VIDEO: Mercury Marine debuts four new engines

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Mercury Marine introduced four new engines — 75-, 90- and 115-hp 4-strokes and a 4.5-liter 250-hp MerCruiser gasoline sterndrive.

"These engines are a result of a tremendous amount of consumer research and development activity by [our] team and we are proud to unveil them here and have you put them through their paces over the next couple of days," Mercury president of global sales and marketing Kevin Grodzki told about 40 journalists Monday night at the opening-night dinner of a three-day press event at Mercury’s headquarters in Wisconsin.

Mercury says the new outboards boast a large displacement of 2.1 liters and a low weight of 359 pounds (20-inch shaft) for their horsepower. The new 4.5-liter, 250-hp sterndrive/inboard engine platform is the first recreational gasoline engine designed and built in-house by Mercury, the company said.

"With outboards we have always had the luxury of deciding what technology we wanted in our engines, and now we can do the same with our sterndrive engines," Mercury vice president of product development, engineering and racing David Foulkes told me after dinner. "The direction of the auto engines was not fully serving our customers. We are now able to give them features that are built into the engine exclusively because they are marine engines."

A good example of that is the position of the new MerCruiser's throttle body, which faces aft instead of forward. "With the previous engines the throttle body was always facing the driver, and so was the noise that was being generated," Foulkes said. "Now we can direct that noise aft and away from the driver."

Mercury Marine said last year that it would develop its own engines, separating itself from the automotive market.

The 4-strokes are now available to dealers and builders. The sterndrive will hit the market in September.

What a month for outboards. Suzuki and Evinrude already have come out with new engines at press events, and now Mercury joins the fray. Next week, I will be attending a Honda Marine press event that also promises new product.

Marine media will get a chance today to run the new Mercury engines, which will be mounted on more than a dozen boats from about 18 to 31 feet. There also will be boats with other Mercury propulsion, including the powerful 520 racing engine and 300-hp Verados with a Glass Dash.