When you think of “coupe,” what comes to mind? Does an enclosed helm with a plush salon and accommodations belowdecks? Sure, but what about speed and sportiness? Not often, but when a boat like the Cobalt A40 Coupe comes along, you can think that too. Many coupes we’ve tested in this size range hover just shy of the 40 mph range, with handling and acceleration you’d describe as safe and predictable rather than aggressive. With the A40 Coupe, you get a taste of performance in your coupe.
Testing on a small freshwater lake with limited areas to run full speed, we worried we’d run out of room before compiling our performance numbers. Turns out, we shouldn’t have. While spooling up the Volvo Penta D4 diesel sterndrives to climb onto plane took six seconds, we sprinted to 30 mph in 14 seconds en route to a top speed of 47.5 mph. While those aren’t blistering numbers by Cobalt’s own sporty bowrider standards, they are remarkable for a 10-ton boat with a 12-foot beam and a 9-foot-3-inch-tall profile.
Plus, the inherent maneuverability and directional thrust provided by sterndrives enabled us to execute nimble hard-over turns at speed, so we didn’t have to come off plane to record the numbers going the other way. Cobalt credits these performance attributes to its hull design with an extended running surface and reverse chines, as well as a running pad aft that improves lift. With the automatic trim tabs, the boat always kept a good attitude so our view from the helm was never appreciably obscured.
We knew all this about the boat already from when we tested the original A40, which features an open helm protected by a windshield that is separated from the hardtop above. In the coupe version, the boat remains open between the helm area and the cockpit, but is more protected by a windshield that is fully integrated with the hardtop forward yet vented on either side. The top also extends farther aft.
Some builders take a different approach to the coupe, such as the slightly smaller Carver C37 ($446,830 with twin Volvo Penta D-300 diesel inboards). The C37 has a helm and salon that can be fully enclosed with sliding glass doors that separate them from the aft cockpit. The two boats are philosophically different in that the beamier Carver sports a plumb bow that maximizes space belowdecks, which is more attuned to coastal cruising.
Builders with similar approaches to Cobalt include the Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe ($597,160 with twin Volvo D4-300 diesel sterndrives). When we tested it with twin 430 hp gasoline Mercs, it hit a top speed of 40.65 mph. When we tested it with twin 320 hp MerCruiser sterndrives, it topped out at just less than 39 mph. The Cruisers also has the option for Volvo IPS. Regal Boats also offers a 42 Sport Coupe with comparable D-400 Volvo diesel sterndrives ($681,745 with twin 600 hp D-400s).
While the A40 Coupe has a more enclosed helm area than its A40 sister, that doesn’t mean you can’t feel the warm summer sun and cool ocean breeze. Check out the retractable sunroof in the hardtop that ensures you can do both. When it’s time for shade, close it up and push a button to extend the optional SureShade out over the aft cockpit. Another of our favorite options aboard the A40 Coupe we tested is the hydraulic swim step. With the push of a button, it lowers into the water, making it easy for swimmers to take a dip and reboard while at anchor. Those just interested in lounging can chill on the transom sun pad that sports adjustable backrests to face aft on the pad or forward in the cockpit. A cockpit entertainment center just aft of the helm can be equipped with a fridge, ice maker and grill-top cooker to go along with the stainless-steel sink. The helm itself features a doublewide seat with a flip-up bolster for standing and a flip-down teak toe rest to sit while manning the helm. A hand-stitched brow protects the dash — where there’s space to flush-mount two multifunction displays — from glare. Steps to port of the bow lead through the windshield to the bow where two Euro-style sun pads with adjustable backrests flank the pathway to the anchor locker.
Belowdecks, the stylish ports built into the hull sides let in enough natural light to illuminate the galley and dinette in the bow. Filler cushions can convert the bow setup to a V-berth. More sleeping accommodations await amidships with a separate cabin that can be configured as twins or turned into a full with the filler insert. The head features a separate shower stall with a sit-down bench. If the kids need a rest belowdecks, pop in a DVD on one of the flat-screen TVs.
Cobalt, as always, exhibits first-class fit and finish with beautiful teak accents, stainless-steel hardware, plush upholstery with double-needle stitching, and premium gelcoat work. Open the engine hatch to reveal clean and orderly wiring and easy access to all service points. Things you can’t see include Kevlar reinforcement added during the hull layup, popped from molds that are constantly cleaned and waxed to ensure integrity. All these things add up to the A40 Coupe, a boat that exceeds expectations.