Mission of the Beneteau Gran Turismo 35
Unfortunately, most boats devote premium space to overnight accommodations that are seldom used, in part because builders know that buyers’ daydreams of extended getaways sell boats. Realizing that many boat buyers have come to terms with their weekday free-time challenges, Beneteau created the Gran Turismo 35. She is the latest and, to date, the smallest in a line of boats that maximize features that benefit day trips and evening entertaining -- both on deck and below. The mid cabin is more of a extra "benefit" that can be used for an afternoon nap, as well as for a weekend cruise.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Gran Turismo 35 is her profile which at first glance looks like a European express cruiser. A second look, however, reveals that she really is not a coupe or hardtop, but rather a completely open boat with high, styled fiberglass side window frames that create the illusion of a far larger boat.These side window frames flow into the standard fiberglass radar arch which is also the anchor for the optional Bimini tops that extend fore and aft.Part and parcel of this design is a remarkably low windshield for this or any size boat. It is more a wind deflector and it adds to the "openness" of the cockpit.
What Category is She?
Is she an express cruiser, sport cuddy, hybrid, crossover, or…? The answer is that today boating designers are catching up with how people use their boats. Traditional stereotypes and category names are out, and functionality for specific purposes is in. We think the Gran Turismo 35 is all of the above -- or, none of the above -- depending on an owner's intended use. No matter what she's called, however, she is a boat designed primarily for day activities and entertaining family and friends.
Day trips start and end at the helm. A bench seat here comfortably seats two. The dash includes a full array of engine instruments plus space for navigation electronics, including the optional Simrad 12’’ multifunction display that handles charting, radar, and depth, as well as a Simrad VHF radio and autopilot. The Sonic HUB sound system, also controlled through the Simrad touchscreen at the helm, connects to an iPod or any other MP3 device. Both a bow thruster and trim tabs are optional, but both come down to cruising area demands and personal preference on a 35-foot stern drive boat. Joystick control is an available option.
Extended Bimini Top.
Two optional folding Bimini tops extend both forward and aft from the arch, creating a huge, protected outdoor living space. LED lights in the fiberglass arch can illuminate activities past sunset.
Cockpit Dinette and Lounge
Beneath that top, the cockpit dinette provides plenty of space for dining, or the table folds in half lengthwise and drops to become a cocktail table. With the table lowered farther and a filler cushion inserted, the dinette becomes a large sun pad, either shaded or not, depending on whether the aft Bimini is deployed.
Across the cockpit on the starboard side, a bench seat with backrest is also a full-length chaise-style lounge with the forward part of the lounge fixed in a partly reclined position We’d like to see this backrest become adjustable for a more comfortable riding position when underway. Storage beneath is intended for a life raft (per CE regulations), though inland boaters can fit fenders and dock lines here, and even a carry-on cooler.
On the port side, across from the helm, a cockpit galley includes an exceedingly deep icebox, a sink and glassware storage below. This insulated cooler can hold 60 beverages, plus sandwiches for 10 and we find it preferable to an electric refrigerator, which by their very nature have small capacity.
Outdoor Living Extends Aft to the Water’s Edge
A particularly large stern platform extends beyond the cockpit and adds many square feet of open deck. A tall fiberglass gate between the cockpit and stern platform latches securely closed for safety, or it latches open, out of the way when it isn’t needed.
A "Rumble Galley’’.
One optional feature converts an otherwise ordinary transom into a stern cooking island, complete with large sink, electric grill, and food-prep counter ($6,490). We’d like to see Beneteau add a micro switch to automatically cut off power to the grill when the lid is closed. A stainless steel handrail provides a secure handhold across most of the stern platform, and teak decks are standard here, providing excellent traction even when wet. A set of steps lead up to the starboard gunwale for boarding high fixed docks, and a wide space with nonskid decks, both port and starboard, provide easy boarding from floating docks. A swim ladder stowed beneath the teak deck and a hot and cold freshwater shower are standard. A locker within the port side of the stern platform drains overboard, so it’s perfect for a stern anchor, snorkel gear, wet bathing suits or watersports equipment.
Outdoor Living Extends Forward to the Bow
Fiberglass steps located between the helm and companionway door lead up through an opening windscreen to the bow with a stainless steel handrail to aid passage.
Rigid folding backrests hidden beneath bow cushions turn the large, flat sun pads into chaise lounges. The windshield walkthrough direct from the cockpit to the bow eliminates the need for side decks which rob interior space from the cockpit. Some people prefer this arrangement because they feel more secure going forward through the middle of the boat rather than on one edge. The standard anchor, swiveling bow anchor roller and windlass with handheld remote control are all well-placed on the bow.
Most boat cabins focus on overnight accommodations, limiting practical use by day. Beneteau’s Gran Turismo 35 takes the opposite approach, building a cabin with entertaining in mind and then adding comfortable overnight accommodations as a secondary function.
Forward Dinette Instead of V-Berth
Where most boats in this size range place a V-berth double bed, Beneteau instead designed a dinette that comfortably seats six. Plenty of light through hull-side deadlights and air through two hull-side opening ports and an overhead hatch, make the cabin inviting when inclement weather or dusk-time flying critters necessitate a retreat below. When there isn’t a breeze, the optional 16,000 BTU air conditioner and generator cool the cabin, although with no generator option this will require shore power. The table drops to form a double bed for the odd time that it’s needed.
A minimalist galley includes a stainless steel sink, refrigerator and electric two-burner ceramic cooktop. Counter space and storage are adequate, considering most day boaters bring pre-prepared food aboard or plan to use the above deck galley or the grill at the stern.
The head provides the basics -- a marine toilet, sink and a bit of storage. Cruisers might wish for a separate stall shower, as this boat includes only a pull-around curtain and lift-out sink faucet/shower wand. But keeping with the day boat concept, Beneteau rightly chose not to waste space for a shower that is seldom used, if ever.
Aft Sleeping Cabin
A couple cruising alone might not want to drop the dining table to make their bed each night, so a double bed tucked aft, beneath the helm area, provides ample overnight accommodations. One benefit is the bed here is rectangular, not triangular like a bow V-berth. Two opening portlights bring in light, a view of the surroundings, and fresh air.
While the tradeoff here is a low overhead above the bed, the Gran Turismo 35 does provide standing headroom alongside the bed, and sitting headroom on the edge of the bed.
Propulsion and Performance
Volvo Penta 300-hp Sterndrives.
Beneteau offers just one gas propulsion package for the boat, a pair of Volvo Penta V8 5.7 300-hp gas sterndrives. Counter-rotating propellers on each drive help sterndrives maximize speed and fuel economy. Sterndrives also add the ability to trim the bow up or down for better control and comfort when the sea kicks up, and tilting drives help when running in shallow water.
Trim tabs are optional, but with trimmable drives, adding trim tabs benefits both rough-water operation as well as accommodating an uneven distribution of weight.
Utility of the optional bow thruster ($5,290) depends on the boating area — surely a huge benefit where wind and current might run or where narrow slips are common, but a thruster is far from imperative in a current-free lake with predominantly side-to docking.
To be sure, the Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick ($11,000) will be an attractive addition to this boat’s options list. It allows trouble-free and error-free docking on a professional level from even the most intermediate boater. Our test boat had both the joystick and bow thruster which made a docking child's play.
Horsepower to Weight.
While 600 total horsepower is low among competitors, as is the 129-gallon (488 L) fuel tank, the Gran Turismo 35 weighs between 2,000 and 5,000 lbs. (907 to 2,268 kg) less than those competitors, boosting both speed and range.
Air Step Advantage.
Beneteau’s patented Air Step hull also increases economy and speed.
Generator and Air Conditioner.
The optional 5 kW generator along with the 16,000 BTU cabin air conditioner ($21,845) are both installed at the factory.
The hull is injection-molded
and a vacuum is pulled to complete the process. Balsa core is used in the hull and no synthetic core material can equal its puncture strength versus weight. Delamination is also far less likely with a properly manufactured balsa core vs. other materials. Anywhere thru-hull fittings attach to the boat, the balsa is replaced with large solid fiberglass pads. The transom is similarly reinforced. Because a coat of vinylester resin is used below the waterline, hydrostatic water osmosis is not a danger.
Beneteau cuts fiberglass by computer, with the strands of each piece oriented to maximize strength, and then they infuse precisely the correct volume of their proprietary resin into the mold. This assures complete bonds between the balsa core and fiberglass inner and outer skins, as well as the ideal ratio of resin to fiberglass through every inch of the boat. The result is not only light, but also provides a thinner hull for its strength than PVC core -- inches saved inside the boat.
Air Step Technology
Cutting a step into a hull -- a sudden change in a boat’s bottom, running from chine to keel, dates back to early twentieth-century hydrofoil race boats. Suction from the boat’s forward motion draws air in through the notch created where the stepped bottom and hull side meet at the chine. That air funnels beneath the stern, allowing the entire back of the boat to ride on a theoretical cushion of air bubbles. The air cushion reduces drag, thereby increasing speed, fuel economy or both.
Increased Stability and Tighter Turning.
Beneteau contains the air bubbles sucked below in a recessed section of boat bottom that spans most of the width of the boat, but stops before reaching the chines. This keeps direct boat-to-water contact at the outboard edge of the hull, where it adds stability and aids in sharp turns.
The tested Beneteau Gran Turismo 35 was powered by a pair of 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7L gas engines. A diesel option is also available. With the gas engines, we reached a top speed of 40 mph while burning 40.5 gph. Best cruise was found to be at 4500 rpm and 34.5 mph. That speed lowered the fuel burn to 29.5 gph giving us a range of 136 miles while still holding back a 10% reserve.
It’s easy to say that a boat has “sportboat-like handling” but here it very much rings true. She’s so responsive to the helm that one may think that she was actually a small bowrider in disguise. Turns can get as aggressive as desired with no adverse effects such as chine walk, etc. Turn hard enough at speed and she’ll even spin-out in the turn, just as we see in smaller jet boats. But “drive it like you stole it” mentality aside, she also had a docile side that makes her a comfortable cruiser for first time boating guests. She has a gentle wave penetration and it's also easy to keep her speed up in light turns. Everything about her says “lets go farther”. It’s one of those boats that the boater just doesn’t want to stop the ride on.
Beneteau’s light-weight construction and Air Step hull promises better economy than most boats in her class, although this likely will mean more to distance cruisers than it does to boaters staying near their home port. Increased space and utility above deck, including two topside areas for preparing meals, are among the Gran Turismo 35’s biggest assets. The tradeoffs of a smaller galley and tighter overnight accommodations below are balanced by Beneteau’s use of the space above that are better suited to day trips.
Price and Options
Standard features include the teak cockpit table and swim platform teak deck and she carries a base price of $299,150. Ground tackle and an electric windlass are also standard, as is a hot and cold shower at the transom shower. Most options, such as joystick controls ($11,000), bow thruster ($5,290) and trim tabs ($2,355), tend to vary in importance based on locale. Others, like the stern cooking island ($6,490), are purely personal preference.
While intended for day boating, the Beneteau Gran Turismo 35 does make a capable overnighter, and better utilization of space for daytime activities benefits nearly all boaters. Whether intending to spend an occasional weekend aboard or not, why sacrifice premium space aboard for amenities only used while cruising? She’s built on the hull of the GT 34, and if an enclosed cockpit is really that important, buyers can now opt up to the GT 38 with its hardtop and side enclosures for only $50,000 more.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 35 (2014-) is 40.0 mph (64.4 kph), burning 40.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 153.29 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 35 (2014-) is 34.5 mph (55.5 kph), and the boat gets 1.2 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.51 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 136 miles (218.87 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7DP.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!