May 18th 2018 – I have seen things. Things that will shape the future of boating as we all know it. Things that have been kept a secret for over three years, till now. Things that some of the most dedicated minds in the outboard motor industry at Mercury Marine pioneered to create a complete game change, a new slate a new way of doing things in the fourstroke outboard motor world. Things that have made me smile since the moment I laid eyes on it, imagining what the future will hold.
This year has been super exciting for me for a lot of reasons. Besides all the fun I have from owning and operating one of the busiest Key West fishing charters I was invited to visit one of my favorite places on the planet 3 different times since January to hang out with some of the most influential people in the Outboard motor world at Lake X. Add that to spending some time with some of my closest friends from Mercury Marine.
Now I bring my first hand experiences to you.
My Experience With The V8 300 Fourstroke Verado From Mercury Marine.
On my 24 Yellowfin Carbon Elite Bay Boat.
Back in January I got a call from a Mercury exec asking me if I might have a single engine boat they could use for testing some new power applications. Just so happened I had a brand new 24ft Yellowfin carbon elite bay boat coming out of the factory in Sarasota. The current Yellowfin 24 bay boat that I use fishing in Key West was still fully functional and I did not need the new boat yet. So I was able to offer this brand new boat to Mercury as long as they needed it to test away. Immediately this led to an amazing photo shoot in Islamorada with Bass2Billfish very own Peter Miller who also fishes on a Yellowfin 24 bay. I met my new completed boat for the first time in Islamorada where Peter and I spent the entire day running the crap out of it with the new 300 Verado V8 fourstroke from Mercury Marine. I’d say that day we put over 4 hours of strong run time on that motor certainly giving me a feel for the new power and weight on a hull that I have been fishing for over 10 years. What a great way to get started with this new platform.
I could feel the differences the minute I stepped on the boat that early morning, the boat felt lighter. When the Mercury folks uncovered the motor for the first time for me to see I was in awe. Keep in mind I am a HUGE Mercury fan, some say I bleed black so I would be sensitive to any aesthetic ugliness. As I looked at the Mercury V8 fourstroke for the first time I thought she looked more robust than the L-6 Mercury Verado. Shorter, lower center of gravity and stronger looking. Just sitting there it looked angry and ready to eat anything in its path. I couldn’t wait to run her.
See The Video: Uncovering The Mercury V8 Fourstroke – behind the scenes.
I started the motor and all the things we love about Verado were there. Quiet, smooth with absolutely no vibration, the Verado steering we all love and the digital throttle and shift D.T.S. My new boat had the latest in tech on the dash from Mercury Marine with the Vessel View 703 that had a bunch of new features in it that made it easier to use than the previous versions and some gadgets that make boating easier to do for everyone, such as Active Trim. All of this was networked with two Garmin Marine GPS in my dash. Certainly a fantastic set up.
The idle time out of Angler House marina where we got started from was agonizing to say the least, I couldn’t wait to pounce on this throttle like a cat with a new ball of yarn. I think Peter was a little nervous with my reputation as a “spirited” boat driver. I got clearance from the photo guys to go out and get used to the boat a bit before we shoot. Once in the clear, off we went. I hit the throttle hard and immediately Peter and I noticed that we had to Hold On this thing has some serious grunt. The hole shot was so noticeably strong I stopped the boat and did it again, and again and yes.. again.. Holy Smokes, a naturally aspirated (no super charger, no turbo, no compressor) motor that has an amazing hole shot? How does that work?
After learning all about the Mercury V8 Fourstroke 300 Verado I found out the kick ass hole shot comes from the induction system. They elongated the way the motor breaths making it respond faster to initial throttle request. Add that to a really cool thing called Transient Spark technology where the V8 motors throttle request is met by advancing the spark timing for a duration decided by the computer to crank up the torque and improve hole shot and acceleration. Sounds complicated but one thing is for sure, it works, its very noticeable and this is my new favorite feature. This technology is found in the V6 as well. Remember – Transient Spark Technology = Hole shot and haul ass acceleration, maximizing the 4 strokes capabilities. Can I say, Makes her feel like an old 2 stroke.
Note: I am used to running the 24 yellowfin bay boat with a Mercury 350 Verado or Mercury Racing 400r Verado. This motor was stronger out of the hole at 300 Hp than either the 350 or 400.
As Peter and I did the photo shoot running the boat and having a few laughs We noticed that the motor was super smooth. Just like its predecessor the L-6 Mercury Verado the 300 V8 Verado had all the same characteristics we came to love. This generation of Advanced Mid Section A.M.S. is even quieter and less vibration than the L-6 Verado platform as Mercury intended it.
About two weeks later I met my new boat again at Lake X with the same V8 Fourstroke Mercury Verado motor on it where I could get some real world experience taking many folks for a ride on my new sled. Truly get a feel for what this motor application was going to offer my boat in load carrying, comments from the riders, overall run time with true fuel numbers, top end and mid range cruise.
I was doing boat rides around the lake with mostly OEM boat builders, so the comments were coming from educated boaters / builders and related to how this motor platform would do for each of their hull designs. It was very enlightening to hear the comments. There were a few things that stood out for me from the comments as I drove around the lake countless times at all RPM ranges, speeds and various loads.
Mercury v8 Fourstroke Styling
Most of the folks were impressed. Comments like Mercury esque. Cool new colors and looks very bold to go with the whole Go Boldly marketing package that Mercury has been using for the last year or two.
Me personally, I love it. Im not sure how the hell they crammed a V8 in that box with 4.6 liters but its in there and looks pretty darn cool. The midsection looks a little different than the Mercury Verado L 6 but mostly due to the oil drain located on the side of the chaps like the 150 has had for a few years now. On the AMS Verado 300 version there is a separation between the upper cowling and splash pan where you can see the Advanced Mid Section do its thing, allowing the motor to flex in its mounts. One other note is that I also like that the styling being very similar from the 300 V8 fourstroke Mercury all the way down to the 40 hp fourstroke. Similar just different sizes.
Mercury Outboard Colors
Mercury Marine will offer the V8 300 in four cowling base colors. Pearl Fusion, Cold Fusion, Warm Fusion and traditional Mercury Phantom black. Whats really kinda cool is the vanity stripe for the back of the motors. its an inset strip that accentuates the motor. These colors will come from the factory as Graphite Grey, Mercury Silver, Pacific Blue, Redline Red and primer coat for your OEM to paint for you to match your boat. This day and age everyone wants to personalize their boats to look maximumly Cool. I like this, its still uniform and still screams that its a Mercury Outboard motor under there. My favorite color is still Black On Black..
Advanced Mid Section
As I drove around the lake I did notice the V 8 flexing around in the splash pan slightly on top of the mounts that are holding the motor from several directional locations. The folks I had riding with me did not notice it unless I pointed it out and then they were impressed to really see the AMS it in action. An engineer would have to explain this properly but I am going to say that the motor and all its torque live in its own little swing bed that absorbs all the vibration and shock while its doing its thing. Rough water, hole shots, turns and Joystick piloting. Just like the previous Mercury Verado L6 you will not feel a thing. I tried to tweak and torque this motor as much as possible and never did I feel disconnected to the water with this amazing system but I could definitely see it working.
Advanced Noise Control
Its funny, we all love the Verado for being so quiet. I guess some didn’t like it being so quiet at the dock so Mercury threw in a little present. Its called Advanced Noise Control. This is a toggle switch built into the system that allows the user to switch to a throatier or more sporty tune at low RPMs. Kinda sounds like an old Camaro V8. A little Cammy with some robust starting burst. I think it sounds very cool. There is No performance gains from having this feature turned on just audible candy. Imagine if you had four of them on the transom and you want everyone to know you are leaving. Vroom.
This feature is available FULL TIME only on the CMS Pro XS V8.
Mercury Active Trim
When I was taking folks out in my boat at the Lake I always brought out the new Mercury Active Trim system and showed them what I thought the benifits of that system was on boats in gerneral. This system automatically activates the power trim to a computer desired location for optimum performance. A toggle switch on the vessel view turns it on or off or you can over ride it by hitting the power trim button yourself each time you vary the RPM. Me personally I do not use this technology but for boaters who are point and shoot this system is hugely beneficial. Just push throttle and go.
RPM Props and Gear Ratio
The Verado 300 V8 Fourstroke will come in 2 different gear ratios. Depending on your application you can decide which you need. The 1.85 will be great for heavier loads and the 1.75 is great for down the road and higher speeds. We were able to run the same prop on the 300 V8 as we do on the 350 L6 Verad0 on my Yellowfin 24 bay boat. Rpm Range on the 300 V8 is 5200 to 6000. This will all be great for those looking to re-power and not have to buy a prop.
Fuel Ecconomy Was Awesome
Fuel economy on my boats is a huge thing. I am a Key West fishing guide and extra fuel cuts into my bottom line. That said, I also love to run my boat long distances at a pretty good rate of speed. A high cruising speed with great fuel economy is a double pleasure for me.
Running around on the lake with a full tank of fuel and loads from 1-4 guests I was able to really get a feel where the V8 might fail in fuel economy. It didn’t. Across the board the fuel economy was impressive and better than my L 6 Verado applications.
I guess the only way I can put a comparison here is this boat Yellowfin 24 Carbon Elite with a 350 Verado L6 vs The V8 Fourstroke Mercury Verado. I was up 7% in fuel ecconomy at 42 MPH over the 400. I as up 5 % at 50 mph.
Less Weight – Really?
Yes.. thats right. our line of thinking when we say fourstroke outboard motors has us locked into the motors being heavier. Not the case here. In fact, the full blown Verado V8 300 fourstroke is actually 50 lbs lighter than the Verado L6 300 coming it at a modest 606 lbs. Then, the V8 CMS version Fourstroke is even lighter coming in at 505 lbs for the 250 and 300 XS versions. That is even lighter than the 250 Pro XS OptiMax. So, start thinking. 4 Stroke = lighter. It’s weird, I know. What will they think of next?
Motor Of The Future? Yes, at least the near future.
I have been with Mercury professionally since 1994. Mercury Racing since 1999. I have personally attended the debut of every major break through for Mercury Marine since the v-6 175 Black Max in 1975 – 76 at the Miami Boat show. That includes OptiMax, Verado, 4 stroke all the XS motors, The Rs and now this. Things I like about this platform are the V8 size 4.6 liter. I really felt that the larger motor really helped in developing the torque needed to make this motor out perform its 300 Hp L 6 Verado predecessor in several areas. Making the entire line up resemble each other from 175 – 300 was a great idea. This will help in brand recognition and parts. The V6 is just a 2 calendar less motor than the V8 essentially all the same parts. For styling I think look of the new motors are very cool and very Mercury. I love the little top door for accessing the fluids and what not without removing the whole cowling. Everything else was all what we come to expect from the excellence in Mercury Outboards that is Verado.
For the big boat and multi engine applications the advantages are obvious. Better fuel, works with joystick, all the cool stuff Verado has and lighter weight. All while keeping the same general physical size and bolt paterns. All a huge win in the industry.
Of course this is better.
Video Clip: Introducing The Mercury V8 Line up.