The Beneteau Gran Turismo 50 Sportfly is an express cruiser that does double duty as an enclosed motor yacht complete with a flybridge. The newest model in the French builder’s GT Series replaces the previous GT 49 but everything about her is a fresh start. On the exterior, she has benefited from Nuvolari & Lenard’s stylish rounded lines and now looks a little sleeker and more functional than her predecessor. Inside, Andreani Design has worked magic creating a clean aesthetic, hidden functionality and luxury touches that elevate the finish. It’s one of those boats you can’t wait to drive.
The Gran Turismo line debuted several years ago and was so successful that it grew to four models—including the GT 40 and the GT 46. Over the years the designs have been tweaked and stretched and overall, they’ve benefited from Beneteau’s Monte Carlo motoryachts that are positioned (both in size and luxury) just above the Gran Turismo. What really separates these two lines today is the shape and size—express cruiser versus traditional motoryacht. Otherwise, GT owners will be happy to learn that upscale touches like indirect lighting, leather accents and designer materials are plentiful and joystick-controlled pod drives and flybridge accommodations are standard (a GT 50 Coupe is also sold).
Boarding is easy via the large (3’ 8”) hydraulic swim platform. Submerged, it’s a teak beach that makes a fun playground. The tender can be carried on the platform in pop-up chocks, or inside the dinghy garage above the engine room. An optional winch is tucked up in the starboard corner to help pull in the spec’d Willams Jet tender although a traditional 9-foot dinghy will fit as well.
The transom holds an optional outdoor galley with an electric grill and a prep surface and the chef stands on the platform to cook, able to carry on a conversation with those in the cockpit. And speaking of the cockpit, on the new model, this space has morphed into a nice continuation of the salon. The portside settee flows aft and curves across the transom. To starboard, tucked under the steps to the flybridge, is a cabinet with a sink and an optional ice maker.
The flybridge on the GT 50 is short fore and aft but it will still be a favorite spot on the boat. The helm is to starboard across from the companion seating that converts to a large sunpad. Seating for four around a cocktail table is aft. There is no galley module nor grill here like there is on the larger Monte Carlo yachts.
The helm station has a 12-inch multifunction display, joystick and bow thruster control, an engine screen and a remote VHF. Up here the display would benefit from a backup camera as the seating area obscures sight-lines aft but it’s likely that backing into a slip will be done while driving from the interior helm below.
The inside helm has the wheel on the centerline and there’s a small opening side window for airflow and communications to those on the deck or dock. To the left of the wheel are two cup holders and a large cubby for cell phones, eyeglasses and so forth.
A single 12-inch Simrad NSS multifunction display sits just above the wheel with two rows of rocker switches and AC vents on either side. The top of the helm pod is covered with stitched leather to cut down on the glare from the windshield.
The engine throttles and pod joystick are inboard and to the left of the wheel, which seems strange at first, especially for right-handed drivers. But the joystick is actually in a great place when you’re backing into a slip as you stand in the middle of the boat with one hand on the joystick, looking aft through the glass doors with a good view of exactly where you’re going.
The GT 50 rides on the AirStep2 hull that introduces air from vents along the hull sides and funnels it beneath the boat. The air cushion reduces friction in the aft third of the hull and provides a bit of lift which increases fuel effiency. Due to this aeration, the engine raw water intakes were moved forward and away from the air passages. They’re accessible under the master bed.
Like all pod-driven boats, the GT 50 makes wide arcing turns at speed. She leans in and then gracefully comes about. From a full stop, she’ll come up on plane in eight seconds around 15-16 knots and 2500 rpm. On our sea trial we reached a top speed of 23.1 knots at 3450 rpm, where the Volvo Penta 435 HP diesels burned almost 44 gallons per hour. An economical cruise is at 18-20 knots where the engines burn a combined 36 gallon per hour. At this speed, the GT 50 has about a 200 mile range with a 10 percent reserve.
Joystick control is available at the main and fly helms and also in a well on the starboard side of the cockpit. The third option seems unnecessary though and doesn’t really add to the visibility aft.
The engine room is accessed via a ladder when a section of the port side cockpit seat is lifted. It’s tight but surprisingly, there’s decent access to all systems. Getting around the twin diesels is a squeeze. Front and center is an 11kW Onan genset and the pods are tucked all the way aft. Tall mechanics won’t like the headroom due to the dinghy garage that’s shoehorned in above. Day access to vital fluids is via a hatch in the cockpit sole so for regular checks, there’s no need to set foot in the engine room.
The GT 50 subtly combines the inside with the outside. The glass entry doors slide to starboard and an insert is added to connect the interior and exterior settees. The insert forms an arm rest and conveniently adds two cupholders at the same time. This creates the perception of a long and unobstructed saloon because the galley is actually down on the lower deck. It’s compact and L-shaped with refrigeration drawers, twin sinks and what Beneteau calls the “Magic Corner”—a clever rack system that slides out and over when the cupboard is opened. It maximizes stowage capacity in those hard-to-reach corners.
The GT 50 is available with two or three cabins and two heads. Grooves in the headliner near the galley show where a third cabin may be added. Without the cabin, an L-shaped settee forms companion seating for the chef in the galley.
The master is full beam and amidships with 6’3” headroom around the island bed. The mattress is on gas shocks so it can be lifted easily to access the engine and AC water inlet through-hulls as mentioned above. Outboard of the bed on either side are his and hers lounges with good views out the windows. To port is the master head with an elegant vessel sink and a sizable separate shower stall.
The VIP cabin is in the bow and may become a favorite of anyone who likes lots of light and airflow. Large hull windows and opening ports are at eye level when you’re in bed and air funnels in via a hatch above. The outer edges of the island bed may be lifted up and out to form two beds when the cabin is occupied by someone other than a couple. This cabin has its own door into the starboard side head.
A lot of thought went into the next iteration of the wildly popular GT 49 and the new 50-footer isn’t just a do-over with a few color changes. It’s the flagship of the Gran Turismo Series and starts under $1.2 million. It’s a kick to drive but it’s also a fashionista that will impress all who come aboard so even at seven figures, she’s really quite a bargain.
See Beneteau Gran Turismo 50 Sportfly listings.
|Fuel capacity||344 gal.|
|Water capacity||106 gal.|