Gran Turismo (GT) 38 Review by

At first, Beneteau’s Gran Turismo 38 resembles every other hardtop express cruiser of similar size, but look closer and you’ll find some cool differences: First, the GT 38 has round opening ports in her hull, along with large windows amidships and forward – a nice mix of traditional and modern. Her side decks are asymmetrical, giving her designers more leeway in creating the layout. Her helm is on the centerline, not tucked against the side of the pilothouse. And she even has an easy chair in the cockpit.

 Key Features

•Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick available

•Technology Air Step

•Self-bailing cockpit

•Cockpit cupboard with sink, foldaway tap

•8 persons saloon convertible to sun deck

•Natural solid wood cockpit table

•Space for cased life-raft

•Cockpit shower with mixer tap

•Beaker stands and glove box

•Access through a gate with safety catch

•Solid wood sun platform, folding bathing ladder

•Hand rail on rear table

Distinguishing Features

We think the GT 38 is a noteworthy boat for a number of reasons. While she may look similar to many other express hardtops in class, there are some important differences.

Air Step hull. First, is her Air Step Hull which we think gives her demonstrably better performance than the same hull without this design. Our testing has shown that the step is not just something that helps the boat at WOT, but also at all planing speeds.

Diesel sterndrive. In the US there are not many 38-footers on the market with diesel power, fewer still that drive sterndrive lower units. This is an efficient combination, giving the owner the economy and range of diesel engines, and the efficiency of dual prop pod drives. (And a joystick is an option.)

Centerline helm. There are a number of advantages to a centerline helm and the GT 38 takes advantage of them. First, three people can sit facing forward. Second, obviously, the skipper is equidistant from each side of the boat making docking a bit easier on one side. Third, there is no fore-and-aft bench seat with people being forced to sit sideways while underway.

Centerline access to mid cabin. We can think of only a few boats that have centerline access to the mid cabin in class. This, combined with the engines shoved all the way back to the transom means that this full-beam cabin can have large twin berths running fore-and-aft. If a double is wanted, simply insert a small platform and sleep athwartships.

Natural light below. More and more builders of express boats are discovering techniques of getting more sunlight below. This is an important attribute and it is done on the GT 38 better than on most other boats in class.

A “Step” in the Right Direction

The GT 38 was built with the patented Air Step hull from Beneteau. I’ve tested a large number of boats in this class and have come to expect the performance parameters to be within a certain window and I’m rarely off. The FT 38 was one of those exceptions. My expectations went out the window as everything I anticipated from the 38’s performance was off — and for the better!

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