January 2023 Launch Reviews
Words by Sarah Ell. Photography and video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL Beneteau GT45
DESIGNER Beneteau/Andreani Design
BUILDER Beneteau Boats
PRICE AS TESTED $1,950,000
LOA 14.78M
LENGTH (Waterline) 13.50M
BEAM 4.50M
ENGINE 2 x Volvo Penta D6-IPS 600 440hp
  • Smooth ride and quiet running
  • Being able to close up the saloon while retaining great visibility
  • Slick styling in a practical package
  • Massive sunroof, huge boarding platform, plus dinghy garage

Fashions and trends in powerboats come and go. Where once the flybridge was ubiquitous on medium-sized pleasure boats, now Kiwis are flocking to sedan-style launches or sports cruisers. The Beneteau GT45 is a great example of the latter trend, a boat which combines open-style living and family boating practicality with a sense of luxury and European-style glamour.

The 45 is the largest of the GT (Gran Turismo) range, a beamy, comfortable and fast cruiser which offers plenty of ‘outdoor living’ space as well as a well-appointed cabin. Instead of the traditional open cockpit, it has a very large, hydraulically operated boarding platform, with a massive tender garage opening onto it, on top of which is a generous day-bed, under cover of the cockpit roof. Two steps up is the saloon level, which provides a sense of being outside yet undercover, then down below and forward are the galley and another seating area, and a pair of large cabins, one in the bow and the other below the raised saloon.


While sterndrives are also an option for this 14.8 m cruiser, today’s test model is powered by a pair of inboard Volvo D6-IPS 600 diesels, which are easily accessed through a large hatch. (There’s a 10kVh generator down here too, for running electrics like the air conditioning.) The pair of 440hp Volvos push the GT along at a cruising speed of around 21 knots, using around 85 litres an hour, and a top speed of around 26 knots.
The ‘Air Step’ hull has multiple chevroned steps in the forward section designed to help evacuate the water stream and reduce the amount of friction, combined with runners to the rear of the hull to increase stability, with the aim of improving speed while reducing energy consumption.
The IPS drives can be manipulated by joystick when manoeuvring, or twin throttles when powering along at speed. While the IPS offers plenty of control, this boat also has a bow thruster for extra accuracy when docking and parking.

Visibility is great from the comfy, elevated helm seat, and there’s room for two others to sit alongside the driver and enjoy the ride. There’s a 16-inch Garmin screen for navigation right in front of the wheel, with controls for the Lenco auto trim-tab system and the Garmin Shadow Drive autopilot handy too on the stylish dark-navy dash. Many of the boat’s electronic functions can also be controlled remotely by WiFi through the Beneteau Ship Control app.
The upper-level living area has an incredible sense of light and airiness due to the hinged window panel which, along with a fold-back door which completely opens up the back of the cabin. And then above the helm station, a simply enormous electric sunroof lets light and sunshine pour in from above, too. When the weather is not quite so cooperative, rather than having to fiddle with canvas and clears, with the window, door and roof closed the saloon can be completely enclosed but still enjoy great views all round through the large windows.
This area has a teak-look floor which adds to the ‘cockpit’ feel, and once the view has faded to black at night, a flat-screen 40-inch TV pops up out of the cabinetry.

For easy summer living, there’s an electric barbecue built into the top of the tender garage, and a wet bar with small fridge opposite the saloon table, so meals can be prepared and served at this level. There’s also the full galley down below at the base of the curved staircase, which boasts a full domestic-size fridge-freezer, two-burner induction cooktop with pop-up pot holders and an eye-level microwave-grill. Opposite the galley to starboard is another seating/dining area, although this part of the boat’s ample volume can also be ordered as a bunkroom if more berths are required.
In the bow is a double berth which can be split into a pair of singles, and plenty of hanging locker space. Adjacent to this cabin is a head and shower compartment. The spacious master cabin, aft under the raised saloon, has a central walkaround bed, its own ensuite head and shower compartment, and water-level views through large, tinted side windows.

But for all its curvy lines and glossy finishes, this is a boat you can imagine kicking back on with the kids. While we took the opportunity to shoot the boat in the idyllic surrounds of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, it will find its eventual home in Wellington, and a happy life as a family cruiser across the strait in the Marlborough Sounds and further afield. It’s got some great features which will make it practical for Kiwi cruising, from the large, open saloon to ‘recreation areas’ at bow and stern.

At the press of a button, the whole day-bed arrangement towards the stern lifts up to reveal the tender garage, which holds an AB7.5 tender which can be rolled out and launched off the boarding platform. This platform can be lowered to about half a metre below the water’s surface for easy launch and retrieval of the tender or a small jet-ski (for which there are attachment points on the boarding platform), and would also make a cool underwater ‘ledge’ for kids to swim off and play on.
While the double day-bed at the stern will no doubt be a popular lounging spot – it’s particularly cool to lie here looking aft when the boat is powering along at speed – the ample bow space is not wasted. It’s got a large padded area with a fold-up back and – get this – its own little bimini top that folds up so you can keep your head and book in the shade while enjoying the sunshine and views. Now that is smart thinking.

In the midst of Auckland’s furious spring, we got a picture-perfect day to head out to Rakino Island to try out the GT45’s cruising capabilities for ourselves. We quickly find it a very comfortable way to get around, with three of us sitting across the helm station seats enjoying great views as we power down the Rangitoto Channel. The ride is smooth and surprisingly quiet, considering the power we’re packing, and with the massive sunroof open it has a feel of being in the open air while actually being nicely protected from the elements. The helm is incredibly light and responsive when we throw in a few manoeuvres.

Anchored up at Woody Bay, which we have almost to ourselves – the advantage of mid-week boating – the GT really comes into its own. We can paddle on the boarding platform, lounge around on the bow, and enjoy lunch under cover yet in the open air in the saloon with the doors and sunroof open. It is quite a struggle to remind ourselves that we really do need to stop pretending we are on holiday and head back to the real world.
The GT has a very Mediterranean feel to it, with its swooshy styling and open entertaining areas just made for warm European nights, but it feels equally as at home at Rakino as on the French Riviera. Being able to close up the saloon while retaining great visibility – and running the air conditioning – means it will be practical for the sometimes windy and humid conditions New Zealand’s weather can throw at us. For slick style in a practical package just made for long summer days, the GT45 has got it all wrapped up.


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