Using bigger engines than the competition will almost always make your boat faster, but there are two other important advantages as well. Higher-output engines don't need to work as hard as smaller powerplants to make a boat run the same speeds, and you can have some throttle in reserve in case you need to avoid a bad situation. The Pershing 45, powered by 610-bhp MAN engines, proved all this and more, as most boats in this size range are powered by 400-to-450-bhp engines.
The inboards pushed our test boat to a top speed of 38.3 mph at 2250 rpm and a cruise of 31.3 at 1800. It burned 54.8 gph at top end, giving it an mpg reading of 0.7. At cruise, it burned 35.4 gph, for 0.9 mpg. By comparison, when powered by a pair of 450-hp CAT 3208 V-8 diesels, Sunseeker's 44 Camargue (49'5" LOA and 29,000 pounds) reached a top speed of about 36 mph, burning 46 gph and achieving 0.8 mpg. This year Sunseeker switched to the 450-bhp V-6 CAT 3126s ($544,895)-as a result, expect that two fewer cylinders will make these diesels work even harder.
Closer to our test boat in overall size is the Fairline Targa 48 (49'10" LOA and 22,000 pounds). I tested the boat with a pair of 420-bhp in-line-6 CAT 3126s ($675,190), and it ran 35.7 mph at full throttle with a gph of 42.6 and 0.8 mpg. To run similar speeds with the Pershing 45, you can back off to 2100 rpm, where the boat burns 51.4 gph at 36.4 mph for 0.7 mpg.
THE HIGHS: Bigger engines get you there faster and more efficiently. Excellent access in engine compartment. Finally, a cruiser with trim tab indicators. Locking electronics box at helm.
THE LOWS: Cockpit lounge cushions should be hinged. Battery box hatches need thumb screws. Good luck getting to the genset battery. Ports should be screened.
In maneuvers our test boat carved wide arcs easily-the best way to tighten the radius is to advance the throttle. The V-bottom, with a transom deadrise of 18 degrees, has twin strakes on each side and propeller pockets to help reduce the boat's draft. The straightforward design is perfect for smacking down a two-foot chop.
UNDERCOVER OPERATION. Even with its big diesels, our test boat offered excellent ease of movement in a practical engine compartment that has 2'1" of space between the engines at their tightest spot. Plus, the entire compartment is finished in sound-deadening foam.
Overhead, the cockpit sole is removable in case an engine has to come out. Despite having the fuel tanks installed outboard of the engines, the shutoffs are easy to reach and I liked that they linked to another set at the helm so you have two locations to kill the flow in an emergency.
The sea strainers are forward and between the engines, and the seacocks couldn't be easier to access. The same goes for the remote transmission shifters and the circuit breakers in protective acrylic boxes mounted on the firewall bulkhead. Nearby, all the bilge pumps are conveniently located for servicing. Screwed-down plates protect the batteries from being walked on, but you need a Philips head screwdriver to remove them. Thumb screws would eliminate the need for a tool.
Abaft the engines, the genset is accessible, but I can't say the same for its battery. It's behind the starboard engine, and I guarantee the mechanic who eventually has to replace it is going to curse the boat's designer-and deservedly so. When I exited the engine compartment, the hatch closed into thick rubber weather stripping and stayed shut with a beefy aluminum latch-kudos! The hardware throughout the boat has a heavy-duty feel, even the stout aluminum doorknobs in the cabin. It's kind of like the strong thud you hear when you close a door on a full-size pickup truck.
The 45's construction is also stout, composed of solid fiberglass in the hull's bottom with Airex foam coring in the hullsides and balsa in high-stress areas in the deck. The hull and deck are attached in a shoebox-lid fit that's through-bolted and sealed. But it wasn't bonded together with fiberglass on the inside, which I prefer.
STRETCH ON OUT. If your family and friends enjoy soaking up the rays, you'll love the 45's 9'-by-6'2" aft sunlounge, which is encircled by stainless-steel rails for security. The foredeck has four more cushions so just about everybody can be a sun worshipper. The horseshoe-shaped cockpit lounge seats eight and has stowage in the base, but the cushions aren't hinged or supported with gas struts. At 3'-by-2' each, they're hard to hold up with one hand while you retrieve gear with the other.
A button at the helm activates the hydraulic cockpit table, which is more than a novelty. When the table is up, it feels incredibly sturdy; lower it during a rough-water run to protect it from damage. I question locating the control button at the helm. Put it closer to the table.
To port, the cockpit bar's hatch is finished on both sides and raises on a stainless-steel gas strut. It unveils a sink and barbecue grill that turns off with a microswitch when the hatch is closed. At the helm, the two-person seat has stowage in the base. At 5'8", when I sat I had unobstructed sightlines, but when I stood, the windshield frame blocked my view.
A 5"-deep eyebrow keeps glare off the VDO white-faced gauges. These are grouped in clusters by engine on each side of the tachometers, which flank a rudder indicator. I especially liked that the boat comes standard with trim tab indicators and a bow thruster. Another bonus is the folding panel that locks shut to protect your GPS, autopilot, and VHF radio.
OPPOSITE ENDS. Pershing was determined that the 45 should sleep four people, so its belowdecks layout features the salon, galley, and master stateroom forward and a smaller aft cabin with twin bunks, a private head with shower, and hanging locker. You access the aft cabin via a removable cushion in the cockpit lounge.
You'll spend most of your time in the spacious salon, which is finished in richly varnished cherry and light vinyl upholstery to enhance its sense of roominess. The large lounge to starboard has removable bottom cushions that access stowage and the air conditioner. Even the backrests come off individually so you can repair one without having to remove the whole thing. One gripe: The opening ports don't come with screens.
Across from the lounge, the galley includes a microwave oven overhead and a sink and four-burner stove recessed into the granite countertop beneath a foldout hatch. The stove is the kind you want beneath a closed counter-it has sensors that keep a burner lit only if they feel the weight of a pan on them. Galley stowage includes dedicated space for dishes, glasses, and silverware, plus open lockers.
Forward of the galley,you'll find the head, which is accessible from both the salon and master stateroom. The circular shower stall, porcelain commode, and sink are pretty much standard fare, but I liked the 1'-deep, 7"-tall stowage lockers above the sink.
Last but not least, in the bow, the master stateroom features a jewelry safe situated in a small sitting area to port with hanging lockers on each side aft. Pershing again provided excellent stowage in the base of the thickly padded double berth and overhead on each side.
LAST WORD. A stylish boat that's big on power, practicality, and livability.
Displacement (lbs., approx)......27,000
Minimum cockpit depth.......2'7"
Max. cabin headroom.....6'4"
Fuel capacity (gal.).......415
Water capacity (gal.).......144
Price (w/standard power)....$685,650 Price (w/test power)....$685,650
STANDARD POWER: Twin 610-bhp MAN 2866 LE 405 in-line-6 diesel inboards.
OPTIONAL POWER: Twin diesel inboards to 1,220 bhp total.
TEST BOAT POWER: Twin 610-bhp MAN 2866 LE 405 in-line-6 diesel inboards with 731 cid, 5.04" bore x 6.1" stroke, swinging 24" x 40" four-bladed SBN Nibral props through 1.73:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Hydraulic trim tabs w/indicators; hydraulic gangway w/remote control; hot/ cold shower on gangway; retractable swim ladder; 1,200-watt Lofrans windlass; Bimini top w/ss frame; VDO instrumentation; 5' Ritchie compass; depthsounder; speed/log; GPS/chartplotter; VHF radio; cockpit entertainment center w/sink, refrigerator, and grill; icemaker; hydraulic cockpit table; AM/FM/ CD stereos in forward stateroom and aft cabin; forward and aft heads w/porcelain commodes, stand-up showers, and sinks; refrigerator; 4-burner stove; microwave; 6kW genset; fuel/water separators; bilge pumps; 23,000-Btu a/c; 50-watt battery charger; battery parallel system.