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Mercury Marine’s new 600 hp V-12 Verado, launched Tuesday from its famous Lake X research facility in Florida, promises to rewrite boat design for leading US yacht brands. For half a dozen new models on Lake X it already has. « Some of the builders are essentially designing their boats for that engine, » said David Foulkes, CEO of Brunswick Corp., Mercury’s parent company, to Robb Report as he demonstrated the new line of outboards.
Foulkes, who started the new Verado project five years ago, was director of product development at Mercury Marine, says the world’s largest outboard will play a critical role in production. « It’s not just another outboard, » he says. “It’s completely different, with lots of unique features.”
Outboards have become the choice of many American boaters who have moved away from stern drive engines over the past decade. This is understandable given the higher performance, lower emissions and quieter operation of the new generation of outboards. Over the past decade, peak power has increased dramatically, from around 250 horses to a whopping 600 from Mercury. This growth went hand in hand with larger and larger boats and cruisers in the center console.
The technology behind the new outboards allowed builders to expand the aft swim platform so owners can enjoy the extra space.
Courtesy Mercury Marine
Two years ago, HCB launched a previously unimaginable, gigantic 65-foot center console powered by six 450-horsepower outboards. Now the same boat would only need three of the new Verados. Foulkes said reducing the number of engines increases fuel efficiency. « We saw efficiency gains of 20 to 25 percent, » he said.
At the Lake X event, it became clear that brands like Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, Scout, Tiara, Formula, and Valhalla were planning the new engines for to use their new models. The Formula 500 SSC and Tiara 48 LS were shown for the first time at the event with the Verados at the stern.
The technical characteristics of the new Verados promise to set them apart from other outboards on the market. First, it’s the world’s first V-12 outboard with impressive torque that can be used to quickly get heavy boats on the plane and then accelerate them to an impressive top end. The new Formula Robb Report tested hit a high end of 70 mph while the Valhalla accelerated over 75 mph. The new Verado also has the industry’s first two-speed automatic transmission, which optimizes the workload of the engine and barely notices shifting from first to second gear.
The Verado’s designers have softened the outer edges. « We like to see it as less of a fighter jet and more of a corporate jet, » says one executive.
Courtesy Mercury Marine
The gear case is also a first that is most eye-catching. During turns, only the lower unit rotates instead of the entire outboard, while the drive head remains in a fixed position in the upper area. According to Foulkes, this innovative arrangement has several advantages. « If you use a joystick to maneuver, this handle turns much more smoothly, » says Foulkes. “We were also able to fit the bathing platforms much closer to the engines to create additional space. This allows owners to move more freely at the stern. “
The new boat / engine configurations also had an automatic trim to adjust the trim of the boat via the speed curve. The controller also has a display integrated into the controller, and the operating elements offer a more intuitive navigation experience.
As with all Verados from the last 22 years, the latest generation also has a familiar look. “We used typical design DNA for the new 600,” says Foulkes, noting that it looks different. “We made it a little softer, more luxurious than the older aggressive look. We like to see it as less of a fighter jet and more of a corporate jet. “
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