The big news from the Miami International Boat Show is the introduction of 175 horsepower, 200 horsepower, and 225 horsepower versions of a new V6 Mercury FourStroke outboard engine, complementing its line of Mercury Verado outboard engines.
While the supercharged Verado line has grown ever larger, with versions now hitting the 350 horsepower mark and even 400 horses in a Mercury Racing version, the FourStroke line has moved in to cover lower power ranges including 75 to 150 hp. Pro FourStroke models in the 200 to 300 horsepower range are, like the Verado, supercharged. But this new 3.4L platform features a naturally-aspirated powerhead.
The 200 horsepower dual overhead cam four-valve design weighs in at a surprisingly svelte 475 pounds, (for a point of comparison the next lightest 200 hp powerplant is the 2.8L in-line-4 Yamaha F200, at 487 pounds,) and Mercury claims best-in-class acceleration, 20-percent more torque, and five to 15-percent fuel economy advantages at cruise over the nearest competitors. While we haven’t yet had the opportunity to put these claims to the test on the water, if true they certainly are eye-opening.
To date in all the recent outboard testing we’ve done the fuel economy winner had been the Evinrude G2 line, which tends to turn in efficiency figures 10 to 15 percent better than most similarly sized four-strokes. However, we note Mercury’s specific use of the term “cruise” when applied to fuel economy; reasonable arguments can be made that cruising rpm could be anywhere from 3000 to 4500 rpm, and obviously, different engines will offer peak economy at different points through that range. We’ll be looking forward to running some on-the-water comparisons and will report back, once we’ve been able to gather figures for the different outboards on equal platforms.
These new Mercs also offer a wide range of options including mechanical or digital controls, hydraulic or power steering, and multiple colors and accent panels. They feature a port on top for easy oil checks without having to remove the cowl, which is an excellent idea and should encourage regular checks by users. An idle charge battery management system keeps you from sucking out all the juice out of the batteries while idling with major electronics up and running (net charging output 20 amps at 650 rpm), and “Advanced Speed Control” maintains RPM through varying loads and conditions.
Mercury is putting the MSRP at $17,425, although this will obviously vary with differing options. Still, this is an attractive starting point and will make the new 3.4L V6 an interesting option for a wide range of fishing boat owners.
For more information, visit Mercury Marine.