Chic little sister

Graham Lloyd | VOLUME 31, ISSUE 2
The Monte Carlo MC4S has an innovative design that stands out on the water, with its cream gelcoat making a popular change from everyday white (other colours are available)
Beneteau Group’s Monte Carlo brand has completed its line-up with a boutique range of smaller cruisers, including the MC4S.

The Monte Carlo marque may be a comparatively new name to the Australian market, but its heritage and siblings are widely regarded as amongst the best in the world. Part of the Groupe Beneteau organisation, it’s the smaller stablemate to Monte Carlo Yachts.

The larger Monte Carlo Yachts are from 20 to 32m (65 to 105ft) whereas the Monte Carlo (no ‘Yachts’ in the name) fleet comprises three models from 13.8 to 18.35m (45 to 60ft). Both fleets of motorboats are designed by the highly regarded Nuvolari/Lenard design team. The smaller, comparatively more affordable cruisers are sisters within the Beneteau family to already-established ranges such as Jeanneau and Prestige.

We were invited aboard two of the more popular models in the range – a 45ft (13.8m) MC4S and a 49.5ft (15m) MC5. Both models are available as either a sedan (with an ‘S’ suffix to the model designation and including a large sundeck above the cockpit) or as a flybridge version.

The MC4S is priced from $935,000 and our review model, with a range of options, came up to $1,130,915. The MC5 equivalent prices were from $1,150,000 to $1,385,524. The Australian distributor for Monte Carlo is Sundance Marine and the boats were beautifully presented by its Sydney office.

Blending eye-appeal with practicality, the cruisers have quite plumb stems and near-vertical topsides that carry the full beam down to the chines; both elements maximise interior space while variable deadrise undersides give a smooth, dry ride and good stability at rest.

The interiors are very contemporary with light, brushed oak trim and superior-quality leathers and fabrics. Huge windows – and a massive sunroof on the MC4S – give a very bright and open feel. Two double staterooms (the MC5 has a third cabin) provide sleeping accommodation for four and there’s all the space and facilities you’d want for weekend or longer stays – a design goal being to match the appeal and charm of luxury holiday apartments.

TOTAL CONTROL

To reassure owners with limited boating experience, the MC4S comes with joystick control for the dual Volvo IPS500 engine/pod systems. An optional additional control panel in the starboard side of the cockpit has a second joystick as well as bowthruster and engine start/stop controls. Intuitional movements of the stick translate into the required manoeuvring through the computer-controlled IPS (Inboard Performance System) pods.

The latter are powered by aft-mounted 5.5lt six-cylinder diesel engines and project below the hull with very efficient counter-rotating, forward-facing props that pull rather than push the boat through the water. Steering and manoeuvring is achieved by turning the pods to vector the thrust of the props; with the drive housing of the pods behind them, the props thus operate in a much cleaner flow of water than shaft- or sterndrive props, for significant benefits in efficiency, performance and economy.

The aft-mounted engines allow a more efficient hull design, too, with the weight further back, and give much lower levels of noise and vibration in the saloon and staterooms. Without mid-mounted engines, the master stateroom can be positioned amidships for full-beam spaciousness and optimum stability and machinery access is helped as well.

Boarding the MC4S is a snap, stepping across a large teak-lined platform that can be hydraulically lowered to knee-deep in the water. That not only makes access/egress for watersports a delight, but also offers a relaxing wading/bathing stage and an aid to the boat’s stability when moored.

Steps to starboard lead up into the spacious cockpit with an aft lounge that can be shaded on sunny days by an awning that electrically extends out from the hardtop. Forward to either side are steps to the side decks with good guard- and grabrails. To starboard in the cockpit, a stepped ladder leads up to the sundeck that provides a unique vantage area to relax – a real highlight of the MC4S.

The saloon flows seamlessly forward from the cockpit through large, stainless-framed glass doors to form a wide-open entertaining space. A full-facility galley is immediately to port, across from L-shaped lounges around an extendable table with a slide-out ottoman for another seat. The helm is ahead of these lounges, at a higher level for better visibility.

A curved set of stairs forward portside in the saloon leads down to the accommodation with a full-beam owner’s stateroom amidships – an unexpected delight in a 45ft cruiser. It has an island queen bed, optional TV, plenty of headroom and stowage and lots of natural light through monster portholes each side. The roomy en suite bathroom is forward to starboard while further toward the stem is a guest stateroom with an island double berth and its own en suite.

Throughout, there is an abundance of storage (including provision for a washer/dryer) and everything is beautifully finished using Alpi brushed oak and carefully selected fabrics and carpets. There are any number of thoughtful attention-to-detail features – though the luxury is not overstated and the ambience is one of welcome and relaxation.

AT THE WHEEL

At the helm, a double seat lets a mate keep the skipper company. Both are well served by a top-class layout with controls and displays ideally located for easy and efficient use. Visibility is quite good, especially with a one-piece screen devoid of any view-interrupting central supports, although the steeply slanted A-pillars are a bit obstructive when looking out to the forward quarters.

Driving the MC4S was a delight with smoothly responsive steering and throttles/shifts. The throttles were linear and the Volvo IPS systems gave pleasing performance with eight knots (14.8km/h) at 1500rpm leading to mid-range cruising of 12.1 knots (22.4km/h) at 2500rpm and on to a full-throttle speed touching 26 knots (48.2km/h) at 3600rpm.

Just a light touch was needed on the wheel for turns, which the hull and props executed admirably with moderate banking. A set of well-sized trim tabs further add to the controllability of the MC4S, giving the skipper immediate control of trim angles both fore/aft and laterally. There’s a reversing camera, too, and the joystick at berthing speeds made docking so easy and relaxing.

For comfort, fun and opulence afloat, the MC4S is right on the ball with a special cachet that’s hard to equal. It has many more features than mentioned here so, if this review has at all lifted your heart rate, you need to contact Sundance Marine and personally inspect a Monte Carlo tout de suite.

MONTE CARLO MC4S

LOA: 13.9m

Beam: 4.06m

Draft: 1.12m

Displacement: 11,398kg

Sleeping capacity: 4 persons

Fuel capacity: 1070lt

Water capacity: 400lt

Engine (as tested): Twin 370hp Volvo IPS500 diesels

Price from: $935,000

Price as tested: $1,130,915

More information: Sundance Marine, tel: 1300 55 00 89. Web: sundancemarine.com.au.


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Boat
Cruiser
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