MO­TOR­HEAD

This lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Merc out­boards prove fea­ture-filled.

Boating - - CERTIFIED TESTS -

A run-through of Mer­cury’s new V-8 4.3L out­boards

Mer­cury Marine’s new se­ries of V-8s in­clude Ver­ado and FourStroke out­boards, SeaPro com­mer­cial out­boards, Pro XS four-strokes (which ba­si­cally will re­place the ven­er­a­ble twostroke Op­tiMax lineup) and two Mer­cury Rac­ing out­board en­gines.

We ran each of these out­boards in sin­gle- and mul­ti­pleengine con­fig­u­ra­tions aboard a wide va­ri­ety of boats. Be­sides be­ing sun-baked, we came away im­pressed by a num­ber of fea­tures. A great ex­am­ple is a con­ve­nient hatch in the cowl that makes check­ing the oil super easy.

An­other fea­ture is the Ad­vanced Mid­sec­tion (AMS), which, among other things, pro­vides a unique en­gine-mount geom­e­try that re­duces vi­bra­tion con­sid­er­ably. We were also im­pressed by Adap­tive Speed Con­trol, which main­tains en­gine rpm de­spite chang­ing loads — run into swells or cut a sharp turn and you don’t have to ride the throt­tle. No­tably, these en­gines also of­fer the op­tion of ei­ther dig­i­tal or me­chan­i­cal rig­ging, which makes them ex­cel­lent can­di­dates for boaters seek­ing to repower.

Most boat­ing read­ers will choose the V-8 Ver­ado or FourStroke se­ries. Those seek­ing light­weight, high-power out­boards will likely se­lect from the Pro XS line. The 200 to 300 hp Pro XS mod­els fea­ture a ro­bust 1.25-inch-di­am­e­ter prop shaft and are avail­able with a next-gen­er­a­tion Torque Mas­ter gear case that of­fers a 1.75-to-1 gear ra­tio and lowwa­ter pick­ups on the nose cone, for added mount­ing and trim­ming flex­i­bil­ity. These Pro XS mod­els weigh 505 pounds, just 3 pounds heav­ier than a two-stroke 300 hp Op­tiMax en­gine and 70 pounds lighter than an Ev­in­rude E-Tec G2 300.

Like all of the new se­ries, the

Pro XS en­gines can run on 87 oc­tane fuel and make the power in­di­cated by the cowl­ing de­cal.

A great fea­ture is Idle Charge Bat­tery Man­age­ment, which au­to­mat­i­cally in­creases idle rpm in neu­tral to boost al­ter­na­tor out­put and recharge low bat­ter­ies, pro­tect­ing against drained bat­ter­ies.

For go-fast boaters, the new V-8 Mer­cury Rac­ing 250R and 300R de­liver 40 per­cent more bot­tom-end torque than le­gacy mod­els. The rpm range is 5,800 to 6,400. The 300R sports an in­te­grated oil cooler to keep oil temps low and is of­fered with two mid­sec­tions and three gear-case op­tions in vary­ing shaft lengths in or­der to rev­o­lu­tion­ize nearly any per­for­mance-boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

For com­mer­cial mariners, Mer­cury Marine of­fers the new SeaPro se­ries V-8 out­boards in 200, 225 and 250 hp rat­ings. Each is the light­est en­gine in its com­mer­cial power cat­e­gory. The SeaPro gear case is said to have a life of three times that of a recre­ational gear case.

Whether you are a cruiser, an­gler, per­for­mance boater or com­mer­cial op­er­a­tor, Mer­cury Marine’s new V-8 se­ries of en­gines re­quires a dis­cern­ing look for both new-boat and repower pur­chases.

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