MIAMI — Mercury Marine introduced four market-specific outboards Wednesday night, ranging from 40 to 400 hp, and presented a number of integrated electronic accessories to make boat operation easier.
On the eve of the 2016 Miami International Boat Show, Mercury unveiled a 115-hp 4-stroke aimed at the inshore saltwater and freshwater bass boat markets. The 115 Pro XS FourStroke joins the Pro XS lineup of 2-stroke direct-fuel-injected (DFI) outboards.
“We are seeing continuous growth of 4-stroke power globally,” Mercury Marine president John Pfeifer told about 33 journalists (nine from outside the United States) at the engine maker’s product introduction at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Miami.
“The 4-stroke is certainly coming in and taking over the 2-stroke, even in the DFI [direct fuel injection] segment. Every year that goes by, DFI goes down and 4-stroke goes up — and disproportionately so.”
The new engine should be particularly popular with freshwater and saltwater tournament anglers and guides. The 115 Pro XS FourStroke is based on Mercury’s current 115-hp 4-stroke — an inline four-cylinder engine – that debuted in 2014. Mercury has given the engine more power and torque, enabling it to crank up to 6,300 rpm.
“The engine is outstanding and carries the base features of the  platform, being the lightest, quietest, most compact and smoothest engine in its class, and now it’s the most high-performing,” said David Foulkes, chief technology officer at Brunswick Corp., Mercury’s parent company.
In 2015 Mercury debuted the Verado 400R outboard. On Wednesday night it unveiled a variant of the outboard specifically meant for offshore racing — the Mercury Racing 400 ROS (Race Offshore). Developed by the Mercury Racing division, the 400 ROS will replace the existing fleet of Mercury Racing two-stroke 2.5L EFI race outboards.
Mercury hit the other end of the horsepower spectrum with the launch of the 40- and 60-hp SeaPro 4-strokes aimed at the commercial workboat market. The engines tout longer engine life and are built for high-hour applications and to withstand heavy saltwater use.
For military and government uses, Mercury Racing also debuted its 175-hp DSI (Diesel Spark Ignition) outboard. The engine features Mercury Racing’s spark ignition, direct-fuel-injected 2-stroke technology, which enables it to run on ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, said Foulkes.
The 3-liter diesel shares 95 percent of its components with the gasoline 2-stroke Mercury outboard from which it is derived, said Foulkes. The similarity allows the engine to be serviced by most Mercury dealers, said Foulkes. In addition to military, government and patrol applications, the new DSI is ideal for boats used as tenders to a mother ship with diesel power, he added.
Mercury, at the in-water portion of the show, is displaying 14 boats ranging from 19 to 50 feet, powered with its outboards and gasoline sterndrives. The 115 Pro XS FourStroke powers a Mako 19 Pro Skiff.
Mercury introduced its next-generation Joystick Piloting System for Verado outboards, Axius gas and diesel sterndrives and Zeus pod drives. The new joystick includes an indicator on the joystick for route, heading and Skyhook (station-holding) modes; it also now has enhanced reverse thrust for Verado applications.
Mercury introduced two new multifunction and multitouch displays — the VesselView502 (5-inch screen) and VesselView702 (7-inch screen). Mercury’s VesselView onboard management system displays real-time boat and engine performance data.
VesselView Link is new as well. It’s a “black box” system that integrates a Mercury-powered boat’s SmartCraft data and control system with specific Simrad and Lowrance instruments, giving the user a Mercury VesselView user interface on the displays of those units.
VesselView now has its own Bluetooth-enabled iOS and Android apps (VesselView Mobile), allowing users to see engine and boat data on their mobile devices. Users also can scan Mercury hardware for maintenance information. Weather, a dealer locator and social media options are among the app’s capabilities.
“It’s a true, comprehensive marine assistant,” Foulkes said.
During his 20-minute presentation, Foulkes talked about the company’s effort to give the consumer Mercury equipment from the prop to the helm, calling groups of Mercury products “ecosystems.”
On a large saltwater center console, for instance, the system might consist of VesselView data with an accompanying mobile app, the integrated joystick, a glass helm with radar, GPS and sonar; and Active Trim (Mercury’s automatic outboard trim management technology).
For propellers, Mercury introduced two new wheels for outboards from 75 to 115 hp — the SpitFire X7 and SpitFire CT. The latter is built with Mercury’s Command Thrust lower unit, a more robust drive with four blades ideal for the holding power needed for pontoons. The X7 is made with Mercury’s new alloy and is built for maximum top speed and acceleration.
Mercury redesigned its side mount mechanical control with improved shifting and better ergonomics. The control works with outboards from 25 to 300 hp.