This bold looking yet understated 45-footer may not get your pulse racing, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Text and photos by Kevin Green. Additional photos by Monte Carlo.
The single-level entry is seamless, but a large drain separates the areas. A couple of strides and a step up take you to the main console, with wide portside stairway down to the cabins. This review boat, hull #1 of the Sedan model, came with a central Simrad screen that proved easily readable thanks to the angle of the console and most of the other key controls were to hand as well – twin throttles with IPS joystick behind and fuel cut-offs nearby.
Above on the console, lay the trim tabs beside the bow thruster joystick. The analogue controls are clear and easily readable (even in direct sunlight), including the compass and chunky switches for main controls.
The wide helm seat is a comfy perch and the electric windows on both sides open to allow crew communication and ventilation. The key Sedan feature, the electric sliding skylight comes with blinds that prevent glare on the instrumentation. Out front and a long way from the console, the single-piece glass screen with twin wipers provides clear views.
The functional galley has a two-ring ceramic top with electric stove/ microwave beneath and the stainless steel sink is hidden under the Corian worktop. Stylish touches include the rectangular sink tap that pivots and the leather handles on lockers. Cupboard space is just about adequate with under-bench cupboard and an overhead locker.
White goods included a single-drawer dishwasher and there’s space below decks for the washer/dryer. For food and drinks, there is a front-opening fridge handily placed aft for handing out the sundowners. The fridge door and all cabinetry are stylishly finished in Alpi brushed oak.
Spacious Double Cabins
The accommodation layout has two spacious cabins, with guest one forward and a voluminous stateroom aft that uses the full 4.04m beam. Being near the engines, I spent some time in it while underway – lying on the queen bed being mesmerised by the kaleidoscope of colours from the swells gushing over the Plexiglas main windows – and wasn’t unduly bothered by the noise from the twin Volvos.
Similar to its siblings, the ceiling here has an intrusive bulkhead so mind your head as you alight from the bed but the deep well at its foot gives more headroom (2.03m). Longitudinal benches line both sides that includes storage on port, so along with twin wardrobes the MC4S is more than just a weekender.
The en-suite has a separate shower cubicle, roomy vanity/sink and electric Quietflush head. The standard of Alpi carpentry is very good throughout and only slightly let down by sharp edges and some plastic locks. The guest cabin in the forepeak shares the day-head in the corridor – a spacious shower area, rounded sink and stylish Alpi veneers throughout, well lit by a large skylight and opening portlight. The cabin enjoys the volume from the tall topsides and full bows. Here, twin portlights on each side create a cross flow of air and storage includes double cupboards and underneath the island bed.
The aft teak deck is a useful alfresco place under the protective flybridge with optional electric roll-out canvas bimini completely covering the area. Just step down on to the teak swim platform to wet your feet, or even wet a line.
There’s a hydraulic option for easy dinghy launches with custom Williams 285 Turbojet tender and cradle available in the same paintwork as the chosen hull shade, if you choose the Exclusive trim level. Down here you can also flip a lid to reveal a grill for easy barbecues of your catch and wash up afterwards in the integrated sink.
Elsewhere on the topsides of the MC4S practicalities abound, such as the walk-around decks and tall guardrails that lead you forward. The rounded foredeck has ample space for the twin sunpads, while the pulpit is protected by high rails. There’s also a bow ladder for those beach entries.
The vertical 1,000W Lewmar windlass comes with remote control and drops the chain into a deep locker, so there should be no anchoring dramas – but the cleat sizes could be larger. With the hook firmly dropped, it’s time to relax and checkout the petite flybridge.
Retaining a feature of the original MC5, the aft flybridge is rather cosy but it’s double sunpad bench suffices for a couple to enjoy the elevated views that you share with the central gantry for the Simrad 4G broadband radar.
Making The Monte Carlo
Like the MC5 and MC6, the MC4S is built near Beneteau’s headquarters in the Vendee region of western France but the larger, premium models – MCY65, 70 and 80 – come from the company’s modern facility in Monfalcone, Italy.
What they share is more than just styling DNA but also includes quality fixtures and fittings – including those Nemo windows and German Koblenz door hinges. The volume of the MC4S is disguised stylishly thanks to hard chines with two bilge keels rising steeply to the narrow, plumb bow with just enough flare to deflect swells as I found out when punching through our wake.
The build is balsa cored GRP sandwich, incorporating a solid fibreglass grid for structural integrity while the deck and bulkheads are infused sandwich.
Precision in construction, as I saw during a yard visit, comes from extensive use of robotics, six-axis CNC machines and complex production line programming that may lack the soul of some handcrafted opposition, but is reflected in sharper pricing – as long as you don’t go crazy on all the options.
The engine room is similar to the MC5, with twin Volvo six-cylinder D6 producing 370HP each through an IPS 500 jackshaft driven gearbox and fed by twin 550-litre fuel tanks.
The forward-facing pod propellers are criticised for their vulnerability to being hit by debris, but their manoeuvrability is beyond argument. Opening the large aft cockpit hatch and climbing down the alloy ladder gives easy access to them and I comfortably moved around to view the filters and oil ways, while the 11kw Cummins Onan generator is set against the transom.
Switch panels are high on portside with inverter and other electrics, while starboard are pumps and other plumbing; so the MC4S has a well-organised engine room. Beneath, deep bilges ensure that any water ingress is dealt with, without damaging systems. Using IPS Pod drives with jackshafts has put the motors well aft, adding volume in the Owner’s cabin.
Alongside its sibling MC5S, its hard to tell the difference between the two apart from one fewer porthole on the MC4S, and of course a matter of nearly five feet. Handling any tall cruiser is a challenge in a side breeze, so we were glad to have the bow thruster to aid the pod drives as we slid away from the quay.
Gliding past the stone piers with only a murmur from the sixcylinder Volvos I made myself comfortable at the helm, slightly fumbling to reach the trim tabs above the throttles as the revs increased.
Like an elongated sports car, the steering wheel is a long way back from the front because of the extended space ahead of the console. This exacerbates the bow rise but clicking the trim tabs to about 50% brought the horizon back as we cruised at a comfortable 20 knots, consuming 105 litres per hour in total before putting the throttles fully down to reach a rather underwhelming 26 knots top speed with revs peaking at 3,250 and fuel burn of 145l/h.
On the plus side, handling the MC4S is predictable – a very moderate angle of heel as I put the hard-chined hull through some figure-of-eight turns. Visibility suffered when heeled hard over, so I found myself lowering my head to peer anxiously around, the wide side struts limiting my view. It’s best to open the sunroof for a peek when in closed waters.
Hitting a few swells brought no complaints (or squeaks from furniture) from the sturdy 11.5 tonne hull or much water on deck, which just left one more manoeuvre – slow handling. This is where the swivelling pod drives excel, especially with the intuitive nature of the joystick that is pushed in the desired direction of travel and twisted to increase power.
Going astern was done obediently, even in the side swell coming from faraway mainland Spain, so the MC4S shouldn’t give you dramas in busy marinas but there’s even an option for aft deck controls as well.
In fact, the MC4S is all about not giving you dramas. This may not make it a sportster, but it remains a very capable cruiser.