Sports cruisers are the SUVs of the boat world so the Beneteau Gran Turismo 46, a stepped hull with IPS, should take you most places.
The Gran Turismo range combines style with power. This is especially true for the GT46, the middle sibling in an expanding range including the GT40, GT42 and most recently the GT50. The 46 shares the optioned 435HP twin engines with its bigger sibling, but at four tons lighter it has better performance, as we found out off the Spanish coast.
Beneteau collaborated with Italian designers Nuvolari & Lenard along with the interior wizards at Andreani Design to create an uncluttered boat. This was our first impression as we stepped onto the wide teak-clad swim platform. Cockpit access from each side creates an island transom lounge, allowing for an open-plan space through the aft cockpit to the saloon. This combined with twin sunbeds on the bow means the GT46 has plenty of living space.
Unusual bay window anodized steel doors weatherproof the saloon and an overhang above partly shelters the deck. Inside, there’s good versatility—the teak table unfolds to serve both benches but is also removable and the aft benches slide on a chromed track.
Helm instrumentation is dominated by the 16-inch Simrad NSS screen, surrounded by chunky buttons, while on the right are the Volvo throttles and IPS pod joystick plus Lenco trim tabs.
The GT46 has two main layouts, a galley-down with two cabins or a three cabin version with the galley topside. Our review boat was galley-down. Located at the bottom of the wide stairs on portside, the galley is ideal for hanging up plates or servicing the downstairs lounge. It can easily cater for a boatload of visitors, especially if you add the grill bar option on the transom.
Opposite the galley is the downstairs lounge (instead of a third cabin), which has U-shaped bench seating around a sizeable table so it is a useful dining area with cupboards overhead. The merits of a full beam master cabin are several including it being the most stable berth at sea and of course all that space. The downsides are limited headroom and proximity to the engine room.
The queen size bed has a slatted mattress base and storage underneath. It’s surrounded by bench space on each side. Moving through the corridor brings us to the forward berth which is again a comfortable area thanks to the flared bows creating a voluminous space. The finish was good for a mass-produced powerboat with precise joinery throughout in an Alpi matt walnut that only CNC machining can achieve.
Costa Brava Blast
Engine options are sterndrive Z shafts—favored by many Europeans, or the IPS pods that are more popular in the recovering US market. The latter were fitted to our review boat —435HP Volvo IPS 600s— ensuring this hull broke the 30-knot barrier; often seen as real sports boat territory. The GT46’s first major test was maneuvering out of the tight berth against the stone quay while the onshore wind tried to push our bows against the stonework. This is where pods pay for themselves because we managed this without a bow thruster.
At 25 knots and with the RPM at 3,000 the ride felt just about right and there was no complaints from our derrières in the adjustable seats or squeaks from the furnishings. The Volvo gauges showed 102 liters per hour total consumption, giving a modest range of about 220 miles. Pushing the twin electronic throttles fully down, it took only a few seconds to reach the top speed of 33 knots, which consumed a whopping 164 liters per hour. The GT46 romped towards Barcelona at nearly the pace of the coastal commuter train.
- Price: 408,000€ ex. Vat (IPS600)
- L.O.A: 14,78 m 48’6’’
- Beam: 4.2 m
- Displacement light: 10, 061 kg
- Height: 4,85 m
- Draft: 1,11 m
- Fuel: 2 x 450 L
- Water: 2 x 200 L
- Engine power: 2 x 435HP Volvo IPS 600 pod or 2 x Z Drive Volvo 370HP
- Design: Beneteau/Nuvolari Lenard
- Interior: Andreani Design