The Beneteau Gran Turismo 49 is designed as an express cruiser that provides an open and airy layout with multiple gathering areas for family and friends, while maintaining a sleek and elegant profile with luxury appointments inside. She’s offered in either a two or three stateroom layout and is powered exclusively with Volvo Penta IPS600 drives for ease of docking and positive control in all conditions offshore.
Optional 2 Cabin + 2 Heads (with Separate Showers) or 3 Cabins + 2 Heads.
We always appreciate when a builder offers options, and here it’s mainly in the accommodations layout. With the third stateroom, we gain a twin berth stateroom but lose the lower seating area. But with two more dinettes on the main deck that’s little concern.
Volvo D6 IPS600 2 x 435-hp Diesels.
This of course provides joystick functionality for close-quarters handling. It also allows us to have a second “docking station” located aft in the cockpit which we found quite useful during our test.
13.5 kW Generator.
Without a doubt, the Gran Turismo 49 is a boat meant to be away from the dock and any tethers to shoreside power. For that reason, a generator is provided as standard equipment.
Max Power Bow Thruster.
Even with IPS, Beneteau knows and understands that sometimes even more precision -- or faster response -- is required (or wanted even if it is not "required") of a boat when coming into a close situation. A tight Mediterranean moor situation is a good example of this, as usually there is literally no more extra room on each side of the boat than the thickness of two fenders. For that reason, a bow thruster is optional so that the bow can be moved independent of the whole boat rotating, as would be the situation with the IPS joystick.
Optional Hydraulic Swim Platform.
It takes a lot to add this to a boat and that’s why we’re happy to see that Beneteau has gone to the trouble to add it to the options list -- and at a reasonable price.
Full Beam Master Stateroom.
While none of the staterooms are considered small or cramped, this is especially true of the master as it spans the full 14’ (4.27 m) beam.
When approaching the Gran Turismo 49 from the dock, it is apparent that her high freeboard and general hull design will provide a dry, comfortable ride for the crew, in most conditions. Even in the breezy/choppy conditions we encountered there was minimal overspray on the windshield, decking, and even in the cockpit which is well protected by the 49's superstructure.
the Gran Turismo 49 weighed 34,735 lbs. (15,788 kgs.), is 51'7" (15.72 m) LOA, with a beam of 14'0" (4.27 m). She was powered by twin Volvo Penta 435-hp IPS600s. Winds were 15-18 knots and seas 2' to 3'.
WOT and Best Cruise.
We found the Gran Turismo 49 to be remarkable in that her WOT speed and best cruising were the same -- i.e. WOT at 3400 rpm where she went 32.2 mph/28.0 knots, burning 38 gph for a range of 262 statute miles or 228 nautical miles.
Under normal mid range
cruising distances we would probably run the boat at 2500 rpm going 17.8 mph/15.4 knots and burning 22.5 gph. When on a long trip when time was not an object but enjoying the scenery was, we'd probably motor along at 1500 rpm going 10.3 mph/ 8.9 knots and burning just 5.8 gph. Also, if we were having the boat delivered, we would specify to the delivery crew to run at this speed.
Her time to plane
was just 6 seconds and time to 20 mph was 8.3 seconds. The bow rise was 8 to 9-degrees getting on plane.
We found that the Gran Turismo 49 was responsive to the helm controls at all times. The twin pod drives provided a fairly tight turning radius, with a minimal roll into the turns. The operator and the crew did not have to grab on to something as the big boat came about in a tight turn.
In Head Seas.
While handling the boat in 2’ to 3' choppy seas on test day, the hull easily cut through the waves in all points of sail. When powering into a head sea she provided a comfortable ride in spite of the fact that when her hull landed on a wave at speed a large dose of spray shot high into the air behind us. Upon re-entry, there was a bit of jarring at times, as one might expect when going at 25 knots into square ones. The boat easily maintained her heading and speed with plenty of horsepower to keep moving along on course with authority at all times.
In a following sea
she performed just as well when approaching from the backside of a wave, without getting out of shape in the stern. This was true not only at WOT speed but also at displacement speeds.
Docking the Gran Turismo 49
with the IPS joystick -- as everyone says -- is easy, but that doesn’t mean that it still does not take some experience to get the hang of it when Mediterranean mooring or getting into a tight slip with adverse current. One key to its operation is to be patient. In the IPS Joystick's normal "Docking" setting of 1100 rpm, it may take a little time for the boat to swing around and get lined up with the slip or mooring space. Operators need to be patient.
Slow and Steady.
But most boaters we know aren't particularly patient, especially when docking. Perhaps that is why Volvo Penta added a "High Speed" docking setting that has the engines running as fast as 1500 rpm. We recommend that setting only when fighting a strong side current, not to speed up the process for normal docking.
It is for that reason that Beneteau makes a bow thruster optional equipment. This allows the captain to use the joystick to get the major work done of twisting the boat in position, but then he can easily -- and quickly -- fine to the entry with a couple of nudges on the bow thruster stick. Our veteran captain used it when docking the Gran Turismo 49 without the slightest embarrassment. "Don't be too proud to use a bow thruster," he said later, "if you've got one."
reported that the boat provided the operator with excellent response to input, a high and dry ride, and an overall enjoyable experience.
Features Inspection by Function
With so much to offer in terms of amenities and well-thought out design schemes, the Gran Turismo 49 is certainly a feature-rich boat. Let’s take a look at some of what she has to offer by function.
At the bow, the sun lovers will be finding a home on the optional doublewide sun pad just ahead of the windshield. It includes an adjustable backrest for conversion to a chaise. There are two rails to the sides and drink holders. It measures 7’7” x 6’7” (2.3 m x 2 m).
Aft Deck and Swim Platform
The aft deck measures 9'3" (2.81 m) wide x 7'4" (2.24 m) fore-and-aft and features solid wood decking and an Alpi wood table that is on an electrically actuated lift that raises it to dining position, and lowers to sun pad level. A settee seats 6 and there's room for deck chairs for two to three more. An optional entertainment center with sink, grill and icemaker is forward and to port. In the deck is a hatch leading to the engine compartment for daily engine checks. Under the seats is storage that holds two life rafts.
The swim platform can either be fixed or hydraulically lowered to form a beach or accommodate a PWC. The tender garage is standard and is big enough to accommodate an 8' (2.4 m) RIB with the outboard attached.
Main Deck Salon
As one walks into the salon from the aft deck the head room is 6'4" (1.93 m). This living space features U-shaped seating on a raised platform to port. A table offers versatility in that it rises to dining height or lowers to cocktail table height at the push of a button. It also slides in and out to ease getting behind the table to sit. We could stand behind the table and then after sitting, slide it into dining position... very convenient. And naturally, it folds out as desired. I would like to see a locking feature added to the table, to prevent it from sliding back and forth while operating the boat in a seaway. To starboard is a credenza with storage cabinets below, and a retractable 36” (91 cm) optional flatscreen TV. Clearly luxury is the continuing theme, as Beneteau offers a choice of interior upholstery colors and materials. Choose from over 30 upholstery colors and materials.
While we can certainly cook on deck with the optional cockpit grill, more involved meals can be prepared at the formal galley down below. This galley is centrally located in the accommodations deck and it's well laid out, and allows for some innovations. Headroom is 6’6” (1.98 m).
Under the sink
are the trash bins (plural), which show Beneteau's thoughts on recycling. Just to the left is a clever storage area that consists of wire shelving to optimize the available space. When one is pulled out, another falls into place, in effect doubling the storage capacity. There is a full sized 270 L refrigerator/freezer behind wood paneled doors, and just next to the fridge is a narrow set of cabinets with pull out storage that recesses into the cabinet housing. This makes for a galley with as much storage as on much larger yachts we've tested. This galley was even fitted with an optional dishwasher, just under the silverware drawer.
Lower Deck Salon
Dinette or Third Stateroom.
The model we tested had the optional third stateroom, located across from the galley, with berths. There’s storage above and behind the cabinet doors, and just below to either side of the opening portlight window. Since there's seating on the helm deck and the aft cockpit, few would argue against the merits of losing this lower seating in favor of this twin berth stateroom. The space could also be turned into an office.Washer/Dryer. There's storage under the companionway stairs, and this space will accommodate a combo washer/dryer. This is also the location of the air conditioning pumps, which makes more sense than putting them under a berth where they'll keep everyone awake. The Finer Things. Another feature is that all interior décor is harmonious throughout the Gran Turismo 49. For example, the Alpi Walnut joinery compliments the Piedmont Oak laminated floors in the wheelhouse, galley and heads… while the owner's shower floor is covered in teak. There’s also a pleasing blend with the ivory-colored fitted carpet under the wheelhouse table, in the lower saloon (2 cabin layout) and in the cabins.
The mid stateroom is clearly the master. It's full beam with good headroom ranging from 5’3” (1.6 m) increasing to 7’1” (2.16 m). A lounger is to port with a wonderful view out the hull side windows and it's on an elevated platform 10" (2.4 cm) above the main deck. To the front and starboard side, the headroom drops and that's where we'd like to see a padded overhead as, yes, we did smack our noggin on it, but rest assured it only happens once. Considering the geometry of the deck above, and the fact that we’re not exactly going to be having a dance contest in this stateroom, we think it’s a fair tradeoff.
The master has an ensuite head with a very high overhead at 7'7" (2.3 m). There's a separate shower stall with a seat, and we like that Beneteau places the sinks to the top of the counter rather than recessed into the counters. It just provides more space for storage below and, of course, it is the latest style in yacht heads.
Forward VIP Stateroom
The forward stateroom has an island queen berth, with storage all around. There's natural light coming in from elongated hull side windows with opening portlights just behind. An overhead hatch adds to the natural light. Headroom is 6’5” (1.95 m). The berth measures 6’7” x 5’3” (2 m x 1.6 m). Carpeting comes standard in Ivory but Mocha can be selected. Two drawers provide storage under the berth.
On the starboard side there's private access to the head though the shower. We have never seen this done before -- but why not? It provides the only way to have both a separate shower stall and a private entrance for the VIP guests. Headroom is 6’6” (1.98 m). The VacuFlush toilet leads to a 40-gallon (151 L) holding tank. A second access allows this head to double as a day head. Interestingly enough, this head has more storage capacity than many staterooms we've seen. The acrylic shower doors in both heads are curved and attractive.
Accessing the side decks is a simple affair thanks to the grab handle at the aft end of the hardtop. Once on deck, a second grab handle runs along the hardtop, and by the time that rail ends, the side rails are at 30" (76.2 cm) high, which exceeds ABYC standards. There is a raised toe rail that does a good job of keeping feet in the center of the deck. At the working end of the bow, the deck slopes downward just a bit, while the rail stays level. This has the effect of increasing the rail height to 35" (89 cm) once we reach the ground tackle.
Fully forward there are two hatches that lead to the standard windlass, and there’s access to reach under the windlass to manage any tangles that may occur. A nice touch is that the foredeck is covered in solid wood.
The helm really has it all, and the ergonomics are spot-on perfect, with everything falling right to the hand in a natural position. Our captain reported…"It was almost as if Beneteau had me positioned in the mock-up and used my hands to place the wheel and controls." Beneteau has taken non-glare panels to another level with a leather and suede panel housing the electronics packages. We think the look is outstanding. The side windows are a blessing on a hot day, allowing air to flow across the cabin, but we'd also like to see the addition of opening forward vents at the bottom of the windshield to allow air to flow through better while underway.
The good news about the Gran Turismo 49 is that the captain can stand at the helm with the sun roof closed and not have to bend over to see out the forward windshield. The only downside was the hardtop had "eyebrows" that came down a little too much on the side windows for our taste. In addition, the forward window mullions were rather thick, something that surprised us as there is no flying bridge to support. The result produces blind spots that naturally causes some ducking and bobbing to ensure that a small boat isn't lurking in one of the blind spots. This is a complaint that we have about many hardtop express cruisers, and it seems to be one of the compromises of the breed. And of course, as with any hardtop, when making turns to port, the overhead came down into the line of sight.
Every boat is a compromise and the big one on the Gran Turismo 49 we tested was in the engine room -- a place where many owners rarely visit (but they should). The optional tender garage is directly above the two diesel engines and that is the rub. While it is easy to get to the outboard side of the starboard engine where there is adequate head room and width, it is not easy for a 6', 200-lb man (1.82 m, 90.9 kgs.) to get beyond that point to the other engine. Forward of the starboard engine is 2'9" (.83 m) of crawl space head room that is 13" (32.8 cm) wide.
Happily there is a solution to this obstacle. The floor in the garage is a fiberglass panel that comes out. By removing the tender and the floor of the garage, the tops of the engines can be reached and a dedicated person can get out board of the port engine. Another solution is not to choose this option.
And there are other solutions as well. One is to do away with the fiberglass garage structure altogether and put rails over the engine to hold the tender on a small cradle. Another solution is to abandon the concept of a tender garage altogether and mount the tender on the optional hydraulic swim platform. As noted above, this platform is reasonably priced and it is the solution we prefer. A Weaver device can always be mounted to a fixed platform to handle a tender, and this is the least expensive option of all.
The Gran Turismo line has been with us for a few years now and has made a well-established foothold both in Europe and in the U.S. The Gran Turismo 49 is a well thought-out design, and we’re happy to see that Beneteau's trademark cost-effective use of materials is ever present throughout this express cruiser. Make no mistake about it, the Gran Turismo 49 is a big boat. One need only walk along her hull sides at a floating dock to grasp the size of this yacht. Her freeboard runs from just under 7' (2.13 m) at the bow to 7'3" (2.20 m) amidships. This not only keeps her dry and seaworthy in sloppy conditions, but it also gives her the robust head room below that we reported on above. With a choice of interior layouts, we think that virtually any family -- or couple -- can find an appropriate configuration of their boating lifestyle.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 49 (2014-) is 32.2 mph (51.8 kph), burning 38.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 143.83 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 49 (2014-) is 32.2 mph (51.8 kph), and the boat gets 0.8 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.34 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 262 miles (421.65 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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