Hey pontooners – if you want to one-up your neighbors next season better plan to move up to the new Mercury Racing 450R outboard, a 450-hp supercharged 4.6-liter V8. Because…well why not? Just introduced this summer, the Mercury Racing 450R will be in tight supply for a year or two, but one landed on the transom of a 2020 Harris Grand Mariner 250, a new 27-foot 11-inch model (20-foot tubes) we had a chance to sample before the Harris dealer meeting in August. How did Harris score a Mercury Racing 450R outboard so soon? It helps that both companies are owned by Brunswick.
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This was a brand-new boat and not really dialed in, and it was a rough day on Geneva Lake, Wis., so the true potential of this package was not on display. We saw 50 mph top speed at 6000 rpm, about 400 rpm shy of the motor’s potential, running a Mercury Enertia 14.2 x 18 prop, with 57 gallons of fuel on board. I’m guessing there’s more speed to be had.
What was unmistakable was the absolute urgency of this motor’s mid-range power, compared to the Mercury Verado-powered boats we ran the same day. The Mercury Racing 450R wants to go. The 450R is also louder and passes a lot more vibration to the boat chassis, a trade-off for its stiffer motor mounts.
The Mercury Racing 450R is priced about $25,000 higher than a Mercury Racing 400R. That’s going to be the cost of being the big dog pontoon on your lake next season. Watch for a full test of this Harris Grand Mariner 250 with complete performance and pricing information in a future issue of Boating Magazine.