At one point in the days leading up to the Miami International Boat Show, it looked as if TNT Custom Marine’s John Tomlinson and I would be running a few boats on the Tuesday prior to the boat show. While it didn’t work out that way in the end, we still got to test-drive a new MTI 340X catamaran—the Mercury Racing-owned model powered by a pair of the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s new 300R engines.
Mercury Racing’s Nick Nida drove the company’s test boat—an MTI 340X sport cat—for a speedonthewater.com photo shoot on Friday morning before the Miami International Boat Show opened. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
The boat, which has been written about on speedonthewater.com (read the story) and was available for a media demo day in early February on Mercury’s Lake X in Osceola County, Fla., was the first sport catamaran to be equipped with the 4.6-liter V-8 outboard engine platform. It also was the first time Tomlinson had driven a boat with the new naturally aspirated V-8s.
As expected, the world champion offshore racing throttleman was impressed with the overall performance of the boat, which has reached a respectable top speed of 113 mph according to its GPS. In contrast, the fastest the Wentzville, Mo., company has had one of its 34-foot cats with a pair of stock Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines is 123 mph. Tomlinson and I found some decent water in the north part of Biscayne Bay and had fun gathering numbers on the 340X to compare to the boat we tested in August on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks during the Speedonthewater.com Mercury Racing Verado 400R Sport Cat Roundup.
Powered by the twin 300-hp engines, which Tomlinson was impressed with, the new 340X reached a top speed of 107 mph in breezy and bumpy conditions on the bay without pushing it too hard. Obviously we knew how well the boat handled and performed after running in a few 34-footers the company had built the past couple of years—what we really wanted to see was how well the boat accelerated versus the twin 400R-powered version.