Former Powerboat magazine readers with great recall will remember that when Mercury Marine introduced its Verado outboard engines in 2004, lead engineer/project manager Claus Bruestle said that while a 400-hp version was “possible” it was not—at the time—”necessary.” Bruestle, who came to Mercury from Porsche, is gone from the Fond du Lac, Wis., company—and Powerboat is gone, period—but with this morning’s official unveiling at the Miami International Boat Show the Mercury Racing Verado 400R engine has arrived.
Why now? The answer can be found, literally and figuratively, in the growth of the performance center consoles from traditional go-fast sportboat builders such as Cigarette Racing Team and Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats. As sales in the market segment have grown, the sizes of the models within the segment have grown with them. Bigger models can take bigger power. Timing being everything, Mercury Racing saw a demand, created a supply and possibility became reality.
According to press materials from Mercury Racing, the 400R features a custom cold-air induction system for improved air flow and power development, while reducing intake noise for improved sound quality. The outboard’s new water-cooled supercharger was designed to reduce intake temperatures and significantly increase air density. The hardware enhancement reportedly enables the engine to generate “unprecedented torque and unmatched acceleration all the way from the lower end of the power band up to the 7,000 rpm maximum engine speed.” Designed to run on 91-octane fuel, the 400R is equipped with electronic knock control that enables it to run safely on 89-octane fuel if the higher-octane gasoline is unavailable.
Check out the slideshow above for a close look at the Verado 400R.
The 400R is the first Verado outboard to be offered with the manufacturer’s performance-oriented Sport Master gearcase. To enhance the performance gains of the Sport Master unit, the 400R boasts stainless-steel guide plates with composite wear pads on the “Advanced Midsection” for greater engine stability and improved handling at speed. (For more traditional applications in which more bow lift is desired, the engine is also available with the standard Verado 5.44-inch HD gear case.)
Incorporating Mercury’s SmartCraft technology, the 400R is the first Verado compatible with Zero Effort Controls and Joystick Piloting for Outboards. JPO is compatible with the company’s Auto Pilot with Skyhook “digital anchoring system” that works in tandem with a boat’s GPS system.
On the aesthetic side, the Mercury Racing Verado 400R is offered in Cold Fusion white and the legendary Mercury Phantom Black—Cold Fusion white models come standard with Mercury Racing Blue accents. In addition, seven custom-color accent decal kits are available on Cold Fusion white models.
The 400R comes standard with a two-year limited warranty. Pricing has not been announced.
Editor’s note: To download full specifications for the Verado 400R, click here.