On Test

Fairline Targa 40 Review (2024 Edition)

Is the all-new Fairline Targa 40 the best 40ft sportscruiser money can buy? Read our in-depth review to find out

Fairline has certainly thrown the kitchen sink at the Targa 40. It’s brand new with naval architecture from the prolific design stable of J&J and an exterior and interior drawn by Fairline’s in-house team.

It looks gorgeous and it goes well, too. It’s got twin sterndrives and a combined output of 760hp from its pair of 6-cylinder diesel Volvos for a top speed in the region of 35 knots and the cockpit is dripping with clever features. The price raised a few eyebrows when it was launched at Düsselddorf but we’re going to cover that later in the review. In the world of 40ft sportcruisers, is this as good as it gets?

Fairline Targa 40 Key Facts

Fairline Targa 40 illustration
  • LOA 12m
  • Model Year 2024
  • Cabins 4
  • Max Speed 33 knots
  • Status In Production
  • Generations 2
  • Yacht Type Sports Yacht
  • Use Type Cruising

Test & Review Video

Performance & Handling

Around the Marina

The canvas sunroof makes itself useful in multiple ways but the view it gives you when entering or leaving a berth is one of its best assets. The drop-down step at the helm means you can stand with your head clear of the windscreen for a great all-around view and, importantly, a really easy way to communicate with those handling the lines and fenders. 

The boat runs on twin sterndrives with the option to add a proportional bow thruster and joystick (see Our Options & Pick, below). The joystick simplifies the whole process and with their hydraulic clutches, the latest sterndrives feel much smoother being called in and out of gear when the joystick is put to use. For those upgrading to a boat of this size for the first time, the joystick is an attractive option but those familiar with twin throttles and a bow thruster will find the Targa 40 a very easy boat to move around the marina. It responds well to steering inputs, the bow thruster is potent and there's plenty of grunt into gear from the pair of 6-cylinder engines. 

It's an easy boat to crew, too. There is plenty of deck storage to swallow the fenders and lines and there's a neat step integrated into the starboard balcony to ease access to the side deck. The decks aren't that wide but with handholds aplenty and tall guardrails, it feels perfectly safe to move around. Again, being able to open the sunroof ajar to talk to the crew when anchoring is useful. 

fairline-targa-40-sunroof
The sunroof offers a great view when entering a marina
fairline-targa-40-helm
The optional bow thruster and joystick make life easy at slow speed

At Sea

There are two versions of the same engine block available, twin Volvo Penta D6 with either 340hp or 380hp. Our test boat had the larger ones and the bulk of Targa 40s will likely have these fitted. The smaller ones will feel a bit gutless, especially mid-season when there's some growth on the hull, and when it comes to resale most buyers will be looking for boats with bigger motors.

The twin 380s are a perfect match for the Targa 40. Top speed isn't barnstorming (we hit 33 knots on a two-way run with full fuel and four crew on board) but it cruises very comfortably at 25-30 knots, where it returns a cruising range of 200-215nm. Acceleration from a standstill is lively and there is plenty of punch mid-range, too, where the torquey D6s can haul the boat out of troughs with ease. 

Fairline worked with Slovenian outfit J&J for the 40's naval architecture, as it did with the smaller F Line 33, and it's a joy to discover that the Targa has inherited its little sister's agility and willingness to play. It's supremely agile and an utter treat to thread from lock-to-lock, the boat pivoting gracefully beneath you. In a following swell, it would be in its element but even in the grisly 1-1.5m chop we faced during our test in the Solent, the hull shone. It's remarkably dry, too, and these were conditions with lots of spray and high winds where a hull shape often gets found out when it comes to the dryness of the ride. 

Volvo's Trim Assist didn't quite get the boat running at the right angle for me so the manual override came in useful and allowed me to tune the trim attitude for the conditions. This is another major benefit of sterndrives, the ability to be able to fine-tune both the trim blades and the legs independently. 

The sunroof is great at sea, too, and offers brilliant flexibility depending on the weather conditions. And when it's back the boat feels truly open, a benefit of having a canvas roof instead of a GRP or glass one. Canvas can sometimes be quite noisy, especially at cruising speed heading to wind, but that's not the case on the Targa 40, the mechanism is reassuringly quiet with the roof open and closed. 

With a 950-litre fuel capacity, the range is a little disappointing at higher cruising speeds but it will be fine for the type of cruising that most owners will use this boat for. Overall, it's an impressive boat to drive but there are some issues to rectify, as you'll discover in the Helm Station section below. 

fairline-targa-40-running
The J&J hull is soft riding, agile and dry
fairline-targa-40-running
The twin sterndrives feel fantastic at speed

Design & Build

fairline-targa-40-running
Can you think of a better looking 40-footer?
fairline-targa-40-cockpit
The (optional) balcony is a key part of the design
fairline-targa-40-saloon
The quality of the interior is outstanding

Fairline has chucked the kitchen sink at the design and construction of the Targa 40 and it doesn't take long to work out that though it's pricey compared to most of its European rivals it is a cut above in terms of attention to detail and fit and finish. It's a fantastic-looking boat from every angle, too, with its upright bow and glorious sleek, swooping roofline. Kudos to Fairline's in-house design team, responsible for this model's exterior and interior design. 

It's well-proportioned, too, this isn't a 40 that's actually 45ft long, it has to be contained to sit neatly between the F33 and Targa 45 and Fairline has got that right on the money. It comes as a bit of a surprise quite how spacious the boat feels on board despite its taught dimensions.

One of the standout achievements on board is how similar the 40 feels to its bigger and more expensive stablemates in the range. The walnut gloss finish (an option) is the same as you'll find on the Phantom 65 and Squadron 58/68 and there are familial touchpoints throughout that signpost the fact that you are buying into a quality brand. The 40 is the second smallest boat in the range but in no way does it feel like the poor relation.

The main talking point on deck is the optional "beach club" (by that they mean the balcony) and the clever seating pods that dominate the aft end of the boat. They've even found space for a small tender garage, though you'll need to upgrade to a Targa 45 if you want to fit a Williams jet tender on board. 

The layout of the lower deck is fixed with a double owner's cabin forward, which is ensuite to the only bathroom on board, and an amidships guest cabin where you can upgrade to have the option to switch the berth between a double bed or two singles.

Interior Accommodation

fairline-targa-40-dinette
As an option, the dinette converts to a double berth
fairline-targa-40-galley
They galley is small but well designed
fairline-targa-40-bathroom
There is only one bathroom but it's a good size

Given its sleek profile, the spaciousness of the lower deck areas aboard the Targa 40 is quite a treat. There's towering headroom in the main saloon and the feeling of space is bolstered by the amount of natural light that flows into the area. The skylight is, oddly, a cost option but the hull windows alone maintain a great connection with your surroundings from the high gloss comfort of the lower saloon.

The high gloss timber is an option but it elevates the feeling of luxury to a different level. This is where the Targa most feels a level above its rivals from the higher volume European builders. Glorious woodwork, fiddled storage for crockery and glasses and some of the most beautiful tables you'll find on a production boat. It's all classic Fairline and reaffirms what the new Phantom and Squadron models suggested: Fairline is back to its best with fit and finish. 

The table in the saloon, which opens to double in size for dining, also drops electronically as an option so you can sleep another two people if needed. It would be tight and put pressure on the single bathroom, but it's doable occasionally. 

Opposite, there's a small but well-designed galley with an under-counter fridge, a smattering of storage and a twin-ring induction hob plus microwave but no oven. 

fairline-targa-40-owner-cabin
The owner's cabin, forward
fairline-targa-40-guest-cabin
The guest cabin, amidships, converts to a double as an option

The owner's cabin is forward and connects through a Jack and Jill door to the bathroom. It's a bit tight at the end of the bed to get changed but the headroom is over 6ft and the bed is a good size with a useful storage void underneath. 

There is a television mounted on the forward bulkhead and a neat bureau and jewellery store that aligns with the end of the bed so you can perch there and get ready. The detail is nice with valuables trays on either side of the bed, reading lights and repeaters for the cabin lighting so you can switch the spots off from the bed.

There may only be one bathroom but it's well-proportioned and large enough to incorporate a separate shower cubicle and a good selection of storage for towels and toiletries. If you want the benefit of a second bathroom for guests, the Galeon 405 HTS has this so could be worth a look.

Guests are looked after in an amidships cabin that, as an option, can be switched between a double or two twins. It's sitting room only over the beds but the "lobby" has more than enough space for someone of over 6ft to get changed. The old Targa 40 didn't have a second bathroom but there was a sink in the guest cabin, which at least meant guests could brush teeth and have a wash without using the head. That feature hasn't made it onto the new 40, sadly. 

A sofa is the standard fit at the end of the bed but you can pay for a storage cabinet, which for guests is probably more useful for longer stays. 

The interior is a genuinely lovely place to be and perfect for those looking to stay on board for longer periods, especially with small children or occasional guests. 

Helm Station

fairline-targa-40-helm-station
The helm looks great but could do with some cupholders
fairline-targa-40-helm-station
The seated view from the helm could be improved

The helm station is an all-new design and though there are plenty of familiar Fairline features it has some nice new additions. Principally, the smart idea to mount the smaller MFD upright, like a car's infotainment screen, so it's much easier to read and use than having it mounted flush in the dash. Twin 12in MFDs are a cost option but there is plenty of space to fit one or even two 16in screens if you prefer. 

Fairline's propriety boat management software can be displayed on all three screens. This slick-looking branded system gives you sight and control of the boat's major systems and delivers engine and performance information when the boat is moving. 

The helm design is lovely but there are some odd omissions. Though the shallow tray at knee level is useful for loose items, the helm is devoid of cup holders except for two rather shallow ones on the other side of the companionway. The flap that conceals things like the ignition and start/stop buttons, chain counter and spotlight control needs something to hold it up, too. 

Another issue is the view from the helm seat. It's set too low as it stands so getting over the hump or in rough conditions where the boat is running at around 15 knots, even someone of 6ft tall needs to stand to see over the bow. That rakish windowline, glorious as it looks from the outside, creates quite a blind spot, too. An electric hi-lo helm seat is a cost option and it's one worth having to help rectify this issue. 

That said, the beauty of this design is that you can peel the sunroof back and stand up with a clear all round view, especially with the footrest in its down position.

On Deck

fairline-targa-40-cockpit
The clever cockpit feels very spacious
fairline-targa-40-balcony
The balcony is £30,000 but it transforms the space
fairline-targa-40-cockpit
The table collapses away (as an option)

The deck spaces are an area where the Targa 40 shines. The balcony, or "beach club" as Fairline terms it, is a costly option but it makes all the difference out on the water. It's nicely executed, too, with a slick hydraulic mechanism that pushes the guardrail out to meet the fixed rail on the side deck as it comes up and a neat step that pops out to help you forward. It's remarkable how the feeling of space improves once the platform is down.

The seating aft is clever, too. Both have two-way backrests to create aft-facing sun pads but a ratchet system on the starboard one allows you to create a bench facing over the balcony; a lovely spot to sit and watch the world go by.

In the centre of the cockpit, there's a well-specified wet bar that backs up against the helm seats with a grill, sink, fridge and bin and some storage for crockery so you don't always have to head below to the galley to plate up. It's a good unit but some proper catches on the doorfronts would be an improvement on the weak magnets, which allow the doors to pop open if it's bumpy at sea. 

Another great Fairline innovation (though it is a cost option) is the cockpit table that collapses into the seating. Brilliant if you want more space to relax or remove an obvious obstacle if you're on longer passages. When it's lunchtime, pull away the cushions, heave out the table and you're good to go - it's a great idea. 

Opposite the helm, there is a bench/chaise longue that works just as well when the boat is stationary
as it does as a spot for guests to gather when the boat is on the move. It's under the sunroof to catch the sun but also very well protected by the windscreen even with the roof open. 

Up front, the sunpads have the same ratchet backrest as the seats at the stern so you can sit up or sunbathe and the same function creates a neat little bench right forward, which is a nice addition.  

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The Targa 40 is pricey but quality is high

Value For Money

There were a few comments about the Targa 40’s price after its launch at Düsseldorf. We tested the very same boat that was at the show and, as is often the case with hull number one, it’s loaded with pretty much every optional extra on the list.

The base price with the smallest engines is £550,000 ex VAT and the standard spec includes things like Seadeck flooring on the main deck, VHF & autopilot, saloon TV with Fusion audio and a full set of crockery and bedding.

Our Options & Pick

However, must-have options for us include the bow thruster (£8,350), generator (£22,950), balcony (£29,950), cockpit grill/fridge (£2,600), cockpit table (£6,450), twin 12in MFDs (£13,200), heating (£12,950) or air-con (£31,450) and a Seakeeper 4 (£73,450) if you're likely to spend a lot of time on anchor. 

A realistic UK spec with most of the toys you’ll want will set you back £645,000 ex VAT and you’ll need to add about £60,000 to that for a Med spec boat, which adds things like the larger engines, a generator, air-conditioning and the passerelle.

Whichever way you cut it, the 40 is more expensive than its rivals from the high-volume European yards and is more in line with its closest rival, the Princess V40, which is built in a very similar way.

Our Verdict

Is this the best 40ft sportcruiser money can buy? If you're comfortable with the premium that you pay over its European rivals then the simple answer is: yes. With the Princess V40 coming to the end of its life the Targa 40 is the new standard bearer for a high-quality 40ft sportcruiser and yes you pay for it but on deck and inside, the 40 is a special place to be. Is it perfect? No, there is work to do on the helm position but everything else is seriously impressive. The driving experience, handling, deck layout and feel of the interior are all top-notch. The Targa 40 is back and it's better than ever. 

Reasons to Buy

  • Sensational looks
  • Dripping with quality
  • Fun to drive
  • Spacious, clever cockpit

Things to Consider

  • View from the helm
  • It's on the pricey side
  • Lots of cost options

Rivals to Consider

The Targa 40's most direct rival is the Princess V40, which has been a great seller for the Plymouth-based builder but is set to be discontinued at the end of 2024. It has a smaller cockpit than the Targa and no tender garage but it's beautifully built and faster, with a top speed of nearly 40 knots. Below, the arrangement is very similar to the Targa.

The Beneteau Gran Turismo 41 is excellent value for money (you can get a decent spec including VAT for the same starting price as the Targa) but it's not finished to anywhere near the same standard. The cockpit is big but there's no tender garage and below the guest cabin has a central walkway with single beds on either side and no option for a double.  

The Bavaria SR41, much like the Beneteau is excellent value for money and feels huge inside but it doesn't look as good as the Targa nor is it as well built. A lot of boat for the money, though, and great fun to drive. 

The Sealine S390 is a clever boat with a huge cockpit. The C390, based on the same platform, has cockpit doors to create a climate-controlled upper saloon, which will be attractive in some markets. The layout is flexible, too, for example, you can remove the galley on the lower deck to significantly increase the size of the bathroom. 

The Galeon 405 HTS comes close to the Fairline in terms of look and feel. Galeon is right up there with their quality and attention to detail these days. One key difference is that you can have the Galeon with a bathroom in the guest cabin, an impressive feat on a boat of this size and something that improves privacy during longer stays on board. 

Specifications & Performance

  • Builder Fairline
  • Range Targa
  • Model Targa 40
Fairline Targa 40 illustration
  • Length Overall 12m
  • Beam 4m
  • Hull GRP
  • Cabins 4
  • Berths 8
  • Yacht Type (Primary) Sports Yacht
  • Use Type (Primary) Cruising
  • Cruising Speed
    Max Speed
  • Fuel Capacity 950 Litres
  • Fresh Water Capacity 250 Litres
  • Engine Model 2x Volvo Penta D6-380

Performance Data

Fairline Targa 40 version 2024. *Data collected by Yacht Buyer during testing.

Test Engines Twin Volvo Penta D6-380

  •  
  • RPM
  • Knots
  • Liters Per Hour
  • Liters Per Mile
  • Range (nm)
  • Decibels
    •  ECO
    • 1,000
    • 6.7
    • 8
    • 1
    • 785
    • 73 
    •  
    • 1,500
    • 9.1
    • 24
    • 3
    • 360
    • 78 
    •  
    • 2,000
    • 10.8
    • 53
    • 5
    • 194
    • 80 
    •  
    • 2,250
    • 11.9
    • 78
    • 7
    • 145
    • 81 
    •  
    • 2,500
    • 15.6
    • 91
    • 6
    • 163
    • 82 
    •  
    • 2,750
    • 20.0
    • 107
    • 5
    • 178
    • 83 
    •  CRUISE
    • 3,000
    • 25.4
    • 118
    • 5
    • 205
    • 84 
    •  
    • 3,250
    • 30.0
    • 133
    • 4
    • 215
    • 83 
    •  MAX
    • 3,600
    • 33.0
    • 162
    • 5
    • 194
    • 84 

Yacht Load: 60 Litres of water 100 Litres of fuel 4 members of crew

Fairline Targa 40 Layout

  • Main Deck Fairline Targa 40

    As standard, the boat comes without a balcony on the starboard side 

  • Main Deck Fairline Targa 40

    To get the best of the design, the balcony is a must-have. It transforms the workings of the main deck 

  • Lower Deck Fairline Targa 40

    The tender garage will hold a 2.3m (inflated) or 2.7m (deflated) tender and a Torqeedo outboard. The garage also has a charger for the motor and an air compressor to inflate the tender 

  • Optional twin convertible layout

    Lower Deck Fairline Targa 40

    As an option, the amidships cabin converts from twins to a double