Mercury Racing: The 250 and 300 Get Bigger
After much anticipation, Mercury Racing has introduced two new outboards that replace the long running 250XS and 300XS. Based off the Mercury Marine V8 Four Stroke technology, these engines differentiate in a few key areas. The biggest difference is the bracket, mid section and motor mounts. Mercury Racing tuned the 4.6L V8’s for performance boaters, let’s look at the details below. Do these new engines push the needle?
Like the V6 and V8 Four Strokes, the mounts are different than outgoing 3.0L and 2.5L engines, they use a single top “clamp” style mount, and two lower mounts. Mercury Racing refers to this as their “Tri-Ram midsection” and the difference between the regular Mercury four strokes and the Racing versions is the solid lowers and the reinforced elastomer upper. This combined with a forged bracket and a new single ram trim pump on the HD version of the 300R will make for a better handling outboard than anything else on the market. A factory rear tie bar is optional.
The lower unit options for the 300R are the Sportmaster, Torquemaster and HD 5.44, while the 250R is only available with the Sportmaster; all in a 1.75:1 gear ratio, which should suit the majority of boaters in the market for these engines. However, we expect the option of a taller gear shortly to suit the incredible power these V8 outboards project to produce.
The Sportmaster, Torquemaster and HD lower are all available on the 300R, the 250R gets the Sportmaster only.
Much of the engine technology is shared from the Mercury Marine versions of these engines. Another Mercury feature; range optimization, has the engine calibrate for optimum fuel delivery specific to the conditions at the time. Sophisticated maintenance free valve train for the “life of the engine”, or a long time anyway. With custom intake cams, the Mercury Racing crew tuned the 250R to operate within 5800 to 6200 RPM; while the 300R can rev up to 6400 RPM. With a 3 year warranty and having it run on 87 octane fuel, make it a pretty accessible Mercury Racing product.
Technically, the weight is impressive given the size of the engine, and the fact it is a V8. Mercury invested in some of the most advanced metal die casting machinery in the world, from a company called BuhlerPrince (part of Swiss based Buhler Group), and this allows them to cast lighter blocks and parts then competitors. but these are massive outboards, and with a DOHC V8 configuration, they have many moving parts. These weigh more than the outgoing engines. The 250R weighs 520 Lbs dry, with a 1.75 gallon oil capacity, it’s a 530 Lb. engine, the 300R has more configurations; ranging from the standar 20” L at 512 Lbs, L HD 546 Lbs, XL 556 Lbs, and XXL at 566 Lbs, dry.
To me, the 250R misses the mark slightly, the 300R is great. One reason is the 250R is a simplified version of the 300R, offering no advantage other than price over the 300R and very little advantage over the Mercury Marine 250 ProXS version, which is only missing the Sportmaster and mount upgrades. If the 250R came with a torque master, it would be more compelling, and it doesn't have digital control capabilities, which is very surprising. Even better would be a Racing version of the lighter 3.4 V6, at 225 HP or 250 HP, the smaller outboard would be significantly lighter and more applicable to those with boats 22’ and under. Plus, the V6 would appeal more to the performance bass, flats and sport boat market in my opinion. Simply adding solid lower mounts to the Mercury Marine V6 might be the ticket though. Mercury Marine did introduce a 175 HP ProXS based on the V6, so that is appealing to some.
What do they cost? Well, the Mercury Marine pricing for the ProXS V8s, not the Racing R engines, will be approximately $13,800 for the 200 HP, 20", $15,300 for the 225 HP, $16,500 for the 250 HP, and $18,900 for the 300 HP; all with analogue controls. Add about $500 or more for digital controls. Once pricing is released on the 250R and 300R we will add it.
Overall it is good to see the industry forging ahead with more and more performance offerings.