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Sixteen Power Introduces V-16 LS Marine Engine in Miami

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A new high-performance marine engine from a new company—meet the V-16 from Sixteen Power.

In what will go down as one of the bigger year for high-performance marine engine introductions during the Miami International Boat Show, a new Detroit-based company called Sixteen Power unveiled a 16-cylinder LS platform-based engine this morning during the opening day of the 2017 event. According to the company’s Tom Robinson, the V-16 engine, which will be offered in power outputs from 1,200 to 1,600 hp has been in development since 2013.

“Why are we doing it?” Robinson asked. “The easiest way to answer that is we are at the point with V-8 engines with an output of let’s say 1,600 hp where it’s race gas and no warranty and it’s eventually going to blow up. That 200 hp per cylinder—that’s a pretty fair way of looking at the stress the engine is under. That’s where the V-8 engine is right now and it doesn’t matter who you buy it from. When it blow is just a matter of hours.

“Now, take that same horsepower number and divide it by 16 cylinders,” he continued. “You’re looking at 100 hp per cylinder. You just eliminated all the stress that blows up an engine. We were looking to support a new engine platform that can support those power levels.”

According to Robinson, Sixteen Power’s all-aluminum, closed-cooled engine is based off a block that the company designed in house. But the outfit did more than simply create a one-off 16-cylinder billet-aluminum LS block. The company “designed the tooling, developed a casting program and cast the block.” CMI built the exhaust system.

“We had production in mind from day one,” he said. “Every part was specified from specific vendors—and there’s a bill of materials a mile long—with the intention of producing engines. That was our goal from the beginning. We did it the way it was supposed to be done on the shoulders of General Motors. We didn’t have to reinvent all the good parts, just come up with a block and crank and a cam. We had our pick of components for General Motors and the (marine-specific) aftermarket vendors that had millions and millions of dollars spent on them in research and design.”

For a closer look at the new powerplant, check out the slideshow above.

The 854-cubic-inch engine will be offered in naturally aspirated (1,200 hp) and dual-supercharger (1,600 hp) versions. The naturally aspirated model will run on 91-octane fuel. Robinson said that 93-octane fuel is optimal for the higher-output engine, but that it can be programmed—Sixteen Power had an outside vendor create sequential system PCM for the powerplant—to run on 91-octane fuel.

While the new V-16 is 14 inches longer than a standard V-8 offering, it is significantly narrower at 32 inches as opposed to 38 inches for its V-8 counterpart. Robinson said that the greater length of the product won’t hamper installation in full-size catamarans, and that boat builders will appreciate their narrower girth. “There’s no problem installing it in a 40-foot catamaran with an eight-foot-long engine compartment,” he said.

Robinson added that the engine employs four custom-designed-and-built cylinder head from a local high-profile vendor—as with all the components involved in the build he declined to name specific vendors, at least for now. Working with another vendor, the company developed a special crankshaft for the engine.

“Torsitional vibration kills crankshafts,” he said. “Our crank is our own design and much beefier than a standard LS crank.”

Robinson emphasized that while the company will start with 1,200-hp and 1,600-hp models, he is reluctant to place the engine within a specific power output range.

“My attitude is: We’ve created a new engine platform—how much horsepower does the customer need?” he said. “We’re not restricted to making this model or that model. We have a new engine platform. We can make it into many different horsepower levels. That said, it would be hard not to make 1,000 hp. If someone said he wanted 800 hp, we’d have to say, ‘We can’t do that.’ ”

Related story: The Countdown to the Miami Boat Show is On

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