Mercury Marine’s new V8 outboard is causing quite right around a stir the world, with demand in many cases exceeding supply.
Mercury’s 300hp V8 outboard on a Tristram 701.
That’s the situation here, even though Mercury NZ secured a generous allocation of the new model. Demand, says Mercury Marine’s Dean Villis, has surprised everyone: “We ordered more than we thought we would need, but sales have gone crazy!” Mercury has 20 of the new V8s on order, of which 18 are already sold.
The new V8 (available in Verado, Fourstroke, Sea Pro commercial, Pro XS and Mercury Racing variants) has a 4.6-litre, 32-valve, dual-overhead camshaft powerhead offering loads of torque, but also excellent fuel economy. The new V8s come in 200hp, 225hp, 250hp and 300hp versions.
Mercury’s narrow 64-degree bank, large capacity V8 is remarkably lightweight – 240kg in non-verado versions, which is considerably lighter than the 225-300hp L6 Verado models it replaces. L6 Verados continue in 350hp and 400hp guises. The V8’s narrow cylinder bank angle and clever exhaust routing means a minimal transom footprint.
I got to experience the range-topping 300hp V8 for the first time in late June. It was the very first Mercury V8 bolted to the transom of a boat in New Zealand, a Tristram 701 Offshore fresh from the factory in Hamilton.
This engine is the Verado model with Mercury’s ‘Advanced Mid-section’ (AMS), which includes integrated electro-hydraulic power steering and four-point perimeter engine mounts. Joystick piloting is an option and Smartcraft Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) is standard.
Mercury is now offering outboards in colours other than Phantom Black. In the V8s, three shades of white are available in
addition to black, along with accent panels in four colours, plus a ‘ready to paint’ accent panel option to custom-match the boat.
Outboards with AMS are identifiable by their silver side panels and feature heavy-duty 5.4-inch gearcases. This combination of technology is currently only available on Verado models.
AMS features a mid-engine cradle that allows the midsection to pivot as well as swivel, which virtually eliminates propeller ventilation and improves control when turning. Progressive rate perimeter engine mounts isolate the powerhead, reducing vibration and noise.
With the introduction of new V6 and V8 four-stroke outboards, Mercury’s Opti-max two-stroke range and 225300hp Verado L6 supercharged four-stroke models have been discontinued.
The Tristram 701 goes nicely with a 200hp V6 ( Boating NZ, January 2015), so unsurprisingly performance is very spirited with a 300hp V8 on the transom. But it’s not just the performance that impresses: this is a seriously quiet engine, particularly at idle
FAR RIGHT The 300hp V8 bolted to the transom of this Tristam 701 Offshore is the Verado variant with Mercury’s Advanced Mid-section (AMS), identified by the silver side panels.RIGHT Mercury’s new V6 and V8 outboard ranges feature distinctive angular styling.