Big-block Mercury available in January

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Mercury MerCruiser's newly developed big-block engine will be available early next year, the company announced today.

The 8.2-liter gas engine, which replaces the 8.1-liter model, will be available in sterndrive and inboard configurations. The catalyst version will be available Jan. 1, while the non-catalyst model is scheduled for release in mid-2010.

The engine produces more power and has better midrange acceleration, lower emissions and excellent fuel efficiency, according to the company. With base (380 hp) and high-output (430 hp) ratings, it is compatible with such MerCruiser options as the Axius sterndrive system with joystick control, the SmartCraft engine monitoring system, and SeaCore corrosion protection.

It runs on 87 octane fuel, and the catalyst allows for ultra-low exhaust emissions, virtually eliminating exhaust odor, according to the company.

"Not only did the team achieve superior performance while adding a catalyst, they maintained fuel efficiency and improved serviceability without adding cost," Mercury MerCruiser project manager Derric Drake said in a statement.

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