Great Lakes Boating: Something big in the water at Mercury's Lake X from Harris Media Services on Vimeo.
Hold on to your hats, literally, as Mercury Marine has some very exciting news. However, calling the all-new 600 horsepower Verado outboard a “game-changing” release for the global manufacturer doesn’t quite seem strong enough. This announcement actually feels more like “game-dominating” as our industry has never seen anything quite like this V12 before.
With over five years in development, Mercury has packed a lot of innovation into the powerful, yet surprisingly quiet outboard that is being released for the 2021 model year. As outboard engine sales last year rose to the highest annual volume in two decades according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Mercury is doing its part to ensure the trend will continue upward with this impressive release.
“This is the most innovative product Mercury has ever launched, said Mercury Marine President Chris Drees at a press event earlier this week. “It’s also the quietest outboard Mercury has ever built.”
To help get the word out about the new outboard, Mercury invited members of the boating media to its exclusive Lake X facility in Florida to test the new engines on some of the industry’s top brands including Boston Whaler, Formula, Sea Ray, Scout, Tiara and Valhalla.
“I had heard little chirps of rumors about this new engine coming out, but I had no idea I’d be this impressed,” said Alan Lang, Scout Boats director of sales and marketing. “I noticed the styling first; it’s probably the most impressive thing. Then once I drove it it’s the quietest engine I have ever heard.”
Two Speed Transmission
First impressions were similar among those who got behind the wheel as there is a noticeable power increase out of the hole, thanks to the industry’s first two speed transmission.
“First gear is 20 percent lower than second gear so out of the hole it’s incredible and it allows you to cruise at much higher speeds at a better fuel economy,” added the Mercury Marine president. “It will get even the heaviest boats out of the water quickly, with power to spare.”
“It’s absolutely amazing. The power that you get with the boat gives you instant acceleration,” added Ritch Ragle, Sea Ray director, North American sales. “We went from zero to 30mph in just over 7 seconds. Then as the engine revs up and gets on plane it shifts to second gear and it’s completely seamless. If you’re not watching the tachometer you never feel the shift from first to second.”
The new 7.6L Verado also has the first steerable gearcase for outboards where the engine remains in a fixed position and only the gearcase under the water is moving. It is designed especially for multiple engine configurations and with the engines remaining stationary; builders can tighten up the spacing between them.
With the all-new controls, active trim and a new digital throttle, those in attendance were anxious to work the joystick with the fixed engines.
“When I’m working the controls you don’t hear any clanging of gears or anything like that,” said Lang from on board the Scout 425 LXF. “Using the joystick I can go from hard port to hard starboard and I don’t hear clicks or clanks. It’s just extremely smooth.”
You won’t see the engines move, but underneath, the gearcase is able to turn up to about 30 degrees. When you switch over to the joystick controls, the gearcase can maneuver up to 45 degrees, which gives you even more of a turning radius.
“With the joystick you’re used to the transmission engaging and disengaging while going forward, reverse and neutral as you bring the boat into the dock, but this is absolutely quiet,” added Ragle. “There is no jerking or shifting, the powerheads are stationary on the V12s so we’re only moving the foot.”
For added power and control, the new V12 has dual props to give the engine a little more bite as well as increased acceleration.
“With the twin prop outboard, those propellers are super impressive,” said Scott Porter, Formula Boats president. “They are moving a lot of water when you’re joysticking around.”
Porter estimates the dry weight of his all-new Formula 50 SSC Crossover with a full crew is around 50,000 pounds, yet the boat was still reaching speeds in the high 60s on Lake X.
“We were getting 66 or 67 miles per hour, which is impressive,” stated Porter. “The acceleration up to 50 mph was very impressive.”
Built To Suit
Tiara built its new 48LS specifically for this new 600hp engine; in fact the 48-footer is only available with the Mercury V12 outboards. The Michigan-based manufacturer wasn’t the only manufacturer who built a boat specifically for these new outboards.
“With our 500 SSC we had a dream to do a boat this size but we weren’t quite sure how to power it,” said Porter from the stern of his 54-foot Formula Boat. “We were looking at five engines, but not excited about that. Mercury shared with us they had an engine package they were working on. We went and talked with them and found out it was truly the match for this boat with four outboards. We both had a lot of confidence in each other. We were designing a boat that wasn’t going to do much without what you see behind me.”
Just Add Power
So what about builders who have current production boats but want to upgrade to the larger outboard? That’s not a problem despite the added size. The transom is designed with an aft pivot so builders don’t have to modify current boats and can still hang the V12 off the back. This is something Sea Ray took advantage of with it SLX 400 that originally débuted as a sterndrive model five years ago.
“It’s a 40-foot dayboat you can overnight on and after we introduced it as a sterndrive version about eight months later we then introduced it with outboard power with Mercury 350s.” said Ragle. “Now with the V12 Verado 600hp engines it takes it to the next level.
Mercury’s service door on its previous new models have helped make servicing easier, but the service hood on the new 7.6L Verado takes convenience to another level.
“Through our product line we’ve continually made adjustments in maintenance to make it easier for either the customer if they want to service their engines themselves or for the dealer,” said Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president, product development & engineering. “Our goal was to put all servicing in the hood.”
“You will not need to take this engine out of the water for the first 1,000 hours or five years, whatever comes first,” added Drees. “All the oil changes and other servicing can be done through the service hatch on top.”
An Instant Hit
Production of the new V12 600hp Verado is ramping up in Mercury’s plant in Wisconsin and they are sure to be in high demand, especially in our region and the Scout Boats rep agrees.
“I think it’s going to do incredible on the Great Lakes and I think it’s going to do incredible pretty much everywhere,” concluded Lang. “It’s going to make a huge impact on the market.”
A huge impact might just be the greatest understatement ever as this truly innovative 600hp V12 outboard is in a class of its own. For More Information visit www.mercurymarine.com.