Clearly the new Monte Carlo 5 was inspired by the hatchet bows of several superyachts launched the last five years or so and the plumb bows and angular high-freeboard shapes of Wally yachts. But Beneteau has done them both one better in our opinion by burnished off the rough edges of those over-the-top, self-conscious designs and produced what could be a new trend in mid-size cruising powerboats. This three-stateroom, two-head cruiser with flying bridge is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS500s and has details and amenities intended to appeal to veteran boaters looking to move both up and down. We inspected her last week at her debut in Dusseldorf, Germany and came back with lots of pictures and some first impressions.
Top of the market materials
Galley unit on transom
Flybridge air conditioning
Third engine control in cockpit
Teak slatted cockpit and gallery floors
Innovative hull design
IPS 500 or 600 Pod drives
3 main cabins, 1 crew cabin
Spacious flybridge lounge
Beneteau MC5 (2013-) Specifications
49' 10'' 15.2 m
29,093 lbs. 13,200 kg
14' 1'' 4.29 m
3' 0.91 m
344 gal. 1300 L
174 gal. 660 L
6' 4'' 1.94 m
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Beneteau MC5 (2013-)Engine options
Currently no test numbers
2 x 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS500 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS600
Beneteau's new Monte Carlo 5 is aimed squarely at the sedan and flybridge express market with a design which is sure to garner attention -- and respect -- wherever it goes.
Mission of the Monte Carlo 5
Beneteau is setting out to capture the hearts and minds of boaters who want a yacht that looks modern, has high-style with an Italian flare, has three staterooms, and looks like more than a million dollars, but costs significantly less. The company has also chosen to appeal to the minority of boaters who know a well-executed boat when they see one.
The MC5 deck layout of the flying bridge. The table aft seats eight. The sun pad to port of the helm converts into two bench seats, looking fore and aft. In this way three sets of eyes can be looking forward to help the skipper with piloting.
The MC5 main deck layout. The side decks are about 13" (32.8 cm) wide and the safety rails lean out to create more room for easy passage fore and aft.
The MC5 accommodations layout with engine room. An optional washer/dryer goes under the companionway stairs. The crew cabin aft is optional. Headroom in the forward stateroom is 6'7" (2 m), 6'6" (1.98 m) in the guest cabin and 6'1" (1.85 m) in the master.
Beneteau calls its extremely narrow bow sections with high deadrise the "wave splitter." It was conceived to slice through waves in "all sea conditions." Its flare is pronounced to throw spray to the sides. Note the open bow pulpit for bow-in mooring in Europe.
This shot taken at the Dusseldorf, Germany fairgrounds in January shows the narrow stem, hard chines, and steep deadrise of MC5 hull.
The New Monte Carlo Line
The new line is a collaboration which draws on the nautical and industrial know-how of Groupe Beneteau and the styling expertise of Nuvolari & Lenard, who lend their unique talent to the exterior styling as well as the whole interior layout, in addition to the designer Pierangelo Andreani who also worked on the layout and interiors.
French Naval Architecture. The collaboration between the Italian stylists and the French naval architects Tanguy Le Bihan and Patrick Tableau gives the new Monte Carlo 5 her distinctive look and remarkable utility. This is one of the secrets of Beneteau's success in the powerboat field -- its ability to meld the exciting, Romantic visions of Italian visionaries with practical and experienced French naval architecture.
Form And Function. The designers have carefully gone over every square inch to the MC5 to make sure that function, utility and practicality have not been sacrificed on the alter of trendy style or simple bella figura (a beautiful display, often without substance.) Afterall, in the end, Beneteau's name and logo go on this boat and with this company, performance and practicality are paramount.
The lower helm is to starboard and has an adjustable double-wide seat. The window to the right opens allowing the skipper to look out the window when docking.
The instrument panel is clean and simple. The Volvo Penta engine diagnostic screen is to the left of the wheel, optional bow thruster control is to the right.
To port of the helm are storage bins that are ideal for charts, books, and large serving platters. Note the one-piece windscreen.
Construction and Materials
Building a motoryacht with the level of materials, equipment, hardware and amenities planned for the MC5 can most efficiently be done at a factory not a traditional yacht yard used to building only a dozen or so boats a year. A second secret of Beneteau's success is keeping pricing reasonable, and that can be best done in the company's French factories.
Modern Methods Pay Off. The builder has refined the art of production building, eliminating hundreds of man-hours in antiquated boat building practices and replacing them with smart engineering, robots and modern industrial systems. The hull and superstructure are built to Beneteau's scantlings and we are told that some proprietary systems from the Trieste Monte Carlo Yachts' yard will also be integrated into the MC5.
Wood Treatment. A good example of the mixing of these two cultures is the wood treatment being used aboard. Interior joinery is made of brushed oak, the standard galley deck is teak slatted, manufactured by Alpi the supplier used in nearly all of Beneteau's boats. The aft deck is "slatted" teak, which means a "teak-and-holly" type treatment that is in traditional yacht DNA. Head compartments have teak soles and stair treads are also teak.
Another example of Beneteau's attention to detail is the use of "Divine" fabric in upholstery and padded bed headboards of Majilite, with the top of furniture upholstered with "Stonegrey" leather. Every material has been carefully selected to play a role in creating an luxurious feel and look in the boat.
Looking forward at the MC5 salon and lower helm from the galley. Note the steps up to the salon and lower helm.
The U-shaped seating to port in the salon doubles as a dinette. The table opens out to serve six people.
Opposite the dinette is a sofa just behind the lower helm. Note the wide, high windows that maximize visibility for both skipper and guests.
The MC5 galley is aft by the three-part stainless steel and glass doors to the aft deck. To the left is a two-burner ceramic stove top with oven under. To the right is the stainless steel sink under the Corian countertop insert. The refrigerator and freezer are behind wood doors to starboard. Galley counter space is limited, but is helped somewhat by a counter on the starboard side that can be used in a pinch.
Fit-and-Finish. When we got on the boat at the Dusseldorf Boat Show we were surprised to find a level of fit-and-finish and attention to construction detail that is usually reserved for $2 million and up yachts. All joints were straight and tight. Fabric and leather stitching was flawless. Drawers, doors, windows and hatches were all solid, true and closed with the exactitude and tolerances usually reserved for the best-made Japanese products. This is the way we wish all yachts were built, but to pull it off requires remarkable engineering, management, and a sprit de corps on the shop floor that is hard to find anywhere these days.
A New Design Direction
By discarding the flowing lines and stylistic affectations of most contemporary Euro designs imprinted on express cruisers, sedans, motoryachts and even in some convertibles built these days all over the world, Beneteau might well be pointing the direction to a new look in boating. To our eye, that look is more like a traditional motorboat.
The round portlights are retro going back to motorboats popular in the 1920s. The large round portlight with opening inset port is in the master cabin.
Going Retro. Her freeboard is high which not only maximizes headroom below from 6'1" (1.85 m) to 6'6" (1.98 m), but also means she can easily handle larger waves without drenching the windshield at cruising speeds. Her deck line is horizontal and there is no swooping sheer sweeping down to the swim platform. No, the MC5 is more like your grandfather's motorboat or commuter. Her round portlights and deck rails at proper height only add to the retro look.
Perhaps most importantly, her window treatment is sensible and unaffected by styling flourishes such as two rows of windows with a swirl of fiberglass in between. (On these boats, when inside, we never know whether to look under or over. The MC5 is nearly solid glass from deck to overhead.) Her windshield is one huge piece of glass with no mullion on the centerline. (And the helmsman can stand at the wheel and see out without having to open a sunroof.) Visibility is the watchword for both the skipper at the lower helm and for guests looking out.
Most of our pictures of the flying bridge have a blue cast thanks to the blue "mood" lighting installed over the boat at the Dusseldorf boat show. At the left the sun pad is raised in chaise lounge fashion and is supported by strong stainless steel hardware unseen here. Note the single-piece windshield.
Again the boat show lights give the white flying bridge upholstery a blue cast. The helm seat is adjustable and is comfortable. A stainless steel frame supports the plexy wind deflector.
To port on the flybridge is a double sun pad that can convert into seating.
Note that the center section of the sun pad at right can be removed allowing two people to sit facing forward and help the skipper with piloting.
The large hardwood table aft on the flying bridge is supported by two strong stainless steel pedestals and can seat eight people for cocktails or al fresco dining. The cabinet at left is for storage.
The stairway up from the aft deck to the flying bridge has teak treads and a plexy hatch. Note the safety railing at left which all boats should have.
Not Completely Swept Away. Of course, Beneteau has not tossed modern styling completely to the wind. The lines of her coach roof are like those of the big Monte Carlo Yachts. The bulwarks of the flying bridge are low, Italian-style, although the dark plexy wind deflector is a bit higher than normal on this size boat and it is made more substantial with a stainless steel frame.
There are other vestiges of contemporary Euro styling, too: the windshield is swept back at a low angle. The deck of the flying bridge sweeps aft like many other boats we're used to seeing, but the saving grace here is that it extends out to the transom which means the aft deck can be buttoned up with polycarbonate windows should an owner want three-season boating.
A view looking forward in the full-beam master stateroom. The large portlights fill the cabin with light as can be seen here, as well as giving the lucky owners (or charter guests) a great view outside just above the waterline.
The Miracle Below
The MC5 has three staterooms below, plus optional crew quarters in the stern, 6'1" (1.85 m) headroom in the master, and 6'4" (1.94 m) headroom in the forward stateroom -- all of which is rare in a 43'6" (13.26 m) hull with only a 14'1" (4.29 m) beam. Now we can see how all of those interior designers earned their fees. How did the they do it? Five things made it possible--
1. IPS. The MC5 comes standard with twin Volvo Penta IPS500 370-hp systems. The pods allow the engines to be moved aft which opened up 60% of the hull space for accommodations. By using jack shafts Beneteau was able to place the engines forward of the crew quarters in the stern and connect the engines to the pods just forward of the transom, under the crew bunk.
The master has bench seating both to port and starboard under the huge, round portlights. Most of the portlights and windows on the boat have Roman shades.
The head for the master has a separate shower stall with seat. The bowl sink leaves lots of space under the counter for storage.
2. Nearly Vertical Hull Sides. Most cruisers in this size range have a large discrepancy between the beam on deck and the beam at the waterline. Sometimes it is as much as 2' (.60 m). Such a design reduces the boat's weight and also the frontal area presented to the water, both of which make the boat easier to push. But that kind of design robs floor space from the accommodations. By have nearly vertical hull sides the MC5 has as much waterline beam as some boats with a 16' beam on deck.
The VIP stateroom forward in the bow is illuminated by four round portlights and a deck hatch in the overhead. Note the Roman shades. The double berth is (6'5" 1.95 m) long and 4'11" (1.5 m) wide.
3. Beam Carried Forward and Aft. The MC5's beam on deck is carried almost completely aft and far forward. While the forward sections are narrow (Beneteau calls its bow shape the "wave splitter") at deck height they are wide which enables the boat to have bunks in the guest stateroom which are from 24" (.62 m) to 30" (.77 m) wide. Those are both decent widths in most European three-cabin boats under 55' (16.76 m).
The guest cabin to starboard has 6'6" (1.98 m) headroom. The upper bunk 6'6" x 30" and the lower is 6'6" x 24". (1.98 x .77 m and 1.98 x .62 m) These boats have good width given this size boat.
The designers have thoughtfully provided both guests with their own opening portlights. This is unusual and makes each berth more comfortable. Note the AC vent just above the pillows.
4. Bottom Shape. While the MC5 has a sharp forefoot, once above the waterline the hull is pushed out dramatically by a wide hard chine which maximizes living space in the forward cabin. The hull bottom warps from a remarkably high angle at the stem to low deadrise angle about a third of the way back from the bow. This provides a lot of lift and makes the boat go faster than she would otherwise. It also means that the cabin sole of the master can be carried far outboard. By strategically placing the stringers under the double bed in the master the designers have been able to allow a step-down at the foot of the bed which becomes the controlling 6'1" (1.85 m) of headroom in the master.
Another view of the master stateroom shows how the overhead rises higher over the aisles on either side of the bed to give 6'1" (1.85 m) headroom all around the bed.
5. Careful Placement of Salon Seating. On the aisles beside the bed the overhead again has 6'1" (1.85 m) headroom even though the sole is higher because of being under the dinette seating and sofa in the salon. The salon sole is the lower area over the bed where headroom is not needed. By having two step-ups in the main deck above, one from the galley to the dinette and sofa level, and another step-up to the lower helm, the designers were able to get the headroom below required for the master stateroom in a proper yacht.
A compartment in the transom can be used for line and gear storage or the optional grill, sink and food prep area can be added as shown in the image above. With the huge swim platform this becomes a handy BBQ for entertaining when at anchor and handy to the table on the aft deck. It is also a clever use of space on the swim platform which would otherwise not be used at night.
Where Does MC5 Fit In?
One of the challenges with introducing a design as radically different as the MC5 is finding her niche in the pantheon of boat types. But the function of those traditional types has become blurred over the last five years or so because boat owners no longer feel constrained to use their boats for specific purposes intended by the builder. For example, convertibles are used now more for cruising than sportfishing, big express cruisers with accommodations below are used as day boats, and motoryachts are used for long-range traveling instead of just being a gin palace in the ICW.
Rated for Offshore Work. She carries a EC "B" rating for 14 people, which means the boat is designed for use with up to 14 people aboard offshore in conditions up to, and including, wind force 8. That is a "fresh gale" with winds to 40 knots and seas running 18 to 25 feet (5.5 m to 7.6 m). This rating places the MC5 in some very good company and essentially means that she can be used in most any condition short of a hurricane.
Entertaining/Day Boating. That aside we can see the MC5 being used as a day boat for entertaining. Indeed, her aft deck with table that seats six and her large dinette table on the flying bridge for eight present ample venues for cocktail parties and dinners. Her twin sun pads forward with chaise lounge-type back rests and the sun pad on the flying bridge adjacent to the helm provide designated areas for sun worshipers. And then there is the salon with its U-shaped seating and sofa to starboard -- and electrically actuated flat screen TV.
With the galley situated between the salon and the aft deck, delivering lunch or snacks is handy either to the dinette forward or the table on the aft deck.
Entertain spaces abound on a boat that otherwise looks like she means more serious cruising business.
Coastal Cruising. With three staterooms and two heads the MC5 can comfortably accommodate six people for cruising. The optional crew cabin in the stern means that a captain, mate, cook or nanny can be brought along to make the adventure even more genteel. On the flying bridge the center panel of the sun pad comes up allowing two guests to join the skipper and face forward. Below, the helm seat is double-wide so that two sets of eyes can be on watch.
Long Range Cruising. While the MC5 is not billed as a long range cruiser, and Beneteau actually has the Swift line expressly designed for that purpose, the fact is that with her "wave splitting" bow and her relatively flat sections aft she provides comfort and stability. We think she would make a fine extended cruising boat, limited only by her quite modest 344 gal. (1,300 L) fuel capacity.
Nevertheless at moderate cruising speeds in the 16-knot range she should be able to run for over 13 hours covering more than 215 nautical miles. That will get most people we know between fueling marinas on the way up to Alaska or around the Med. Remember, fuel-efficiency at moderate cruising speeds is the long suit of the IPS drive.
While she is primarily intended for traveling between marinas, a tender can easily be fitted on her large swim platform. An optional swim platform hydraulically lowers into the water.
Great Versatility. What all of this means is the MC5 has great versatility and can be used like a conventional sedan, a Downeast picnic boat, a coastal trawler, a motoryacht, or with her large swim platform, a staging platform for scuba diving. She can be used for entertaining family, friends and clients, or for accommodating six people on short or long cruises.
The bow has a good-sized work area for anchoring and an open bow pulpit for bow-in mooring. We'd place a big cleat forward of the windlass for the anchor rode.
We like the large, deep anchor locker. Note that the bottom of the locker is a conical design which helps keep the chain from tumbling around and becoming tangled. This is one of the best-designed chain anchor storage lockers we have ever seen.
The aft deck: bench seat to the right, stairs the flying bridge in the background and a hatch to the engine room in the middle. A table is optional. Note the stainless steel tracks for the sliders to the left and the wooden grate to take rain water away and keep it out of the galley.
The stairs to the flying bridge are hinged and have storage below them.
The bench seat aft is as comfortable as it looks and will undoubtedly be a popular place on the boat.
To port of the aft bench seat is access to the optional crews quarters. This can also be used for other purposes.
For a Discerning Boaters Only
We happen to think that with the MC5 what is important is not what function she might be used for, but rather what type of boater the owner is. We doubt that she will appeal to the gang down at the marina who only feel confident if their boat looks like what everyone else has. And she certainly won't appeal to boaters who like the looks of a mega-sportboat with flying bridge. She is in no way a "plastic fantastic," and people who don't know the difference probably won't buy her.
Rather, we think, the MC5 will catch the fancy of people who are secure in their boating experience and have over the years developed a sophisticated nautical eye. These are the boaters who will appreciate the retro aspects of the boat's styling and will understand the benefits of a hull with a high freeboard, horizontal side decks, high deck rails, and superstructure that is simple with a minimum of design clutter.
These people will appreciate her modern interior with woods, upholstery and bulkhead coverings in light, harmonious, tasteful tones that are understated. Boaters who wanted to get away from fiberglass interiors, but were afraid they couldn't afford it will be pleased to see the luxurious décor materials and interior joinery of the MC5.
The MC5 is the first of a new line of boats from Beneteau. Her price is about $850,000 with IPS500 drives.
We're told by the folks at Beneteau that the MC5 will retail in the U.S. for about $850,000, powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS500 370-hp engines and with most of the equipment seen in the pictures in this report.
Given the IPS propulsion with joystick, the quantity of joinery work and its fit-and-finish, the quality and taste levels of the fabrics, upholstery and leathers used, the copious use of polished stainless steel all over the boat, the three staterooms below, and the flying bridge -- the MC5 seems to us to be a lot of boat for the money. In fact we can think of many express cruisers, sedans, Downeast cruisers, trawlers, and other types of boats that don't offer as much utility and cost more.
The MC5 was introduced on January 19th and we have only seen her at the Dusseldorf boat show. We have not yet tested her or spent a day in her offshore to get a feel for how she handles in a seaway or performs with her unusual hull shape. All of that will come later. In the meantime, we would say that she is a boat one should keep an eye on, because she may well be a harbinger of things to come.
Beneteau MC5 (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
Boats More Than 30 Feet
= Standard = Optional
Beneteau MC5 (2013-) Warranty
Beneteau MC5 (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Beneteau MC5 (2013-) Price
Beneteau MC5 (2013-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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