BOAT REVIEW Beneteau Monte Carlo 52

November 2020 Launch Reviews
Words by Sarah Ell. Photography and video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL Beneteau Monte Carlo 52
DESIGNER Amadeo Migali/Nuvolari Lenard/Pierangelo Andreani
BUILDER Beneteau Boats
CONSTRUCTION Solid GRP hull, cored topsides and decks
PRICE AS TESTED $2.25 Million
LOA 16.25M
ENGINE 2 x IPS650 450hp Volvo Penta D6, pod drives
Maximum Speed 28 knots
Cruise Speed 16-24 knots
  • Volume and space
  • Agility
  • Luxury interior
  • Flybridge is a great spot for parties
  • Pod drives and thrusters offer precision control
  • Views forever from the flybridge

The first impression of the new Monte Carlo 52 is that she’s big – high and wide, with lots of glass and masses of interior volume.
A trip out onto the Hauraki Gulf demonstrates that she’s big on luxury, too.

A lesser boatie would quail at the idea of backing a 16m luxury motor launch out of a very tight berth, but Conrad Gair of 36 Degrees Brokers doesn’t bat an eyelid.
The new Monte Carlo 52 – the top-of-the-line luxury sports yacht range from French manufacturer Beneteau – is a lot of boat to handle, but aided by bow thrusters, a rear-view camera and the IPS650 pod drives on the twin 450hp Volvo D6 diesels, Gair backs it out of the broker berth and into the Westhaven fairway like she’s the family SUV.


Everything about the Monte Carlo 52 is large and impressive, from the huge picture windows in the saloon to the entertaining flybridge deck to the massive master cabin. This is a boat which will make a statement wherever she goes.
The boat’s a blend of French-build and Italian design: the hull’s by Amedeo Migali, with exterior styling by luxury yacht designers Nuvolari Lenard and interior design by Pierangelo Andreani. The look is very European inside and out, with the exterior characterised by reflective glass and the curved ‘eyebrow’ above the saloon windows – and the interior a chic picture of pale-timbered elegance.

There are just enough nautical touches – teak floors in the bathrooms, opening portholes in the cabin windows and space-efficient storage solutions – to remind you that you’re on a boat, but overall the impression is a bit like being in a luxury hotel.
It’s hard not to stand and stare in the saloon space with its enormous, uninterrupted picture windows. There’s a generous U-shaped sofa to port around an extendable table, and a long settee to starboard, behind which the TV pops up out of the cabinetry.
Forward to starboard is the helm station, which not only offers great visibility from the double-width seat but also a wealth of data through two 16-inch Garmin touch-screens. The throttle and bow-thruster controls and IPS joysticks are all close at hand.

The saloon is stepped up from the cockpit-level galley, which runs the full width of the cabin and features a domestic-sized integrated fridge-freezer to port with an induction cooktop, convection microwave oven and sink to starboard. The galley opens directly to the cockpit, via tinted glass doors which fold right back to link the two spaces.
Heading down from the saloon, the stairway splits in two to lead you either forward to the two guest cabins, or aft to the gigantic master suite. The VIP cabin in the bow would be more than big enough for most people, as would the twin/double cabin to starboard (these two rooms share a head/shower, to port), but the master suite takes space to a new level.

The cabin runs right across the (considerable) width of the boat beneath the saloon, with full headroom right around the bed, and a step up into the head and shower room on the port side aft and a walk-in wardrobe on the starboard side. Large windows on both sides provide great views and plenty of light, and the seating area and desk to starboard add to the sense of that this is more like a hotel room than a boat cabin. This layout is a clever use of space, with the wardrobe and ‘bathroom’ creating a buffer zone between the cabin and the engines.

Heading back upstairs and outside, the cockpit, which is generous for the size of the boat and fully covered, with the flybridge level creating a roof. A curving staircase leads up to the flybridge to starboard, with an L-shaped sofa across the transom and around a large table, and the step down to the large boarding platform also to starboard.

It can be hydraulically lowered beneath the water to create a ‘teak beach’ for swimming and for launching and retrieving tenders and other water toys – it can take a jet ski weighing up to 350kg. There’s also a massive lazarette inside the transom, with more than enough space for storage.
The pair of Volvos diesels are accessed through a large hatch in the cockpit floor. Also down here is the genset. This Monte Carlo is also fitted with a Seakeeper gyroscopic stability system which spins away in the bowels of the boat.

It virtually eliminates side-to-side roll for a super-comfortable ride when travelling and at rest – great for those who find that ocean motion detracts from their cruising experience. It has a notable effect on the ride and makes sitting even up high on the flybridge a roll-free experience. (It’s not a cheap addition – installing one costs around $130,000.)

Speaking of upstairs, the model we are taking out today has a ‘T-top’ – a frame over the flybridge with a retractable roof, which can also be fully enclosed with clears or even glass. The standard model has an open flybridge, but the addition of this roof creates a fully sheltered seating and entertaining platform which acts as another whole ‘room’ on top of the boat.

From up here – nearly seven metres above the water – the visibility and views are nothing short of spectacular. There’s also a huge amount of room, from the sink and fridge unit at the rear of the platform through sofa-style seating to both port and starboard, around a foldout table, to the upper-level helm station (with swivelling chair) and the ‘jump seat’ forward to starboard. Sitting up here as the boat powers along is more akin to flying than boating.

Up here the helmsman has two slightly smaller (12-inch) screens and throttle and IPS controls, while there’s a third station to starboard in the cockpit with IPS joysticks only for fine manoeuvring and docking.
The Monte Carlo eats up the nautical miles, with an easy cruising speed of around 20 knots at around 3000rpm, burning some 115 litres per hour in total. Top speed is around 28 knots, which would see you getting to Kawau from Auckland in a little over an hour. The Zipwake automatic trim tabs and the gyro keep the ride incredibly stable – even when we cut across our own wake doing donuts around the camera boat. There is very little pitch or roll.

A boat like this is hard to miss when anchored up in the bay. It offers a top-of-the-line level of luxury, paired with plenty of power to get you where you need to go at pace, and IPS drives and bow thrusters to keep the boat easy to manoeuvre despite its considerable size.
The addition of the T-top literally takes things up a level, creating a huge exterior entertaining space, and the interiors continue the feeling of luxury and space. We might not be able to travel overseas right now, but cruising on the Monte Carlo 52 feels like your own hotel on the water.


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