Benelli is a lesser-known brand of jet ski, less popular, at least in the United States, than Yamaha, Kawasaki, or Sea-Doo. The company, founded in 2004 in Pöchlarn, Austria, is based in Europe. The company has been rebranded and resold several times, and today is better known as Belassi. They make the Burrasca jet ski, among others.
Benelli’s most famous model was the Hydro 4, which got a lot of attention when it was launched in 2005 for being “the World’s First Four-Stroke Stand-Up jet ski.” The Hydro 4 was powered by a turbocharged, 749cc 4-stroke twin engine rated at 110 HP.
Two of Benelli’s other models were also popular. They are the Benelli B3R and the Benelli B3S. Despite never achieving mainstream success and ultimately being discontinued, these PWCs remain highly sought after among stalwart enthusiasts. However, first-time buyers find themselves confused by these two models, which at first glance appear very similar.
In this article, we hope to clarify the differences between the B3R and the B3S, and educate first-time buyers so they can make an informed decision about which of these models is best for them.
Benelli B3R and B3S
The Benelli B3 series was produced from 2012 to 2016. It was part of the new Benelli rebrand that was launched after the failure of the company’s first product lineup in 2008. A press event celebrating the release of their new models in 2009 ended with the sinking of two jet skis. Out of six PWCs demonstrated that day, only two actually worked.
The Benelli series launched in 2012 fared a little better than the 2008 products. The launch was delayed several times due to manufacturing difficulties. The hulls of the jet skis were easily susceptible to damage, and electrical and engine problems plagued the new lineup.
By the time the company successfully launched the new line, it was too late for it to ever pick up enough momentum to achieve commercial success. Both the B3R and the B3S were discontinued in 2017 and the company rebranded to Belassi.
Putting aside the launch difficulties and problems with the initial models, let’s take a look at the actual specifications of the B3R and B3S.
The Benelli B3R is a 4-stroke, 3-cylinder PWC that has been called “the World’s most powerful PWC.” Despite its rocky start, it is beloved by many fans of European watercraft.
R for “Runabout”
The “R” in the name B3R stands for “Runabout.” This was the name given to the series of B3 models that could carry up to 3 passengers and were intended to be ridden in a sitting position. The B3R was further categorized into four subgroups: the B3R Pure, B3R Cruise, B3R Dynamic, and B3R Sport.
The B3R Pure was the entry-level model in the B3R lineup. It featured a 150HP engine and a limited feature set. It was touted as being easy to handle and good for beginner riders. It was also one of the most fuel-efficient jet skis on the market.
Due to its small seat, the model was only rated for two riders. In addition to its 150HP engine, the PWC featured Off-throttle assistance, in-dashboard GPS, mode selections, an Electric Reverse System, and adjustable rear sponsors as standard features.
The B3R Cruise was similar to the B3R Pure except for its slightly more powerful, naturally-aspirated engine. It delivered 180HP, and due to its larger seat, was rated for up to 3 passengers. The Cruise also had a slightly larger feature set, including a larger 26.5 gallon fuel tank, and a water ski mode that allowed it to be used for towing.
The B3R Dynamic was still considered an entry-level ski, but came with a turbocharged option. The engine was available up to 265HP, and you could order an optional advanced Dynamic Braking System. The seat, like the Cruise, was large enough to accommodate 3 riders.
In addition to the rest of the features, the Dynamic also had a cruise control standard (it was optional for the Cruise model), and water ski mode. Optional features included a reboarding ladder and rental mode.
The 3BR Sport was the high-performance racing model of the 3BR lineup. It was the flagship of the B3R line, intended for both serious racers and advanced recreational riders. The model came with a massively powerful turbocharged 315HP engine, as well as a rich feature set.
The Benelli 3BS was arguably the flagship of the entire Benelli lineup. It came in two variants, the B3S Extreme and the B3S Dynamic. These two models were very similar in hull shape and size, and the main difference between them was the engine and their performance.
S for “Standup”
The “S” in the B3S name stands for “Standup” which implies that the ski is only big enough for one rider, and is intended to be ridden mostly standing. A Standup ski is usually harder to control and therefore has a lower horsepower than a “Runabout” model.
The B3S Extreme featured a 1602cc, 3-cylinder, 4-stroke engine that is considered to be one of the most outstanding engines produced for a PWC.it featured a dry-sump oil system, open-loop cooling, and a water-cooled downpipe exhaust system.
The Extreme was a turbocharged system that delivered 180HP. That meant it could achieve speeds of up to 65mph in ideal conditions. For such a small PWC, that was quite a lot of speed.
The B3S Dynamic featured the same 1602cc, 3-cylinder, 4-stroke engine as the Extreme model, however, the engine wasn’t turbocharged; it was naturally aspirated. The Dynamic also came in a range of different color schemes to the Extreme.
Both models featured identical hulls of 96.46 inches in length, 28.74 inches in width, and 26.38 inches in height. The dry weight of both skis was 439 pounds, which is very light.
Specifications and Features
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the basic specs of the B3R Sport and B3S Dynamic.
|Benelli B3R Sport||137 in||47 in||837 lbs||3||18.5 gal|
|Benelli B3S Dynamic||96 in||28 in||439l bs||1||4.5 gal|
|Benelli B3R Sport||Marine 3-cylinder, 4-stroke||1602cc||135HP / 180HP||Open-loop||Multi-point fuel injection, naturally aspirated|
|Benelli B3S Dynamic||Marine 3-cylinder, 4-stroke||1602cc||315HP||Closed-loop||Turbocharged with an external water-cooled injector|
When it comes to choosing between the B3R and the B3S for a first-time buyer, we recommend evaluating your needs and what you hope to get from the PWC.
Are you a performance-minded racing enthusiast who plans to do mostly solo riding and possibly compete? If so, we recommend you go for the B3S Extreme Turbocharged model. This will give you maximum performance and handling in a small, lightweight, single-person ski.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for a family-friendly PWC that you can take on lake trips and ride with your kids, go for the B3R. From there, if you are a new rider who doesn’t care about a lot of fancy features and you don’t need to fit many people on your ski, the B3R Pure is probably your best bet. If you want to tow people or do watersports, go for the Cruise or Dynamic models. And if you’re looking for something that can double as a solo ride and give you some powerful performance, go for the Sport.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $3000 – $7000 for a used B3S, and anywhere from $3000 to $10,000 for a used B3R. What you pay will depend on the condition of the ski, the features it has, and the owner’s willingness to part with it.
Where to Buy
Unfortunately, due to its limited success, neither the B3R nor B3S is widely available in the US. Very few of them ever made it over here during the few years that they were sold, so finding a secondhand model in good condition is tough.
If you’re serious about purchasing one of these Benelli models, you may have more success in Europe, where the company is based and where most of the units were sold. Ads like these pop up from time to time more regularly on that side of the pond.
If you can’t find a used B3R or B3S, you may want to look into the company’s newer offerings, under their new name, Belassi. The latest Burassca model—dubbed a “hypercraft”— features a 320HP engine, and is rumored to reach speeds of up to 70mph at full tilt in ideal conditions. That’s a lot of power! It apparently exerts a force of up to 3gs while turning. This is not a jet ski for the faint of heart.
The Benelli 3BR and 3BS series was a line of jet skis released by the European company Benelli in the years between 2012 and 2016. The main difference between the “S” model and the “R” model is that the S is a single-person ski, intended for stand-up riding, while the R is a multi-passenger vehicle that’s better suited for families and watersports.
The skis unfortunately never took off due to manufacturing problems with the hulls which led to many delays in the launch. Today, a few of them can be found through some secondhand sites. The company has since rebranded to Belassi, and now releases a high-performance “hypercraft” called the Burassca.