The anticipation is finally over as Mercury Marine announced in February its new V6 outboard lineup. The new generation 3.4L V6 four-strokes are built on a large displacement platform for the 175hp, 200hp and 225hp outboards.
Brunswick Chief Technology Officer David Foulkes said, “It’s Verado-like for a V6. At just 475 pounds, the V6s are lighter than any other two- or four-stroke out there and because it stays in lean burn longer the fuel economy has improved as well.”
As far as innovation is concerned, the physical look of the new outboards is different and for a good reason. Mercury set out to make its new outboards easier to maintain, not just cool to look at.
A servicing door on top enables easy maintenance for daily engine oil checks without having to remove the entire cowling. You can also add oil through this service door that gently pops open with a simple push. When you do need to remove the engine cowling, that process has been simplified as well. Through the same service door you can pull up on the “carrying handle” which by unlocks the cowling, making it an easy one-handed, upward motion to remove it.
“The V6s also have a huge alternator, which produces 85 amps at full throttle to power up all your electronics,” added Foulkes. “As touchscreens and other electronic features continue to evolve, we knew it was important to be able to power them.”
For decades Mercury used the Henry Ford approach, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Its black outboards were an iconic staple in the boating industry but as times evolved the color pallet expanded to include different shades of white as well.
Besides black, the new V6 outboards are available in three shades of white: Warm Fusion, Cold Fusion and Pearl Fusion. Plus a thin poly carbon panel on the spine offers another way to customize the look with silver, blue, red and graphite grey colors. Or the “ready to paint” version comes already primed for the end-user to color-match the panel as needed.
In order to keep the unveil a true secret until they were ready, Mercury once again returned to Lake X in Florida, a top-secret location the engine manufacturer first starting using back in the late 50’s while developing its “Tower of Power” 60hp outboard. The infamous lake at over 1400 acres is the largest privately-owned lake in the state of Florida. After leasing it for years, Mercury stopped in 2004 but with the launch of the new V6 outboards the manufacturer returned to using this private facility. A giant fence along with thick trees circle the entire perimeter with only one entrance, which helped keep the development of the new outboards a secret until now.
A handful of media journalists were given the opportunity to test the new lineup prior to the Miami Boat Show after nearly being blindfolded before arriving at Lake X. The trip didn’t disappoint and as one of those in attendance I left very impressed with the new offering. The electronic throttle and shift control made driving like a dream, but it was the mid-range torque that really grabbed my attention. Plus not only was the engine smooth, but the unique cowling also prevented noise from escaping with its high-frequency noise protection for a very quiet ride.
On the Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless, powered with the twin 200hp Warm Fusion white Mercury outboards, the setup included its Adaptive Speed Control which targets a set RPM and provides the best drivability experience. It was also equipped with Mercury’s Active Trim that takes all the guesswork out to help dial in the performance. It’s these touches that simplify life on the water and help others discover boating as well as help grow our industry.
At full throttle we reached a top speed of 55.3 miles per hour and as far as torque goes we were extremely impressed with its zero-to-30mph time of just 5.5 seconds! At a comfortable cruising RPM of 3000 the 27-foot twin engine boat sips 8.4 gallons of fuel per hour or 2.9 miles per gallon if that’s easier to process the impressive fuel economy.
On the Scout 275 LXF we had an equally impressive run with twin Mercury 200hp four-strokes, with these engines being painted Pearl Fusion white. Our zero-to-20mph time was just 8.2 seconds on our way to a top speed of 56.7 miles per hour on the 27-foot center console boat. Again, it was the torque that was easy to feel that seemed to put smiles on a lot of faces during our day of testing. The fuel economy on this Scout at 3000 RPMs was recorded at 10 gallons per hour or 2.4 miles per gallon.
Rounding Things Out
Mercury Marine also released its 150 Pro XS, professional performance outboard as well as its commercial-grade SeaPro line.
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