Mercury Marine and Volvo Penta have each introduced new gasoline sterndrive engines. Mercury unveiled a 6.2-liter V-8 engine in 300- and 350-hp models, and Volvo Penta countered with a 5.3-liter V-8 — also 300 and 350 hp — and a 280-hp V-6 4.3-liter engine (pictured below).
Volvo Penta has opted to continue using General Motors blocks, touting the advanced automotive technology, durability and reliability of GM’s fifth-generation engines. Mercury also had used GM blocks but about 2 years ago decided to manufacture its own sterndrive engine, saying that by going it alone it can design and build its MerCruiser I/Os specifically for marine use.
Mercury splashed its first home-grown engine about a year ago, a 4.5-liter 250-hp MerCruiser. Volvo Penta answered earlier this year with the first two of its Gen V lineup — 200- and 240-hp 4.3-liter V-6s. Both companies acknowledge — and welcome — the friendly competition.
“We’ve always been exceptionally strong in the sterndrive portion of the engines, but the engine package itself has historically been pretty similar with the competition,” says Marcia Kull, vice president of sales for Volvo Penta of the Americas. “But now both dealers and boaters have big choices to make — much like with outboards with their different technologies.”
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue.