Mercury Racing’s biggest engine reveals tend to be as much about platform as product. Take the debut of the company’s turbocharged 1,350-hp stern-drive engine at the 2010 Miami International Boat Show, for example. The Fond du Lac, Wis., company wasn’t just unveiling what then was the most powerful production engine in its history, it was introducing its quad cam four valve engine platform, QC4v for short. Since then, that platform has evolved into a line of engines from 860 hp to 1,750 hp.
Already on the transoms of sport catamarans and high-performance center consoles, the Mercury Racing 450R—the company’s most powerful outboard engine—is turning heads. Photos courtesy/copyright Mercury Racing.
Will that be the case with the supercharged 450R outboard engine unveiled at an impressive mid-June event in Nashville? In a way, it already is because in late 2018 Mercury Racing unveiled the naturally aspirated 250R and 300R outboard that are based on the same 4.6-liter V-8 platform as the 450R.
“Four or five years ago when we launched the 400R, we were at the height of transition of marine power away from inboard stern-drive propulsion to outboard power,” said David Foulkes, the chief executive officer of Brunswick Corporation—the parent company of Mercury Marine and Mercury Racing—who was on hand for the media event in Tennessee. “And we had the most powerful, quietest and compact mainstream outboard in the segment. As soon as we got into the development of the V-8 platform we knew we would eventually be able to offer a supercharged derivative of it.”
The supercharged 450-hp V-8 delivers 40 percent more torque than its 400-hp in-line six-cylinder sibling.
The burning question, especially among consumers, is if the 450R will lead to an even more-powerful supercharged outboard based on the same platform. Per company policy, you will not get answers from anyone at Mercury Racing. But that didn’t stop a reporter from asking.
“We’re very happy with the 450R,” said Steve Miller, the company’s director of marketing, sales and service. “We’re going to enjoy it for a while.”
So, for the immediate future at least, the 450R is the belle of the Mercury Racing outboard engine ball. And damn, can that 450-hp beauty dance.