BOAT REVIEW Gran Turismo 41

May 2022 Launch Reviews
Words by Norman Holtzhausen. Photography and video by Lissa Reydon & supplied.
OUR RATING
4 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Gran Turismo 41
DESIGNER Beneteau/Andreani Design
BUILDER Beneteau
PRICE AS TESTED $1,097,490
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 12.67M
LENGTH (Waterline) 11.5M
BEAM 3.87M
DRAFT 0.94M
DISPLACEMENT 7958kg
ENGINE 2 x Volvo Penta D4 300hp duoprop sterndrives
FUEL CAPACITY 650L
WATER CAPACITY 200L
Maximum Speed 33 knots
Cruise Speed 23 knots
ACCOMMODATION Two cabins
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Central driving position with mullion-free windscreen
  • Attractive social layout and extra-wide swim platform
OBSERVATIONS
  • Air-Step hull offers efficiency and stability at speed
  • Looks good and performs well

The Italian phrase Gran Turismo, meaning Grand Touring, has been used by the car industry to signify a vehicle that fits between a sports car and a luxury car. Beneteau yachts have adopted this phrase for their sports cruiser range of powerboats, and the new model Gran Turismo 41 perfectly fits the description.


Streamlined and sporty, this latest iteration is easy to handle, luxurious and spacious, with performance that should satisfy the most discerning owner. We had a chance to take the GT41 out for a spin, courtesy of 36 Degrees Brokers in Auckland, and she did not disappoint.
Visually the boat is stunning, with brilliant white gelcoat and graphite black trim. The right combination of practical curves with angular edges to the windows and trim makes sure she stands out from the crowd. This model is a coupé style, with a massive electrically-operated sunroof and with the saloon completely open to the rear. It is ideal for sunny days spent cruising around the islands, swimming or fishing from the expansive swim platform. A sun deck with lounger and bimini-style sun shade on the foredeck further adds to its sunny-day appeal.

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However, with that sunroof securely closed and a rear canopy zipped up to enclose the cockpit saloon seats, it can also deal with more inclement weather. Optional air conditioning either heats or cools the interior, allowing year-round use of the boat. The single full-width front window, combined with that wide-open rear, provided unparallel 360-degree visibility for the skipper and all the passengers.


Below decks there is a generous owners’ cabin forward, with a double berth mattress and panoramic windows either side, The guest cabin located amidships has two single berths; another double berth instead is optional. Similar panoramic windows provide a great view out, while between the cabins the galley sports a gas hob, stainless sink with mixer tap, and an 80-litre fridge. Opposite the galley is a saloon with four-person sofa and table, with the sofa converting into another bunk. A spacious head, with a shower separated by a translucent door, provides the necessary amenities. LED lighting and storage everywhere is discreetly hidden.


The engine compartment in the stern, accessible through the rear deck, houses twin Volvo D4-300 EVC-E diesels which power the sterndrives, each with contra-rotating duoprop propellers. Sparkling clean, the engine compartment affords easy access to every side of the engine when the second set of deck hatches is lifted up. A pair of 325-litre aluminium fuel tanks, one either side, plus a 200-litre roto-moulded plastic fresh water tank, occupy the rest of the space.
But the real glitz is up top in the main cabin and saloon area. The entire teak-covered swim platform aft can be electrically lowered into the water, which is perfect for younger swimmers or water sports enthusiasts getting in and out of the water. It also provides emergency access to the duoprops in case of rope entanglement or similar mishaps. At the same time, those props are positioned well away from any swimmers so this is definitely a family-friendly boat.


The self-bailing cockpit is accessed via a couple of wide steps, with a huge rear-facing sun lounger. This was my favourite place on the boat, lying there watching the Hauraki gulf streaming behind us with someone else at the helm. The headrest for the lounger swings up to form a seat backrest to the six-person saloon although it could arguably fit eight or more people around the table. A mini galley with sink, fridge and icemaker keeps refreshments close at hand.


Which leads to the superbly equipped helm station. A double pilot seat, plus an extra section, provides luxurious seating for three people. The dash layout is uncluttered and functional. A huge 12-inch Garmin display does duty as a chart plotter, fish finder and autopilot. Matching LCD displays either side provide the engine parameters, and some simple switches control the accessories. Keeping up with technology, an inlaid induction charger means that any smartphone placed on the dash will charge while it rests there.
Apart from the expected power steering and fly-by-wire throttle levers for the twin D4-300 motors, the boat also has the fantastic Joystick Docking System from Volvo. Twiddling the joystick steers the boat in any direction, including sideways and on its own axis. It hardly seems necessary, but a Sidepower bow thruster is also fitted to swing the bow around in strong wind or tide conditions. A VHF handset and Fusion stereo system complete the helm setup.


Enough looking, it was time to play. We fired up those 3.7-litre four-cylinder diesels, cast off the dock lines and eased our way out of the marina. Using the joystick made this, literally, child’s play. Anyone who has every worried about controlling an expensive boat in a marina full of equally-expensive boats should have one of these, since it takes all the guesswork out of the process. Push the joystick the way you want to go and those stern legs turn and engage to move the boat that way. Simplicity itself, and the Volvo drives are smooth and controlled, with the boat moving precisely as required.


The inner harbour speed restriction felt like a snail’s pace on a vessel of this size, but eventually we were able to open up. Some judicious trimming of the legs brought us level and humming along at 22 knots using around 66 litres of fuel per hour in total. That equates to about three litres of diesel per nautical mile, giving a working range of around 200 nautical miles at cruising speed, with a 10% reserve. Of course greater range can be achieved at slightly lower speeds, but 22 knots felt superbly comfortable.
A little further out we were able to push the throttles hard, and we soon reached 32 knots. This is a pretty impressive performance from a boat that is 12.67m long and just short of eight tonnes in light displacement.
And we had three adults and almost 650 litres of diesel on board.


Like a lady, the Gran Turismo 41 had so far managed to keep her big secret hidden under her skirts, in this case her Air Step hull. This patented Beneteau innovation introduces a flow of air between the wetted surface of the hull and the water, creating a cushion of air, as well as forming ‘runners’ to the rear of the hull. This reduces the amount of friction, producing claimed improvements in stability, safety and performance. Certainly we were impressed by the almost speedboat-like performance of such a big vessel. And the fuel consumption at both cruise and maximum speeds belie the size of the boat.


Handling-wise the hull was also an eye-opener. You don’t normally throw eight-tonne boats into tight turns, but she handled it calmy and smoothly. The passage out through the Waitemata Harbour was pretty choppy but she cut through everything smoothly without any crashing or banging. The effects of that air cushion could certainly be appreciated, and we deliberately circled through our own wake just to test it further. We are starting to see more of these stepped hull designs coming from Europe, and given the undeniable benefits, it is only a matter of time before they become more common in locally-designed boats as well.


Of course an open cabin is always going to allow some engine noise to intrude, especially when accelerating hard, but the sound of that controlled power from the twin diesels was a pleasure to listen to. It was never over-intrusive, and cellphone conversations in the cockpit were possible at cruising speed. The boat remained stable speeding through chop and when turning. Walking around the vessel was safe just about all the time.
After playing around a bit, we slowed down, took care of the photos and also tried the submersible swim platform. Everything on this boat is so easy to operate, which is why it makes a perfect syndicate vessel where owners might have less practical experience operating a boat than a typical sole owner. The review vessel is in fact owned by such a syndicate, but that ease of operation also makes it perfect for someone who doesn’t want something complex or difficult to handle. Less experienced family members can also feel confident driving the boat, even in busy waterways.


The Gran Turismo 41 undoubtedly lives up to its name, offering sportiness, superb handling and a high level of luxury. It does not compromise fuel efficiency to achieve this, which is an important consideration with rocketing fuel prices.

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