The 40.7 would be a notch up, I'd expect and should be a good one too. I'm not sure that there's anything readily available in the NA market that would beat any of the 'Firsts' on that comparison scale (performance AND comfort cruising) except perhaps the J 109 and her larger sisters.. but cost is a big factor there.
If you're following PCPs thread you'll know there are plenty of Euro models that would suit.. shame they are not more widely marketed here though they'd likely be very expensive if they were.
Faster, if someone is thinking in buying a relatively recent 37/40ft performance boat the best place to do it is Europe and with some luck in French Martinique.
The choice is much bigger and the prices better. I say a relatively recent boat because a recent one (10 year old boat) if well chose will be ready with a minimal preparation to cross the Atlantic.
I agree the First 40.7 is a great boat but there are performance boats with better interior. Probably the best deal in what money regards is the Dufour 40 but you have plenty interesting boats: Salona 37, Elan 37, Elan 40, Comet 38 and 41, GrandSoleil 37 and 40, wauquiez 41, Dehler 36 and 39, not to mention more expensive Nordic boats like x 37 and 40, Arcona 400 and 37, Finngulf 37 and many others.
Sometimes the prices in the used market of what where once very expensive boats is surprisingly close to the price what where much less expensive boats. Probably the best places to buy boats now is Portugal, Spain and specially Italy where Grandsoleils and Comets can be bought at less than half the price.
For the ones that are eventually interested I know of a nice dealer that works with Grand Soleil and sell boats with a one year warranty (given by Grand Soleil).