I had the luck of having a talk with Eric Stomberg about the boat. Eric belongs to Jeanneau america and was very influential on the design of that boat. He is the one that played the "owner" part with Philippe Briand , the NA and the boat was made accordingly with what he thought it would be the right 40ft cruising.
I believe that much of the success of that boat is due to him. He is also a sailor and at the time (the first boats were being delivered), he didn't miss a delivery to have the opportunity to test the boat. He give me a lot of insight about the boat sailing qualities and I felt that he was a honest straightforward and very nice guy.
I find the interior design very agreeable specially on the 2 cabin model. And I like the boat that even on the 3 cabin has a decent storage. Personally that would be the boat that I would chose among all mass production 40fts, main market. But as I said that is personal, there are also other fine boats on that class.
I like more the interior and also the type of hull, more narrow than the others and with one of the best B/D ratios (taking into consideration draft and type of keel). They have also a performance package that will make it even faster and it is the only boat of that class that uses infusion. That makes is as strong as the competition and substantially lighter, with a better performance.
The only one that comes close is the Hanse 415, also a good design but I don't like the interior and I prefer the concept of lighter with less sail then heavier with more sail.
The Hanse is also maximized for downwind sailing while the Jeanneau has in my opinion a better overall balance in what regards performance: I sail upwind (many cruisers don't, they use the engine) and I like boats with a good upwind performance, and the jeanneau has a good one for a main market cruiser.
They even can run a German main-sheet system if you want to give you full control of the main at the wheel. The only thing I don't like is the two lonely winches on the cockpit and the impossibility of having another two. That is alright with the self taking jib but with a genoa or a geenaker two more would come handy. Anyway, only two winches in the cockpit is the rule to all in that class, with the exception of the Bavaria that is the only one that offer 4 winches in the cockpit as an option.
I agree with you about the Bavaria. I don't like the interior, even if functional and the boat looks left much to be desired. Curiously it is a good hull. They use the boat in a lighter version for Match racing in Germany and it sails much better than what I thought possible. Well, it is a Farr design
They are making a new boat (with the same hull?) along the lines of the 56 and 33 and I expect that the improvements that the 56 shows on overall design and interior design quality would show also on the new 40.