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Volvo Penta set to debut sterndrives with GM engines

FORT LAUDERDALE — As it prepares to introduce its next generation of gasoline sterndrive engines, Volvo Penta has reaffirmed its commitment to using General Motors engine blocks.

“We know that for our customers and dealers they are going to get great quality, competitive cost and a technology bump that will give them great reason to buy a Volvo Penta sterndrive,” Volvo Penta of the Americas president Ron Huibers said at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. “We have been with GM in the gas business for 15-plus years and we’ve had great success.”

Mercury earlier this year announced that it would build its own in-house gas sterndrive engines and has since produced a MerCruiser 250-hp 4.5-liter engine.

Volvo Penta in two weeks will introduce the first of a fleet of sterndrives with the fifth generation of GM motors, Huibers said. The first engines — 200- and 240-hp V6s with a 4.3-liter displacement — will make their industry debut at the Nov. 16-19 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo in Orlando. Volvo Penta will roll out additional Gen V GM engines in 2015 and will have a full family of the next-generation gas engines by 2016.

Huibers outlined the reasons for sticking with GM for its new engine platform, including the addition of common rail fuel injection; the depth of GM engineering knowledge and expertise; competitive cost and reliability; the continued use of Variable Valve Timing; and FWC as a standard component in all Gen V engines.

The new engines are built with common rail fuel injection, a technology already used on Volvo Penta diesel engines.

“With common rail injection you get higher compression ratios, so you get better efficiency, increased torque and wide-band O2 sensors to accommodate variations in fuel quality,” Huibers said. “With GM, we have been riding a horse that’s a real thoroughbred. Now comes along this Gen V engine, and together we’ve just taken it to a whole new level.”

The family of Gen V engines, which are aluminum, also will utilize Variable Valve Timing and freshwater cooling and share the same replacement parts. The recently introduced V8-430 and V8-380 — Gen IV engines — are already equipped with VVT, which alters valve timing for immediate on-demand combustion through faster and more efficient use of air and fuel.

“We are the diesel experts,” Huibers said. “Where are the gasoline [engine] experts in the world? They are right here in the U.S. When you operate these engines you are proud of that American muscle. They are incredible. The technology leaps of Gen V are huge.”

Huibers said OEMs and dealers are “excited to bring this new technology to market. Our customers are extremely satisfied with the product range that we offer, as recently shown with our 11th consecutive CSI award, and we have no doubt these new engines will continue exceed their expectations.”