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Mercury powers up to 400 hp

Enough is not enough when it comes to outboard horsepower — at least that’s the consensus among Mercury Marine’s customers. The push for more ponies prompted the engine manufacturer to hit the water with its most powerful outboards yet: the 350 Verado and Mercury Racing 400R Verado.

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“We take a bit of pride at Mercury in being about high performance, and with these engines, we have the fastest, lightest, most fuel-efficient, quietest and highest-performing products on the market,” says Mercury Marine president John Pfeifer. Introduced at the Miami International Boat Show in February, the new engines will be available in March.

For the 350 and 400R, Mercury re-engineered the 2.6-liter engine it uses for its 225-, 250- and 300-hp Verado outboards. The 400R falls under the Mercury Racing umbrella, but it also can power high-performance recreational boats, including single-engine flats boats and multi-outboard offshore center consoles.

The engine has a new water-cooled supercharger that reduces intake temperatures and allows the outboard to reach 7,000 rpm. Other features include a Sport Master gearcase with low-water pickup and stainless steel guide plates for better engine stability at high speeds.

The 350, which also uses a water-cooled supercharger, generates 16 percent more peak power than the Verado 300, according to Mercury. The company stresses that the 350 and 400 are far different from the original 2.6-liter Verados. They have new induction systems, superchargers, camshafts and fuel systems. (Mercury recommends 91 octane gas, but they can run on 89 octane.) Also, the powerhead has been upgraded and engineered for reduced friction.

“From the midsection up, this is a very different engine,” says Larry Teeling, category manager for Mercury outboards. “Most of the development and engineering focused on what’s under the cowling.”

April 2015 issue