Contents of Report
Replacing the Gran Turismo 44, where the aft cockpit was dominated by bench booth seating and a sun pad, the Gran Turismo 46 opens up this area to a striking degree. The result is less encumbered movement more suited to entertaining in the evening or watersports activities during the day -- all while still providing ample seating. By means of two large glass doors swinging to port and starboard, the Gran Turismo 46 can be fully open to the cockpit, creating one large, single-level space, or be closed creating an inside salon and outside cockpit.
Now to be clear, all of the Gran Turismo lineup with stepped hulls, which includes all but the 49, are powered with outdrives. In conjunction with Volvo Penta, Beneteau developed a prototype stepped hull to be certified for IPS installation. Once it was developed, the Beneteau engineers went a step further and optimized it for both IPS and sterndrive installations. The Gran Turismo 46 that we are now on, is the result of that collaboration and is therefore, the first stepped hull boat that is IPS powered. Anywhere. This means that now, Beneteau can meet the demands of European customers with sterndrive power, and North American customer demands for IPS power, all with the same boat.
Standard power in the Gran Turismo 46 is the Volvo Penta sterndrive D6 370-hp propulsion system, with a joystick, providing easy maneuvering and docking evolutions. The Air Step 2 hull design allows three times more air beneath the underwater portion of the hull, according to the builder. This design allows the Gran Turismo 46 to approach a cruising speed up to 35 knots, the company says.
Air Step 2 Hull Design Technology. Air Step 2 technology is the incorporation of a hydrodynamic forward and aft hull design that allows the Gran Turismo 46 to operate at planing speeds on a "cushion" of air. Air is sucked under the boat from vents on the chines and forward and exits at the transom. By reducing water adhesion to the hull and reducing friction the boat becomes easier to push. What results is reduced fuel consumption, increased maximum speed, and more nimble handling at planning speeds.
Optional Two Cabin with Two Heads (with Separate Showers) or Three Cabins with Two Heads. It is always appreciated when a builder offers options, and in the Gran Turismo 46, they are provided in the accommodations layout. With the third Pullman stateroom, the owner gains the added sleeping quarters, but loses the lower seating area, which to many, may seem of little consequence in exchange for crew quarters or an added berth for additional guests for weekend outings or cruising.
Optional Twin Volvo Penta D6 IPS600 435-hp Diesels. While the joystick and IPS drives provide ease and confidence for close-quarters handling to even the most novice of operators, the 870 horses provide an exceptional power to displacement ratio for this 23,000 lb. (10,433 kg) sport yacht. Beneteau tells us that this is the first time it has ever combined its Air Step hull design with IPS pods, so in this configuration it should theoretically pick up efficiencies from both of these technological advances.
Pods or Sterndrives. It is not often that consumers have the choice of either sterndrive or pod drive propulsion systems, but buyers of the Gran Turismo 46 have this option. Both systems have their advantages. The sterndrive option comes with Volo Penta D6 diesels rated at 370-hp – 65-hp per engine less than in the IPS version.
Full-Beam Master Stateroom. Both the fore and aft staterooms in the three cabin configuration provide the equivalent of queen-sized beds. The aft owner's stateroom, with its en suite head, is located at the most comfortable position near the yacht's center of gravity, and spans the full 14’ (4.27 m) of the Gran Turismo 46's beam.
In the three cabin configuration, the forward head is shared. In both configurations, the forward head doubles as the day head.
Optional Hydraulic Swim Platform. Whether utilizing the platform for a small tender, or simply for its namesake's use, departing the Gran Turismo 46 at anchor either way is ergonomic and functional. The 14' x 4' (4.27 m x 1.22 m) platform has electric/hydraulic lowering capability, allowing the yacht's operator ease and flexibility in tender launch and retrieval, as well as convenient and safe access for swimmers into and out of the water. This is an expensive but important piece of optional equipment. It solves the problem of where to store the tender as well as to provide a “teak beach” that family and friends will love when it is partially submerged.
Retractable Sunroof. The electrically operated sunroof allows air to flow freely through the cockpit of the Gran Turismo 46 while both at anchor and underway. As an added measure of safe operation, one will find that during high-speed turns, general maneuvering and docking evolutions, it is often beneficial to have the roof retracted for added visibility.
Aft Salon Doors. Perhaps the most innovative feature of the boat is her port and starboard two-part swinging doors with pivoting outboard, inside seats. We have never seen anything quite like it, and the design serves two important purposes:
1) The design allows the aft end of the coupe to be completely open from one side of the cabin to the other. This maximizes space for guests to walk around and to move in and out of the salon. This is particularly useful during cocktail parties and on a hot summer day at anchor when bathing suits and lots of swimming and watersports are the order of the day.
2) When there is a chill in the air, or during a mid-summer shower, the salon can be “buttoned up” by swinging the glass doors closed. In the process the settees in the aft end of the salon pivot inward, creating a “rounded” salon door effect – something we usually only see on large, very expensive motoryachts. And while the Gran Turismo 46 employs four glass panels instead of two rounded tempered-glass sliding doors ensconced in a stainless steel frame, the effect is still very much the same. It simply looks elegant, in addition to providing weather protection and added room.
As we leave the dock we’re immediately impressed with the maneuverability. The combination of pods and a bow thruster is a good one, but we’ve found that even more so when docking and the position of the bow needs to be tweaked just a bit. Here, the joystick seemed to work just fine and we were soon on our way.
The Gran Turismo 46 has a LOA of 48’6” (14.78 m), a beam of 13’9” (4.19 m), and a draft of 3’9” (1.14 m). With an empty weight of 23,208 lbs. (10,527 kg), 67% fuel and 2 people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of just over 25,000 lbs. (25,012 lbs. / 11,345 kg). With the twin 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600s turning 3600 rpm, we reached our top speed of 32.3 knots. Our best economic cruise came in at 2500 rpm and 17.5 knots. It was at that speed that the 20 gph fuel burn translated into a range of 187.2 nm while still holding back a 10% reserve of fuel. We reached planing speed in 4.3 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 7.1 seconds, and 30 mph in 13.7 seconds.
The Gran Turismo 46 is a superb handling boat. She has a large turning radius characteristic of an IPS boat and responds smartly to the helm inputs. During our maneuvering tests, she rolls a comfortable 9-degrees into the turns and when crossing the wake of our camera boat, she showed the clean transition with no pounding that we’ve come to appreciate, and indeed expect, from the air step 2 hull design. Calm test conditions prevented us from getting much more. When taking power off she settled into the water at a fairly level attitude and accelerates with minimal bowrise with no loss of forward visibility.
Docking the Gran Turismo 46 is actually a breeze… we started easy, with a side to docking and she responds so well to the stick that it was a non issue. We were able to lay her up alongside and hold her there so we could tie her up with ease. With that done, we wanted to up the ante a bit and back her into a narrow slip, so into the marina we went. As expected it was another non event taking a minimum of skill to maneuver her back into the slip with exacting precision.
Features Inspection by Function
The Beneteau Gran Turismo 46 offers a wide variety of features for a sport yacht of her class. While engineered for performance, she possesses the amenities and comforts buyers have come to demand in a boat of this caliber, size and design.
Swim Platform and Cockpit
Tied stern to, passengers conveniently access the yacht from the swim platform, where the enclosed grill and sink are located, well-positioned on the cockpit transom, with convenient access from the swim platform. This positioning has several advantages, the most obvious of which is simply to pick up usable space.
Relaxing Seats. Proceeding up two steps from the swim platform, either to port or starboard, one immediately notices the large side by side, electric reclining seats, with easy access lighted controls. These seats are unusual on any size boat, much less a sporty express cruiser such as this one. The seats each recline, much like a household “Lazy-Boy”. This attribute makes it ideal for taking the sun, or just relaxing with a good book (or bottle of wine), and enjoying the ocean air in a seat far more comfortable than most chaise lounges we see. Turning toward the cockpit interior, the sliding glass doors allow the option for opening up the entire space for entertaining or the ability to cruise in any weather condition.
Proceeding along the gunwale forward, we note that the stainless steel hand rails are fashioned outward so as to make passage easier. Their height meet CE and ABYC requirements. The picture below shows the dual chaise lounge cushions for enjoying the afternoon at anchor. The anchor itself rests on a metal fixture with roller that extends beyond the fiberglass stem.
Salon and Helm
Salon. Returning to the cockpit and entering the salon, one cannot help but notice its attractive, ergonomic layout. The contrast of color features offered by Beneteau are warm and inviting. It was designed to make life onboard as convenient as possible for a variety of uses. The innovative aft closure is positioned as far back as possible to create optimum interior space. The aft doors seem to almost disappear completely when opened. The L-shaped settee wraps around a table that can be lowered for cocktails and which has fold up leafs for dinner. Most important, the table can be removed altogether to completely open up the space if desired.
With the doors retracted the salon space opens up completely, offering ample room to move freely. This allows for entertaining as many as twelve guests onboard at the dock or at anchor. When closed, the space is climate-controlled by an independent 15,000 BTU air conditioning/heating system dedicated solely to this space.
The helm station controls are well positioned for cruising operation as well as ease of access for maneuvering and docking. The joystick control and throttles are both positioned to the right side of the console. There is a separate helm seat aboard from the double-wide companion seat.
Lower Deck, Galley and Cabins
As earlier mentioned, the Gran Turismo 46 comes in both two and three stateroom configurations. The two cabin configuration allows for a settee to starboard across from the galley. In the three cabin configuration, this space is replaced by the dual Pullman berth which shares the forward head with the VIP stateroom.
The cabin materials consist of Alpi wood matt Walnut with a Brown Oak laminated deck. The galley provides a double stainless steel sink with mixer tap, a two burner Kenyon ceramic cooktop, Corian countertops, a refrigerator and freezer, and four storage cupboards. With leather covered handrails in all of the appropriate positions, cooking underway is feasible.
The owner's suite is located abaft the galley, and offers the room of the full beam of the boat at its widest point, just under 14’ (4.27 m), providing a residence space of over 150 sq. ft. (14 sq. m), with a headroom of 6'4" (1.93 m) at the foot of the bed. With its private en suite head, three storage lockers, one hanging locker and a seating area, the stateroom provides room and comfortable amenities.
The forward VIP cabin has the conventional island berth – with the unconventional ability to split it in two, and swing the two single berths outboard. This gives the cabin much more utility, something we like. The overhead hatch and side windows, with opening port holes for ventilation, provide natural light. There are two relatively large hanging lockers. Both heads have Quiet Flush electric toilets and showers separated by a translucent door. They contain storage cupboards (two in the VIP head, three in the owner's), opening portholes and two 110 volt electrical outlets. Teak slatted decks are standard in each head.
The Gran Turismo 46 has a 24,000 BTU air conditioning/heating system for the areas below decks. There is an 11 gallon (42 L) water heater, which works off either the engine heat exchangers or 110 volt AC.
We are truly impressed with the creative thinking that has gone into the new Beneteau Gran Turismo 46. The market for boats in this size and price range is, unfortunately, relatively small, even world-wide -- so it behooves Beneteau to build a boat that can serve as many owners’ needs as possible. We think that they have certainly done that with the new Gran Turismo 46. We look forward to testing her in the near future.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 46 (2017-) is 37.2 mph (59.9 kph), burning 44.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 166.54 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 46 (2017-) is 20.1 mph (32.3 kph), and the boat gets 1.0 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.43 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 215 miles (346.01 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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