Mercury is at the forefront of outboard technology and breaking barriers with each new engine introduction. First, with their all-new V12 600hp and all the innovations that go into that motor, and now with the release of the first-of-its-kind V10 5.7L 350 and 400hp Verado outboards. Designed from the ground up as an all-new Verado, these V10 outboards perform unlike other outboards in their class. Quiet and efficient, these outboards deliver impressive power and smoothness that can be felt no matter where you are on the throttle. Chock full of new technology, they are sure to please any discriminating boater.
Mercury recently released these new outboards to the media at their test facility in Florida known as Lake X. This lake and their R&D facilities on the lake are legendary among boat builders and designers. Mercury has been testing and developing their engines on Lake X since the 1950s, and the latest engines the media saw were a far cry from those running the lake in years past. At the lake on the day of the release were a variety of boats, from aluminum lake boats and bass boats from Lund and pontoon boats from Barletta to large multi-engine outboard center consoles from Freeman, Intrepid, Valhalla and SeaVee, among others. All were at our disposal to test and see the virtues of the all-new 5.7L V10 Verados. None of them were disappointing. Each boat is at the epitome of its class and size, and each displayed the capabilities of the new V10 engines in its own way. All were impressive in their performance.
Mercury released these new naturally aspirated V10s as an alternative to the existing L-400 series. Built from the ground up as an all-new design, these outboards are built on a V10 block, designed and cast by Mercury in-house. Taking cues from their casting of the V12 engines, the block of the V10 is narrow and tall, resulting in the ability to mount multiple engines just 26 inches on-center, just like their V8 engines. This allows for more room at the transom and the ability to hang more horsepower on capable boats. Tall and Narrow, these V10s have a look all their own, and many design details went into the overall look of the engine. From the available built-in hydroelectric steering to the service points access door in the cowling, the design is as practical as it is eye-catching. The all-new electrical steering produces more responsive steering that is certainly noticeable at the helm. For builders and riggers it is also easy to rig due to its simplicity. With the components built into the engine and engine mount, it is much more streamlined, and we are told that this new steering results in more than a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption.
The engine is naturally aspirated and takes full advantage of its 5.7L displacement utilizing a quad-cam producing power throughout the RMP range. There is plenty of power to be had. No matter if I was on Lund’s flagship fishing boat, the 2175 Pro-V with a single 400, or the heavy Boston Whaler 380 Outrage rigged with quad 400s, the impressive power was evident at any speed and RPM range. I was particularly impressed when cruising at about 37 miles per hour on the 380 Outrage and being jolted back into the seat when the captain dropped the throttle to get up to speed. Even the hole shot in the Whaler was impressive, as it was in the Freeman and others. They didn’t feel like large and heavy center consoles but rather like lighter craft as they jumped up with plenty of thrust throughout the acceleration. There was never a feeling in any of the boats that the engines were struggling or that thrust was impeded. The power was even and smooth throughout the power curve on all vessels. They felt very similar to their V12 brethren in how they handled acceleration, and they certainly did not lack in any way when it came to thrust. Part of this thrust can be contributed to more than just the engine. Mercury’s Adaptive Speed Control maintains the engine’s RPMs despite external changes in either loads or conditions, aiding in the smooth power band no matter what the boat is doing.
Another power-producing feature is the all-new larger hydrodynamic gearcase, which was designed with performance and efficiency in mind. With a deep gear ratio and combined with a newly designed series of propellers specifically for these engines, thrust, and performance are achieved at any RPM. These new Revolution X propellers have a larger diameter than other props and wider blades that match the power produced by the engines.
Each of the representatives questioned from the boats provided on Lake X said that while early in testing (at the time), these new outboards were outperforming their predecessors considerably in both power and efficiency. Efficiency is achieved through multiple technologies, including a closed-loop fuel system and Mercury’s Advanced Range Optimization (ARO). Weighing in at 695 lbs., these motors are lighter than some comparable horsepower outboards from competitors, helping with efficiency.
These new outboards are also equipped to be powerplants for onboard electrics and electronic systems. Available with either a highly capable high output alternator or an optional dual-mode 48-volt and 12-volt alternator. The latter can be combined with Navico’s Fathom E-Power system. When utilized with Mastervolt lithium batteries, this system and the output from these new alternators can replace the need for an onboard generator, even with high-demand electronics, refrigeration, and air conditioning.
Another feature these V10 outboards have that is quite astonishing is their sound level. When you think of V10 engines, images of high-performance and loud Formula One engines may come to mind. While these engines do have a sport mode where you can enjoy the rumble of all 350 or 400 horses, these motors are incredibly quiet. While at idle, you cannot tell if they are running over the wind noise. I found myself straining to see if they were turned on. While running at full speed, the water hitting the hull is much more amplified than the engine’s sound. It is quite remarkable how quiet these engines are when onboard. You can have a conversation in normal speaking tones, even while running at full speed. If you prefer the sound of power, switching the engines into sport mode will let everyone know you have the horses.
“We challenged our engineers to improve acceleration and overall performance with the new V10 Verado outboards while also making them quieter and lighter than competitors’ outboards in this horsepower range,” said Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of product development and engineering. “Once again, they exceeded expectations while also incorporating technologies that make boat operation and maintenance intuitively simple.” After testing, I can say that they sure did, and these new engines are definitely worth looking into.