Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 Boat Test

A versatile boat available with sterndrive or outboard power.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 running shot
LOA: 37'11" | Beam: 11'4" | Draft: 3'9" | Displacement: 15,901 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 17 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 13'7" | Max Cabin Headroom: 6'6" | Fuel Capacity: 200 gal. | Max Horsepower: 700 | More Information: beneteau.comCourtesy Beneteau

Beneteau built the Gran Turismo 36 in the United States for the North American ­market. This new boat is wider, longer and more spacious than the old GT 35 while retaining speed and agility. Its mission? All-day entertaining and occasional cruises for four people. It’s available with either twin sterndrive or outboard power.

Beneteau’s design team considered what entertaining means, from comfortable cruising, socializing, food preparation and consumption, to sunning, swimming, and privacy for changing clothes and other … activities. For cruising, the helm and companion seats are contoured double benches with flip-down bolsters, so four can participate in ­piloting. A large windshield, dramatically curving side windows, and an overhead moonroof provide abundant light and sense of space. Performance is lively; our test boat, with twin MerCruiser ­6.2-liter V-8s turning twin Bravo Three sterndrives, accelerated quickly, even after concluding performance testing and bringing seven people aboard, rode soft and dry at speeds in the upper 20s and low 30s, and turned both quickly and precisely while a system of Zipwake Interceptor trim tabs interfaced with the GPS, optimized both fore and aft, and lateral trim for comfort, speed and efficiency. At the dock, a joystick made departing and tying up a piece of cake.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 cockpit
A commodious cockpit lounge for seven neatly tucks under the hardtop.Courtesy Beneteau

Meanwhile, a commodious cockpit lounge for seven neatly tucks under the hardtop and benefits from helm-deck air conditioning (we ran our test in August on the Chesapeake) while preserving a feeling of openness. To port lies a U-shaped lounge with a solid wood table opposite an L-shaped starboard-side lounge. It’s a natural setting for conversation, and we noted that crew seated in the companion seats could comfortably turn sideways to join in. Aft is a sun pad for two, while a summer galley (electric grill is optional) sits to starboard, next to a secure gate to a large (8 feet, 6 inches by 2 feet, 9 inches) swim platform with ladder and shower. (The outboard version gives up space for the engines, but platform extensions on both sides compensate.) The sun pad and aft section of the port lounge rise as a unit with electric power for access to the engine room—massive stowage aboard the outboard version—and lazarette stowage. Secure steps to the side decks lead to a spacious bow sun lounge for two, with headrests, armrests, cup holders and stereo speakers. A sun awning is available for shade at rest, as well as a businesslike pulpit for the anchor, its windlass, and a pair of sturdy cleats.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 bow lounge
The spacious bow sun lounge has room for two.Courtesy Beneteau

For comparison's sake, Sea Ray's ­Sundancer 350 Coupe ($451,953 with twin 350 hp MerCruiser Bravo Three sterndrives and Axius joystick control) is 37 feet, 6 inches LOA with an 11-foot-4-inch beam and weighs 18,792 pounds, with comparable fuel and water capacity. It can sleep six people, but the salon's entertaining area is smaller.

Beneteau takes safety seriously. It has thoughtfully and strategically placed handrails throughout the helm, cockpit, swim platform and hardtop, along with tall side rails from the cockpit to bow pulpit for security going forward. Though designed for the North American market, the GT 36 is certified under the European Union’s stringent standards for up to eight passengers offshore and 10 in coastal bays (B8, C10), as well as by the American Boat and Yacht Council and National Marine ­Manufacturers Association.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 salon table
The salon delivers a settee for three with hardwood table.Courtesy Beneteau
Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 galley
There's a two-burner (electric) galley that is nicely fitted out with sink and storage.Courtesy Beneteau

Belowdecks, the one-way clear panels in the hull sides supply abundant natural light in the forward cabin, the head, the salon and the midcabin, complemented by opening porthole inserts for ventilation when desired. Air conditioning, driven by a 5 kW gas genset, cools both cabins and the salon. Standing headroom throughout is 6 feet, 5 inches. The forward master stateroom provides an island double berth, two hanging lockers, bookshelves and reading lights. The head offers separate shower and toilet spaces. The salon delivers a settee for three with hardwood table to port for meals, snacks and TV watching, opposite a two-burner (electric) galley that is nicely fitted out with sink and storage. We especially liked the way the burners are recessed an inch under a lid in the countertop to prevent pots from sliding around in a seaway. Replacing the lid activates a cutoff switch on each burner in case the cook has forgotten to turn it off. The clear hillsides over the galley and the settee are fitted with ingenious Venetian blinds that run on stainless cables. The aftercabin’s berth can be set as a double or a pair of singles. There’s sitting headroom on it, along with a stand-up dressing area just inside the cabin door.

Want to cruise the Great Loop? The GT 36 is not the Beneteau for you. Talk with your broker about the company's long-legged Swift Trawler 35. But if what you're looking for is gracious entertaining, comfortable weekending and sporty performance, Beneteau's design team put the GT 36 together especially for you.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 master cabin
The forward master stateroom provides an island double berth.Courtesy Beneteau
Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 aft cabin
The aftercabin’s berth can be set as a double or a pair of singles.Courtesy Beneteau

High Points

  • Graceful hardtop includes electrically operated moonroof for natural light and feeling of openness.
  • Cockpit lounge seats seven comfortably under the shade of the hardtop, next to a summer galley with grill.
  • Valuable details include recessed cabin-galley burners that act as fiddles, ingenious Venetian blinds in the salon, and a robust security system for the anchor winch.

Low Points

  • Service access panels in the salon sole are precisely fit—so precisely that complicated geometric maneuvering is required to put them back in place.

Price: $412,000 (as tested, with genset and three-station air conditioning)

Available Power: Sterndrive and Outboard

Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 performance data
Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 Certified Test ResultsBoating Magazine

How We Tested
Engines: Twin 300 hp Mercury 6.2L V-8 gasoline sterndrives
Props: Twin 21-inch-pitch stainless-steel Bravo Three dual-prop propsets
Gear Ratio: 2.43:1
Fuel Load: 195 gal.
Water Load: 0 gal.
Waste Load: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Beneteau America - Annapolis, Maryland; 410-626-0004; beneteau.com