Miami Boat Show 2018: Mercury Marine
In a launch that was much anticipated, Mercury Marine delivered an all new 3.4 V6 outboard in the 175, 200 and 225 horsepower range. The real features are that it is reasonably light, at 475 Lbs (dry weight), the lower unit has low water pickups, and the engine has loads of torque while being incredibly quiet. Motor mounts are not traditional compressed rubber mounts, they are integrated into the bracket and perform more like semi-solid mounts.
The inner workings of the new 3.4 V6. Digital adaptable to mechanical for flexible rigging. New gearcase with low water pickup. Super smooth and balanced.
On the water this means that the engines will be among the lightest in this segment, at least the 200 and 225 will be, being even lighter than the 3.0L Optimax and 3.0L ProXS engines. They aren’t meant for ultra high performance lightweight hulls but for the average sport boat these are a pretty good option. But, the main market is fishing; center console, bass, pontoon and family bowrider / deck boats. You can also choose between 4 colors: black, and 3 different shades of white, with optional center stripe colors. You can also custom paint the center panel.
Other features are that the engine is naturally balanced and has excellent NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) qualities. With a unique cowl design, noise reducing air intake and other design elements, this engine is extremely quiet. As for pricing, the expected MSRP is about $17,500 for the 175 HP version without rigging, and approximately an additional $1,500 each bump in HP. Rigging is flexible as these digital engines can adapt to mechanical, but new digital rigging will be around $2,500.
How did they pull it off? I was lucky enough to talk to several people at Mercury and the new 3.4 is a direct result of the massive investment Mercury made in their BuhlerPrince die casting machine. It allows Mercury to cast the block and components to be lighter than competitors that don’t have the same capability, due to the incredible casting pressure and sophistication of the equipment. The machinery was part of a massive investment Mercury Marine made in their Fond Du Lac location, since 2009.
What can we expect in the future with this large displacement theme? Anticipate some ProXS versions of these 3.4 engines, which will follow the trend of all the ProXS engines, tuned for slightly higher RPM operation, higher performance mounts, and a different gear case option.
Furthermore, I know the two strokes are going to be phased out very shortly. The good news with that is that Mercury Racing is going to have to be announcing some new engines soon, I would anticipate the spring. Look for a 300 XS replacement and another engine, possibly fitting somewhere between 300 and 400 HP. The 300 XS is a good seller, so they won’t let that segment die, I am almost sure.
This makes life difficult for Evinrude, the G2’s are great engines, just a little heavy compared to these new Mercs. But, in the 250 HP and 300 HP, the G2’s are still leading in efficiency and performance, the soon to be discontinued 300 XS notwithstanding. The only thing new Evinrude had in Miami was some outrageous cowling graphics.
With all that said, there was one more new model. The new four stroke 150 ProXS is a great repower option, it brings the low cost and turnkey reliability of the 4 cylinder 150 with the usual ProXS tuning, just enough for most consumer performance boats, but again, it’s not a powerhouse, just a solid offering in that range. It is dynod at 163 HP, the standard 150 is 158 HP.
The new Mercury Marine 3.4 V6 running.