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All images: Courtesy of Azimut

Front and centre: Test driving Azimut’s 15m Verve 48

10 January 2024 • Written by Kevin Koenig

Azimut’s 15-metre Verve 48 taps into the centre console market, and with its horsepower, grip and cruise-friendly credentials, Kevin Koenig thinks it’s going to be a winner...

One of the nice things about being an American sea trialling a boat in Europe is that you can get away with being a little rude. They almost expect it from us uncouth Yanks. And a lot can get lost in the translation – for instance, if you’re testing a boat with a bunch of Italians in the Baie de Cannes, and they want to stay out 20 minutes longer, but you have a pressing appointment on shore. You can get away with commandeering the helm and running the boat hard back to the dock, all in the name of getting accurate speed numbers. I speak from experience. I’m just lucky the boat I’m aboard is the very fast and fun-to-drive Azimut Verve 48, which I got up to 47.6 knots.

The line was introduced as an Italian answer to the centre console, as the Europeans saw the US market go bonkers for them

The latest iteration in the wildly popular Verve series is the largest yet at 15 metres, besting its now discontinued sistership the Verve 47 (14.5 metres). A Verve 42 is also in production. The line was introduced as an Italian answer to the centre console, as the Europeans saw the US market go bonkers for them in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis and after the introduction of highly innovative and powerful new outboard propulsion systems. This 48 was designed specifically for the imposing 600hp Mercury Verado V12s.

The 47 sold well, particularly in Florida, outfitted with quad 450-horsepower Mercury Racing 450Rs. Verves have sold so well, in fact, that the one I trial in France is the first of any Verve model to be available for sea trials in Europe. “Every single [Verve] unit we’ve ever built was sold,” says Federico Ferrante, president of Azimut-Benetti USA, “90 per cent in the United States.  We never were in possession of a unit that we could show in Europe, if you can believe that.”

The line sold so well that "we never were in possession of a unit that we could show in Europe, if you can believe that.”

Despite its evident popularity, the main knock on the Verve 47 was that it was loud – like really, really loud. I sea trialled one off Fort Lauderdale a while back and I remember the sensation as simply being too intense for the average boating enthusiast. Sporty is one thing, but that was another level. “You couldn’t run that boat for very long, over to the Bahamas, say, without earplugs,” says Ferrante. “In a racing environment that’s cool; in a cruising environment, not so much.”

The 450Rs on the Verve 47 were essentially recreated versions of the engines Mercury sells to the go-fast market. Noise and durability are not of paramount concern there. They only need to win. With the 600s on the new 48, Azimut found a better match, as they were designed for the non-racing crowd. Notably, the triple 600s provide the same amount of horsepower as the quad 450s, but with less drag, which aids in efficiency. With the bigger but more genteel motors, the 48 runs a full 10 decibels more quietly than the 47. “It’s the difference between a sedan and a racing car,” says Ferrante.

"The Verve 48 runs a full 10 decibels more quietly than the 47. It’s the difference between a sedan and a racing car”


Of course, for a builder like Azimut, handling is only part of the equation. Design and onboard comfort were also of paramount concern.

Which is not to say that the 48 isn’t plenty of fun to drive, as I find on my mad dash back to shore. It exhibits excellent acceleration both from a standstill and up through its RPM range. In slaloms the hull is pleasingly grippy and the same can be said for hard-overs as well.

Of course, for a builder like Azimut, handling is only part of the equation. Design and onboard comfort were also of paramount concern.

One place where Ferrante says the new engines made a great improvement from the 47 to the 48 is at the swim platform, which now has much more navigable space to port and starboard since the triple engine set-up takes up less beam. When combined with the fold-out terrace to port, this feature makes the Verve’s main deck excellent for entertaining larger groups. Azimut also equipped this boat with four televisions – including a 55-inch one on the main deck – and loads of cold storage for drinks, in a nod to the thirsty US market. A bar and grill set-up aft of the helm station is now an island layout (the 47’s grill station only had a  walkway to port), which improves circulation on the boat as well.

What you have with the Azimut Verve 48 is a boat where the tail wags the dog, in that she was built for the big new engines

What you have with the Azimut Verve 48 is a boat where the tail wags the dog, in that she was built for the big new engines. It’s a smart evolution for Azimut to recognise the importance of the technological breakthrough represented by the new Verados and adjust accordingly. The engines and the boat certainly work well in concert together – which is to say, I made my next appointment with time to spare.

Meet the hull wizard
The Verve 48’s slick handling should come as no surprise, since once again Azimut enlisted the hull wizard Michael Peters for the job. The veteran American designer – who has drawn up bottoms for around 20 different militaries worldwide, by his count – employed his patented double-stepped hull design for the 48, as he had done for previous Verves.
“When Merc came out with the 12-cylinder engines [the 600s] they asked our firm to introduce them, and we did that with Valhalla Boatworks [Viking’s centre console brand] and Azimut,” says Peters. “The Italians were reluctant at first, as they thought no one could ever want a 600hp outboard. The Viking guys wanted to put 10 on the back!”
Peters says his hull design, which employs a tunnel near the transom that stops the boat from spinning out in tight turns, is excellent for a fast boat that needs to be safe. And it explains the tight and secure handling I felt during my time at the wheel.

Azimut Verve 48
LOA: 15.03m
Beam: 4.1m
Draught: 1.28m
Displacement: 17.8T
Engines: 3 x 600hp Mercury Verado V12
Speed (max/cruise): 50/37 knots
Fuel Capacity: 2,340l
Freshwater Capacity: 300l
Price from €1,150,000

First published in the February 2024 issue of BOAT International. Subscribe now and never miss an issue. 

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