You do know how to start a pissing contest don't you. This isn't a Hunter fan getting even is it?
The answer to Bene or Catalina is. Bene. Catalina. Anything but a Bene, Catalina, or Hunter! Take your pick!
I think that the Bene 36.7 and 40.7 in your range are great boats. Not as amenable to cruising, but enough to keep most people happy...and fast. The 40.7 would be my first choice.....and I own a Catalina.
The number series and prior to that the Oceanis Series of Bene's are nice entry level boats that will suit your purposes. The new 40 I am not a fan of. I agree that the interior finish is pretty on a new or very well kept Bene, but they do not take the beating a Catalina interior will. Different strokes for different folks again. I think that someone said in an earlier post they are just different and that is true. However, in all of the 3-5 year old boats I have seen the Catalina looked better below. Iron also bothers me for ballast, but these are production boats and they need to cut costs somewhere. It is up to you to figure out where.
I liked the old Catalina 38 better than the 387. It is a great sailing boat ( the boat I sailed was a deep draft) and makes good use of the room below. I prefer the 400 to all three of your Catalina choices, although there is nothing wrong with any of them.
Let the pissing contest continue!