs galley maximises the saloon space above and another functional part of the GT46. Located at the bottom of the wide stairs on portside, and ideal for handing up plates or servicing the downstairs lounge, the galley can easily cater for a boatload of visitors. Especially if you add the grill bar option on the transom. It’s fitted with a two-burner ceramic hob, grill/oven microwave and two deep sinks. Perishables have a large upright (218lt) fridge-freezer which finishes off this functional area. A lack of fiddles on the Corian worktops is my only complaint. Opposite is the downstairs lounge (instead of a third cabin), which has U-shaped bench seating around a sizeable table and is a useful dining area with cupboards overhead.

FULL-BEAM MASTER

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The merits of a full-beam master cabin are several, including being the most stable berth at sea and of course all that space. The minuses are limited headroom and proximity to the engineroom.

The queen-size bed has a slatted mattress and storage underneath. It’s surrounded by bench space on each side. A vanity could be a useful option on one of these sides. Natural light streams in via the large rectangular portlights. Headroom (1.93m) is plentiful, as is walking space around the cabin. On the starboard forward quarter, the Quiet Flush head is separated from the shower cubicle and has the essential ventilation via a chromed porthole. This comfortable berth is completed by the full-length wardrobe on port.

Moving through the corridor brings me to the forward berth, which is again a comfortable area thanks to the flared bows creating a voluminous space. Versatility is again apparent, the double bed splits into two singles and there is ensuite access to the adjoining dayhead and bathroom. For storage in the cabin, there are large and small wardrobes with some under-bed space. A large skylight avoids any stuffiness here and the aft bulkhead could house a television. The finish throughout was good for a mass-produced powerboat with tidy joinery on the Alpi matt walnut; that only CNC machining can achieve. Less obvious but also good is the hull access to seacocks, the grey water holding tank and electrical panels; so that any problem can be quickly found.

DECK LOUNGING

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Sun worshippers will enjoy the GT46 with its wide teak swimplatform (3.6m x 1.33m) which has slots for a tender, and a deep transom locker for wet toys, while up front are twin sunpads at the bow. A hydraulic version of the platform is a pricey option to allow easy launching of tenders and when under water can act as stabiliser to avoid mal de mer at anchor. Narrow but navigable sidedecks connect them, with tall safety rails (as per CE regulations) and the coachroof for support. Anchoring is fairly well taken care of, with a vertical 1000W Lewmar windlass and a deep chain locker to avoid jams during retrieval (with chain counter on the main console) plus Delta plough anchor. Sizeable cleats all around, including midships, are other good essentials.

The GT46 is the first stepped hull (Air Step 2) that is IPS powered. Beneteau’s Air Step 2 underwater profile is intended to promote early planing and minimise friction – which was noticeably apparent when I accelerated during our sea trial. The stepped underwater profile has a pronounced flattening from midships aft, while ahead are conventional chines and grooves to aerate and reduce friction. The build is by infusion moulding with balsa core – to reduce weight – and solid GRP around keel and other key areas.

STERNDRIVES OR PODS

Engine access is from a large centre hatch that encompasses the saloon and the aft deck.
Engine options are sterndrive Z shafts – favoured by many Europeans – or the IPS pods that are more popular in the recovering USA market. The latter were fitted to our review boat – 435hp Volvo IPS 600s – ensuring this hull breaks the 30-knot barrier; often seen as real sportsboat territory. There’s pros and cons with each system – sterndrives reduce draft, while the pods are highly manoeuvrable but being forward facing are more vulnerable to damage. Standard gear are the twin 370hp sterndrives, so a bowthruster would be a wise option with them.

The engine bay is cramped, with space minimal between the two motors but sufficient to access the oilways and pod drives behind, while electrics are high above the bilges. There’s an empty space forward for a 7kVA Onan generator on the keel line. Stored power is five 113Ah AGM batteries (two for engine starting) and diesel is in two plastic 450lt wing tanks.

COSTA BRAVA BLAST

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The coast around Barcelona is not my favourite as it’s often lacking features, so it helped to pass at 30-plus-knots at the wheel of the GT46, with its flared bows pointing steadily to the cityscape of Barcelona. Unlike Australia, the Med’ coast has plenty of fuel stops and sheltered marinas, even during onshore winds, as I found over the years doing yacht deliveries here. So it’s an ideal play park for the GT46.

Before that, it’s first major test during our sea trial was manoeuvring out of the tight berth against the stone quay – something which I wasn’t allowed to do for insurance purposes – so my host Yann gingerly urged the 48-foot hull forward while the onshore wind tried to push our bows against the stone work. This scenario is where pods pay for themselves because we managed this without a bowthruster.

Clear of Puerta Ginesta marina, I took the wheel and another journalist joined me on the comfy adjoining seat to note the performance. Chatting proved a wee bit bothersome because the throaty Volvos were roaring under the hatch just behind us but proved their worth with fast acceleration, aided by the Air Step 2 hull that promoted early planing with only a few clicks required on the Lenco trim tabs. Elsewhere on the console, the Simrad GPS showed the numbers rising steadily.

At 25kts and the revs at 3000, the ride felt just about right and there was no complaints from my derrière in the padded and adjustable seat; or squeaks from the furnishings. For added visibility during fast, wide turning – which is characteristic of IPS – I ducked my head out of the open sunroof. The Volvo gauges showed 102lt/h total consumption, giving a modest range of about 220 miles. However, the Volvos had plenty more to offer and pushing the twin electronic throttles fully down took only a few seconds to reach the top speed of 33kts, which consumed a whopping 164lt/hr. 

SEA TRIALS

Full fuel and four people, light winds and calm seas.      
RPM SPEED (KTS) FUEL BURN (LT/H) RANGE (NM)
1000 6.5 6 975
1500  9.5 25 342
2000 11.7 46 229
2500 17.2 72 215
3000 25.5 102 202
3700 33 164 180

 * Sea Trial data supplied by Author 

PRICED FROM

$740,000

GENERAL

LENGTH 14.78m (48ft 6in) overall
BEAM 4.2m
WEIGHT 10,061kg light
DRAFT 1.11m

CAPACITIES

FUEL 900lt
WATER 400lt

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 600
TYPE Inline six-cylinder supercharged turbodiesel
RATED HP 435hp (each)
DISPLACEMENT 5.5lt (each)

FOR MORE INFO

Visit beneteau.com

Check out the full review in issue #501 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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