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 two-stroke OptiMax lineup) and two Mercury Racing outboard engines.
We ran each of these outboards in single- and multiple-engine 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 low-water 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.