Powersport and propulsion system manufacturer BRP admits to being relatively quiet lately in touting its Evinrude brand of outboard engines, but only because it was working on making a big splash with a new product and boldly affirming its commitment to two-stroke technology.
Forty-six marine journalists from 14 countries attended a press event that was held Thursday through Saturday in Milwaukee for the unveiling of the second generation of BRP’s Evinrude E-TEC line of 2-stroke outboards. The line was introduced in 2003, but this E-TEC is an entirely different animal.
The E-TEC G2, as it is branded, is the first outboard the manufacturer has built "from the prop shaft to the fly wheel" — the company's first totally new product in 38 years — and BRP boldly promises as much as 75 percent fewer emissions, 15 percent better fuel efficiency and 20 percent more torque than leading four-stroke engines.
Kept under wraps during its two years in development, the G2 is also the first outboard designed for the direct injection system.
When the G2 hits the market this fall, accompanied by a comprehensive advertising and promotional campaign, consumers will have the option of 200-, 225-, 250- and 300-hp models. BRP did not disclose the anticipated MSRP, but Chris Berg, director of marketing and strategic planning, said, "We will be competitively priced with comparable fully rigged four-stroke competitors."
The line will be backed by a 5-5-5 warranty of 5-year engine and corrosion warranty and 500 hours with nodealer-scheduled maintenance.
"Without a doubt, these are going to set the benchmark in the industry for reliability," George Broughton, director of engineering for Evinrude, told an audience of 2,000 dealers, BRP employees and media at a gala “Global Reveal” on Friday.
G2 innovations include a new “starboard-starboard” engine design that features two identical piston chambers, which BRP says is the primary source of the line's torque and long-term reliability.
Journalists had the opportunity to test-drive 27 demonstration boats, all but four rigged with the spectrum of G2 engines. BRP deliberately rigged a wide variety of boats — bay boats, bass boats, center consoles, pontoons and performance boats — to showcase the engine’s versatility.
The consensus was an impressive display of torque, both out of the hole and at mid-range.
The brains of the engine, its Engine Management Module, allows for automatic break-in by adjusting performance to properly break in the engine, regardless of how the consumer runs it. The module also delivers automatic storage and winterization features.
Exclusive features include integrated hydraulic power steering with three levels of assist (minimal, medium and maximum), an i-Trim automatic trim system and dual axis rigging that routes all engine cables through one tube, making for a clean, clutter-free transom. The new SLX gear case is designed to be rugged.
Although BRP touts its redesigned inner workings, it’s the exterior of the G2 that makes a first impression — and that, too, is by design. Gone are the smooth, soft curves, replaced by an angular, almost jagged shape.
"It doesn't look like another outboard. It has to shock to work if you want to change things," said Jason Eckman, product marketing manager, echoing the rallying cry of Denis LaPointe, vice president of innovation, who led the design team that developed the unique look of the G2.
"We need a wow factor," LaPointe said at Friday’s event. "Designing from the ground up meant changing the game."
Adding to its game-changing exterior are five options for standard side panel colors and 14 accent colors designed to help consumers better match the look of their engine to their boat.
The 250-hp HO G2 will burn 21 gallons an hour at wide open throttle, according to the company. That model's carbon monoxide emissions of 570 parts per million at idle speed are "the lowest-ever total emissions" from an outboard, Eckman said.
Two new propellers were designed for the G2 line, the RX4 and Raker H.O., as were fully integrated digital displays ranging from 3.5 to 7 inches, the larger models being touch-screen.