BOAT REVIEW Bavaria E40 Sedan

December 2017 Launch Reviews
Words by Lawrence Schaffler, Photography by Bryce Taylor
OUR RATING
4 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Bavaria E40 Sedan
BUILDER Bavaria Yachts
CONSTRUCTION GRP
PRICE AS TESTED $526,000
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 12.29M
LENGTH (Waterline) 11.99M
BEAM 4.20M
DISPLACEMENT 10500kg
ENGINE Volvo Penta D4 300hp
FUEL CAPACITY 570L
WATER CAPACITY 420L
Maximum Speed 14 knots
Cruise Speed 9.5 knots
ACCOMMODATION Three cabins for six people.
Other cabin configurations are offered.

Most readers associate Bavaria with performance-cruiser yachts, but the German manufacturer’s stable also encompasses classy launches. The latest model off the powerboat production line – the 12m E40 Sedan – is a radical advance on her older siblings


Bavaria says the ‘E’ prefix stands for efficiency, economy and extra space. A tour through the boat quickly corroborates this, but to my mind the ‘E’ might better be attributed to ‘evolution’ – and a healthy dollop of it.

Mainly because the design concept is fairly progressive – a significant switch in direction from Bavaria’s earlier launches. She’s an interesting boat, and one that’s obviously resonated with the discerning European boating fraternity – she was recently voted the 2017 European Powerboat of the Year.

The first clue to the concept change is the spec sheet – and it’s quite a departure from the conventional planing speedsters typically fitted with twin, high-horsepower engines. Instead, this is a displacement hull. It has a 10.5-tonne dry weight, a single, 300hp engine delivering a nine-knot cruise speed and, depending on the layout, accommodation for four or six.

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These specs underscore her purpose – a comfortable, sea-kindly vessel providing a sedate cruise rather than a white-knuckle ride to a distant destination. I’m picking Bavaria is targeting the maturing baby-boomer  market – people who prefer to savour life at a more measured pace and like arriving at an anchorage with thinning hair intact.

The clearest example of the E40’s purpose though, is her interior layout. And you don’t have to go any further than the saloon to appreciate it. Here you will find a midships helm station located right at the aft end of the saloon.

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This causes an immediate double-take – aren’t helm stations meant to be at the forward, starboard end of a saloon? Well, generally they are. But the benefit of the E40’s helm location becomes apparent when you slide back the enormous windows/doors in the rear bulkhead.

Closed, they separate the saloon from the cockpit – but when they’re open there’s an instant rapport between skipper and the ratbags quaffing his most expensive, special wine in the cockpit. That free-flowing space and easy interaction between saloon/cockpit is very appealing. It makes for ‘inclusive’ conversation with the skipper – and he might even get to sample an occasional glass of his wine.

Even better is the view from the helm station. You’d imagine manoeuvring the E40 into a tight berth would be difficult seated so far back. In fact, the opposite is true – thanks in the main to the glorious 360o panoramic views through the massive windows surrounding the saloon. The view from the saloon is, I think, the vessel’s stand-out feature – it’s certainly my favourite.

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The curved, one-piece front window deserves special mention. Free of mullions, it accentuates the sense of space and, at the risk of sounding delirious, there’s an element of the ‘environment being brought inside’. Superb.

Options
Despite the production line environment, Bavaria offers E40 buyers multiple choices. There are too many to cover here, so I’ll focus on the main ones. Our review model is equipped with a 300hp Volvo D4 coupled to shaft drive – you could also opt for its 75hp or 150hp cousins. These might be OK for European lakes and rivers – I think the D4 is the logical choice for our open-water conditions. The vessel’s also available in a hybrid version.

As a mechanically-minded man, I was particularly impressed by the size of the engine room. Even with the D4 it’s an expansive space – filter replacements and general engine TLC will be easy and a pleasant change from the more usual skinned-knuckle cursing that marks most oil-change projects.

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It’s also worth noting that the engine’s mounted exactly halfway along the hull – and this carries two important benefits: the hull’s aft area, usually occupied by a launch’s engine/s, is freed up for two large aft cabins; and second, with the engine and fuel tank so far forward, the boat’s well-balanced and rides nice and level.

The other important choice to consider when ordering an E40 is number of cabins. This one has the standard three-cabin configuration – a master cabin up in the forepeak with separate shower/toilet nestling just aft, and two, near-identical stern cabins. They share a starboard bathroom, with an integrated shower.

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Cruising with six is easy, but for real comfort you’ll want to tick the single aft-cabin box. This presents a very spacious aft suite with an integrated bathroom – and if it were my boat, I’d be moving in here rather than the forepeak. Irrespective of which you choose, you’ll like the classy hull windows integrated into the cabin sides.

You’ll also like the ‘feel’ the boat presents – a very clean, contemporary décor with soft charcoal upholstery, light oak furniture and grey woolly carpets – and the clutter-free surfaces are designed for easy cleaning. Overall, it’s a bit like living in a modern, well-designed yet cosy apartment, with subtle LED lighting to enhance the vibe.

Entertaining
For me, the E40’s raison d’etre is about observing life supported by good food, great wine and best friends – and she’s admirably equipped for this. The cockpit, in particular, is fitted with expansive surround-settees, and I wager they’ll serve as slumber couches when the skipper’s cabernet-induced ramblings becomes too obscure to follow.

There’s a fold-out table in the corner for al fresco dining, and easy access down a set of sculpted steps to a large boarding/sunbathing platform. And speaking of sunbathing, there’s a really neat possie on the large foredeck – complete with fitted loungers and drinks holders.

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It’s an easy step from the cockpit to saloon – past the helm station – where you’ll find the dinner space segmented lengthwise: a well-equipped galley (port) running the full length of the saloon, with a long table and L-shaped settee dominated the starboard side.

Plenty of gear is included in the chef’s arsenal – a two-burner cooker with oven below, a large top-loading fridge, and a spacious bench-top. Standard inventory includes a microwave (below the bench-top) – and while this boat doesn’t have an inverter, it would be easy to fit one. The microwaves an obvious boon when plugged into shore power, and the entire vessel is riddled with 240-volt outlets.

Bavaria appreciates that wine chilled to the perfect temperature is something dear to its target market’s heart – ergo, the fridge/wine chiller fitted under the forward end of the saloon settee. Whoever’s sitting at that end has only to reach down to replenish the table. There is, incidentally, a third fridge/freezer on board. It’s tucked under the companionway stairs leading down to the aft cabins. So – lots of space for extended-cruise provisioning.

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The E40’s layout – the seamless transition between cockpit and saloon, the ability to enclose the saloon quickly if the weather’s uncooperative, the convenient catering with the galley close to the saloon table – offers easy entertainment options. And I don’t want to belabour the point, but the uninterrupted views from the table really are spectacular.
I also like the way the designer has optimised locker space on the E40 – these utilise nooks and crannies all over the vessel. One of the most useful is the large locker under the companionway stairs leading down in the forepeak. It’s vast!

Performance
As suggested, the 300hp Volvo is a happy running mate for the E40 – and a relatively frugal consumer. At cruise speed (9 – 9.5 knots) the D4 is turning over at around 2,500rpm consuming about 18 litres an hour. Top speed maxes out at just under 14 knots, with the engine revving at around 3,400rpm.

This boat has been equipped with larger fuel tanks, and the 570-litre capacity provides a healthy cruising range. She’s also equipped with a bow thruster – very useful for shoe-horning a single-screw vessel into a tight berth. A stern thruster is an optional extra.

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Helming is a pleasure – the Seastar gear is single-finger stuff – smooth and effortless and, with the raised seat (a bench seat that accommodates three in comfort) the vistas are excellent. All the engine and performance vitals are clearly represented on Volvo instruments and the large MFD. Great for matching engine load to sea conditions. More data = optimum fuel efficiency!

I liked the E40. She’s certainly unusual and traditionalists might baulk (initially) at the helm position – but it grows on you and you’ll probably be too busy enjoying the view to care. At a base price of $526,000, she’s also competitively-priced.
There will always be a place for semi-displacement and planing hulls. But if, like mine, your hair carries silver highlights, you’ll probably enjoy this vessel for the elegance she brings to your cruising lifestyle.

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