When the major engine manufacturers began pumping out 4-stroke outboards more than a decade ago, venerable 2-stroke technology seemed to be riding into the sunset. Evinrude says it is about to turn that notion on its head this fall with the introduction of a 2-stroke unlike anything you’ve seen.
First, a little back story: BRP, or Bombardier Recreational Products, the Canadian manufacturer that revolutionized snowmobiles and personal watercraft, bought the Evinrude and Johnson outboard lines from bankrupt Outboard Marine Corp. in 2001. Two years later, BRP introduced its E-TEC line of 2-stroke, direct-injected outboards, which discarded the once-promising FICHT fuel-injection technology for a high-pressure system combined with an engine control unit. The new technology proved to be cleaner-burning and efficient, and could stand up performance-wise to the 4-strokes that were praised for their quiet operation, fuel efficiency and clean operation.
In June, BRP gave dealers and the marine press a sneak peek at the next generation of Evinrude E-TEC 2-strokes — an entirely different animal from its predecessor. The E-TEC G2 is the first outboard the manufacturer has built “from the prop shaft to the flywheel” — the company’s first totally new product in 38 years — and BRP promises as much as 75 percent fewer emissions, 15 percent better fuel efficiency and 20 percent more torque (especially out of the hole and at midrange) than leading 4-strokes.
The 250-hp H.O. G2 will burn 21 gallons an hour at wide open throttle, which is comparable to 4-strokes, says Jason Eckman, the company’s product marketing manager. Its carbon monoxide emissions of 570 parts per million at idle are the “lowest-ever total emissions” from an outboard, he says, adding that G2s will have 40 percent more battery-charging capacity at idle, compared with the first generation of E-TECs.
Kept under wraps during its two years in development, the G2 is also the first outboard specifically designed for the direct-injection system, BRP says. When the line hits the market this fall, consumers will have the option of 200-, 225-, 250- and 300-hp models. BRP did not disclose the anticipated retail price, but Chris Berg, director of marketing and strategic planning, says it “will be competitively priced with comparable fully rigged 4-stroke competitors.”
The line will be backed by a “5-5-5” warranty of 5-year engine and corrosion protection and 500 hours with no dealer-scheduled maintenance. “Without a doubt, these are going to set the benchmark in the industry for reliability,” George Broughton, director of engineering for Evinrude, told an audience of 2,000 dealers, BRP employees and media at a gala near the production facility in Milwaukee.
The brain of the engine — the Engine Management Module — adjusts performance to properly break in the engine, regardless of how the consumer runs it, according to BRP. The module also delivers automatic storage and winterization features.
BRP says the G2s weigh 539 to 558 pounds, a little heavier than other 2-strokes in part part because of components such as power steering and a 2-gallon oil reservoir. Innovations include a new “starboard-starboard” engine design that features two identical piston chambers, which BRP says are the primary source of the torque and long-term reliability. Exclusive features include integrated hydraulic power steering with three levels of assist (minimal, medium and maximum), an i-Trim automatic trim system and dual-axis rigging that routes all engine cables through one tube, making for a clean, clutter-free transom. The company says its new SLX gearcase is a rugged “no compromise” unit.
Although BRP touts the inner workings, it’s the exterior of the G2 that makes a first impression. Gone are smooth, soft curves, replaced by a more angular shape. “It doesn’t look like another outboard. It has to shock to work if you want to change things,” product marketing manager Eckman says. Five color options and 14 accent colors are designed to help customers match the look of their engine to their boat.
Two new propellers were designed for the G2 line — the RX4 (for offshore) and Raker H.O. (for high-speed boats) — as were fully integrated digital displays from 3.5 to 7 inches, the larger models being touch-screen. The displays deliver control over i-Trim, power steering assist and foot/throttle power options.
BRP rigged 24 test boats with G2s for sea trialing — bay boats, bass boats, center consoles, pontoons and performance boats — to showcase the engine’s versatility. Marketing director Berg says he thinks offshore anglers are going to take a shine to the new outboard. “Our salties are going to come back,” he says.
Look for the new Evinrude E-TEC G2 at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.
August 2014 issue