My wife claims that a fine cabernet is the perfect complement to filet mignon. She may be right. Similarly, the new Aviara AV40 is an excellent match with two 600 hp Mercury Verado V-12 outboards.
Early outboard enthusiasts never envisioned pairing the then-tiny motors with such a large, progressively styled day yacht. Start with a V-12 block (think Ferrari or Lambo) of 7.6 liters, then frost this cupcake with a supercharger.
If you’ve owned a V-12 (and particularly one from Italy), you’re thinking “maintenance nightmare.” Au contraire. You don’t even have to remove the cowling to change the oil; it goes in through a hatch atop the engine. And all the service points are clustered right up front too. In fact, the V-12 600 need only come out of the water for service every two years. Your mechanic might miss you.
But there’s more.
How about a two-speed transmission? An industry first, of course, it shifts without a clunk, solving what might be nightmarish fuel economy otherwise and trying to balance a prop that will torque a 12-ton boat onto plane with one that can run as fast as it looks. And that blower evens out the performance through seasonal temperature changes.
But wait, as the Ginsu knife commercials say, there’s more. The contra-rotating dual-prop lower unit steers independently, so more of these big kickers can fit into the same space without needing the power heads to turn.
OK, I admit, both features were weird at first. Powering up for our performance tests and carefully monitoring the rpm, I noticed when they suddenly dropped. The engines were clearly more relaxed (and faster). It was like the overdrive on some cars I’ve owned.
And then there was the visual weirdness; I’d crank the wheel hard over, glance aft—and the engines hadn’t moved. And yet the Aviara AV40 was rolling into a very tight and cavitation-free turn.
Interior and Accessories
Speaking of the boat itself, it’s the latest iteration of the Aviara “day extender” concept, creating a bowrider that can segue into a comfy overnighter. The cockpit is shaded by a rakish hardtop with a sunroof, and the whole family has ample seating, from the double-wide helm bench to settees along the port and aft sides of the cockpit.
Stir in the standard “terraces,” which convert the cockpit coamings into expanded “beaches” on each side that stretch the 12-foot-3-inch beam to 18 feet. Opt for the outdoor galley with twin fridges, dual grills, and a sink, and the Aviara fairly begs to -entertain crowds at the dock or sandbar.
In fact, the entire after “pod,” with a forward-facing bench seat, convertible aft-facing seats, and gas-actuated pop-up bar stools atop the seatback, seems focused on sandbars— with no rail protecting you from the engines, it wouldn’t be wise to use the aft-facing seats while underway and certainly not the bar stools.
But you can move the troops forward into the spacious and secure bow lounge with high coamings, plush wraparound seating, and a locker-hidden Lewmar anchor windlass with a raw-water washdown. The cockpit sole, from bow to stern, is covered with SeaDek that is nonslip, easily cleaned, and cool on the hottest days.
The skipper, holding the reins for 1,200 horses, has a full report on engines and navigation via proprietary systems on a Simrad monitor, plus a joystick for painless maneuvering, and Lenco trim tabs to balance Aunt Edna.
Just next to the helm is a clamshell door leading into an unexpectedly spacious interior. No one, including the missis, is going to feel claustrophobic here, with over 6 feet of headroom and a 5-foot-7-inch-wide V-berth. The enclosed head has a shower and Tecma electric head, while the midcabin has a queen-size berth with a memory-foam mattress for overnighting. Niceties in the cabin include another Isotherm fridge, a 43-inch TV, and air conditioning. Our test boat boasted a Seakeeper 3 gyro and the upgraded Westerbeke 9.5 kW genset.
So, what will the Aviara AV40 do? When hammered down, 6,500 rpm gave us 55 mph at 94 gph, and it was clear that first gear was intended to torque us onto plane, at which point the props (pitched for higher speed) use second gear for cruising speeds. There’s not much noise either, topping out at 85 dB(A) flat out, which is great for conversations, but disappointing if you were hoping for the howl of a V-12 at full song.
Once over the eerie sight of nonturning engines, the Aviara AV40 is a delight. Cranked hard over (the lower units turn 15 degrees more than usual), the boat banks into hard turns with no cavitation.
Shopping around? Check out the Sea Ray SLX 400 OB with twin 600s ($1,279,000).
The Aviara AV40 is a well-buttered piece of bread, and with the twin Merc 600s, and I found it absolutely delectable.
Read Next: Aviara AV36 Outboard
How We Tested
- Engine: Twin Mercury Verado 600 hp
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/twin prop, Verado 12 set, 18″ x 27.5″ stainless steel, 4-blade (front), 3-blade (rear)
- Gear Ratio: 2.50:1 Fuel Load: 300 gal. Water on Board: 40 gal. Crew Weight: 750 lb.
- Curated collection of colors, fabrics and features make this boat highly customizable.
- Integrates form, function and attention into detail like few boats we’ve tested.
- Cool Feel vinyl and Versailles flooring options help take it to another level.
- Made to match to Mercury’s big V-12 outboard.
- Awkward steps into the cabin.
- Very low gate separating the cockpit and transom platform.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$1,279,469 (as tested)|
|Displacement (approx.):||23,800 lb.|
|Transom Deadrise:||19 degrees|
|Max Cabin Headroom:||6’1″|
|Fuel Capacity:||357 gal.|
|Available Power:||Twin or triple outboards to 600 hp; twin sterndrives to 1,040 hp total|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Aviara Boats – Merritt Island, Florida; aviaraboats.com