Mercury Verado

Mercury's new four-stroke outboard leaves old-school outboard engineering -- and event some new technology -- in its wake.

Outboard builders are getting smarter about making better motors for boaters. Mercury's new Verado series in 200, 225, 250 and 275 horsepower were years on the drawing board and two more years in R&D before one rolled off the production line. These are the babies of engineers recruited from BMW, Porsche and Ferrari to provide the new engine with powerful, smooth and quiet operating traits -- all in a reliable package.

A vertical six-cylinder engine block reminiscent of Mercury's tall, skinny "Tower of Power" from the '60s and '70s bears little resemblance inside to that old design, which was made by stacking and welding two-cylinder engine blocks. Verado cylinders are cast in one compact block, built with hardened alloys to take the bumps and vibration and stress of high rpm. Weight and space are saved with clever tricks like "Siamese" cylinder walls and hollow stainless-steel camshafts that allow the block to put more horsepower into the prop and less into moving machinery.

The block is a rather diminutive 2.6-liters, but power is maximized with Merc's first-in-outboards supercharger. In lab tests, the lower unit and a unique motor mount were durable enough to withstand impact from a wooden pylon shot from a cannon -- time after time. Even with its strength, the mount cradles the motor gently, and vibration dampeners isolate sound and nearly all the vibration from the boat hull.

During a test run at 20 mph in a heavy wind, a power-steering pump was actually louder than engine noise. We understand Merc will make a muffling cover for that pump. We've been noncommittal about the fly-by-wire binnacles before, but Verado's fully integrated system is a great marriage of horsepower and electronics.

Hole shots in our test boats were head-snapping, and top speeds were just short of 70 mph in a Triton 21 and a Sterling 22. In twin setups on a Fountain and a Whaler, top speeds reached into the high 40s and 50s. Verados are going to bring a pretty price, but for those who can afford them, bragging rights are standard.__**

Notable Features

Stats

Test Engine: 200 HP to 275 HP models

Displacement: 2.6 liters

Block: In-line 6-cylinder

Induction: Cooled supercharger, multiport fuel injection

RPM range: 5,800-6,400

Shaft lengths: 20", 25", 30"

Weight/shaft length: 635 lb./20", 649 lb./25", 667 lb./30"

Gear ratio: 1.85

Oil capacity: 8.5 quarts

MSRP: $15,895 to $19,797

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Contact:

STATS ON TRITON TR-21X/SC:

Length Overall: 21'

Beam: 7'10"

Dry Weight: 2275 lb.

Seating/Weight Capacity: 6/775 lb.

Fuel Capacity: 56 gal.

Max HP: 250

Contact: Triton Boats; 888-887-4866; Ashland City, Tennessee

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TEST DRIVE ON TRITON TR-21X/SC:

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Test Engine: Verado 250

Test Prop: 23" Tempest SS

Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (50 gal.)

Additional Load: 4 marine batteries

Top Speed: 69.5 MPH @ 6200 RPM

Time to Plane: 4.1 sec.

Time to 30 MPH: 8.4 sec.

Time to 50 MPH: 14 sec.

RPM / MPH / SOUND LEVEL

Idle / 4.5 / 58 db

1,000 / 5.8 / 62 db

1,500 / 7.0 / 62 db

2,000 / 10.1 / 68 db

2,500 / 13.0 / 78 db

3,000 / 27.5 / 78 db

3,500 / 37.5 / 81 db

4,000 / 44.6 / 84 db

4,500 / 48.2 / 84 db

5,000 / 55.0 / 87 db

5,500 / 65.0 / 90 db

6,000 / 68.4 / 90 db

6,200 / 69.5 / 90 db

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STATS ON STERLING PRO 220:

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Length Overall: 21' 10"

Beam: 8'2"

Dry Weight: 1,450 lb.

Fuel Capacity: 56 gal.

Max HP: 225

Contact: American Marine Sports; 352-429-8888; Groveland, Florida

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TEST DRIVE ON STERLING PRO 220:

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Test Engine: Verado 225

Test Prop: 23" Tempest SS

Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (50 gal.)

Top Speed: 67.7 MPH @ 6,500 RPM

Time to Plane: 2.5 sec.

Time to 30 MPH: 6.5 sec.

Minimum Plane: 20.1 MPH @ 2,200 RPM

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RPM / MPH / SOUND LEVEL

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550 / 3.1 / 58 db

1,000 / 5.6 / 67 db

1,500 / 7.3 / 69 db

2,000 / 7.9 / 72 db

2,500 / 14.3 / 73 db

3,000 / 29.5 / 78 db

3,500 / 38.1 / 80 db

4,000 / 43.5 / 88 db

4,500 / 46.7 / 87 db

5,000 / 55.0 / 87 db

5,500 / 58.7 / 90 db

6,000 / 62.2 / 90 db

6,200 / 67.7 / 90 db

Mercury Marine; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; 920-929-5040 * SmartCraft engine instrumentation, digital binnacle and power steering offer ultimate control and are standard equipment. * Plug-and-play installations give reliable performance and make dealer diagnostics easy. * Programmable two-speed trim and tilt gives full-range tilt for easy, safe trailering, and trim limits are easily programmed to suit any installation. * The 275-horsepower model offers the great power but requires 92-octane fuel, which can be hard to find on the water.