The Miami International Boat Show was a bustle of activity with its halls and marinas filled with the latest and greatest boating has to offer. There was not only a large assortment of boat debuts at the show but also an impressive amount of new engines and power plants on display. From electric trolling motors with never before seen features, to incredibly powerful outboards to even more powerful diesel engines, there was something new for any boater. Topping the list of attention-grabbing new products were some very impressive and powerful outboard motors.
One of the most impressive debuts (both the motors and the theatrics to showcase them) were the new offerings from Mercury Marine. With smoke billowing, effective lighting and dramatic music playing, cages lifted revealing Mercury’s two newest outboards. First was Mercury’s all new Verado 350, built using Mercury’s proven inline 6 cylinder supercharged four-stroke engine. Able to run on 89 octane gas (91 octane recommended for peak performance), Mercury claims it provides “…up to 10% greater fuel economy than competitive outboards.” Part of this economy is achieved through the outboard’s svelte weight of 668 pounds, which is a full 95 pounds lighter than the nearest four-stroke competitor. Able to achieve impressive hole shots and faster top-end speed, this motor shatters common misconceptions about the lack of responsiveness of four-strokes. There is a laundry list of improvements to this motor and they can be found on the Mercury website along with full specifications, www.mercurymarine.com.
The motor which caused the greatest stir and most interest at Mercury’s new product showcase was their brand new Verado 400R. No, that’s not a typo; it is the all new 400 hp Mercury Verado, Mercury’s most powerful production consumer outboard to date. That 400 hp translates to a whopping 153 hp per liter drawn from a 2.6L Verado platform. Featuring a new cold air induction system, allowing a cool fresh air supply to easily enter the water-cooled supercharger, this outboard can perform like no other. The 400R boasts the highest power-to-weight ratio of any outboard in its class and is the first Verado to sport the Mercury Sport Master Gearcase with low water pick-ups. Fuel capability is versatile, as it is able to run on 89 octane, but performs its best on 91 octane. It is also the first Mercury Racing outboard to utilize the JPO, or joystick piloting, for outboards. Combine this with Digital Throttle and Shift Controls (DTS) and this engine is a perfect fit for many new center console boats, large bay boats and others.
The 400R wasn’t the only super-sized high horsepower outboard debuting at the show. Seven Marine one-upped their first and largest in class 557 outboard with a new 627 model. Just like its 557 brethren, the 627 is based on the all-aluminum GM LSA 6.2L supercharged and fuel injected V8 engine. The extra 70 hp produced by this motor is a direct result of a new proprietarily developed High-Turbulence Combustion chamber. Each is machined to tolerances that allow for a “unique combustion event that increases horsepower and delivers the big torque required for optimizing performance on larger center consoles.” Bigger or super console boats (center consoles more than 42 feet) are exactly what these engines are designed for. With over 600 ft. lbs. of torque, between 3000 rpm and rated speed, these engines have what it takes to get these heavy and large center consoles up and underway in a hurry. The onboard supercharger is fed over 1000 cubic feet of air per minute and the resulting power is obtained with “best in class performance for super consoles.” With custom colors and the new SpectraBlade Cowl allowing further customization, the new engines can be customized to match your boat’s color scheme. The embedded LED lighting can also be configured to an almost infinite color range. In Seven’s case, bigger does seem to be better.www.seven-marine.com
Evinrude showed off their E-TEC G2 line of outboards, introduced last year at a dealer conference. This line of outboards, ranging from 200 hp to 300 hp, won the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) 2015 Innovation Award at the Miami show. “Receiving this prestigious award is a true testament to the innovation that we’ve achieved with this new technology, “ said Alain Villemure, vice-president and general manager of BRP’s Marine Propulsion Systems division. This new technology, resulting from the “first clean sheet of paper” design from BRP since its acquisition of Evinrude, has resulted in better fuel efficiency, even lower emissions and more torque than previous models as well as many competitors’ four- stroke engines.
There were many more new product introductions, including Yamaha’s new V MAX SHO 115 targeting smaller boats such as technical flats boats and the V MAX SHO 175 aimed squarely at mid-size boats looking for a performance outboard. Other offerings from Yamaha included a revamped and updated 2.7L F150. They also introduced Helm Master options for their quad and F200 outboard applications. Suzuki displayed their new for 2015, DF200A and DF200AP outboards. Based on the lighter four-cylinder engine block, these motors offer high power with low weight and excellent fuel economy. The DF200AP also has the capability of utilizing Suzuki Precision Control drive-by-wire controls and Suzuki’s Selective Rotation.
Although all these introductions were impressive and are great examples of the next generation in outboards, there were many manufacturers with power plant introductions and enhancements. It would take a book to cover them all but we will cover some of the more unusual new power options next month. It was obvious at the Miami show that marine power is getting bigger, better, more efficient and a joy to own.