Mercury Marine’s new 5.7L V10 outboard continues the legendary Verado legacy.
For years, Lake X was a secret location where Mercury Marine covertly developed and tested marine engines without inquiring minds from the outside world. Known officially as Lake Conlin, just south of Orlando, Florida, Mercury no longer owns the private lake, but still uses it to test and refine its engines, and if you locate it on Google Maps, you won’t get in without an invitation nor will you see the lake from the gates.
Southern Boating was invited to Lake X for an event that revealed Mercury Marine’s newest outboard engine—the Verado 5.7L V10, the follow-up of last year’s groundbreaking V12 600-hp Verado with the first steerable gearcase and two-speed transmission. The V10 fills a niche in the Verado lineup with a 350-hp and 400-hp model that not only goes under the scrutiny of Mercury’s Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) tests, but is compatible with its latest SmartCraft digital technology suite which integrates the engine with onboard systems and equipment. What we saw at Lake X was a very quiet outboard that operated with Digital Throttle and Shift, Active Trim, Joystick Piloting, and the Skyhook Digital Anchor, to name some of the SmartCraft options.
We were able to test and get a feel for the engines, billed as the quietest (up to 45 percent more so at cruise than competitors), on several different boat brands. In fact, this year, Mercury Marine’s parent company, Brunswick, brought to the lake all but two European brands fitted with the V10 or the engine that best fit the model. For example, the Heyday H20 towboat uses the Mercruiser 6.2L H.O. inboard, and the Lowe Stinger 198 was fitted with a 150-hp Pro XS outboard. Not only did we get to test the V10 on boats from a pontoon to a Freeman 47 catamaran, but we also got to try the other Brunswick brands. It was an opportunity to get on boats we’d never have the chance to ride.
I grew up on Michigan lakes where
pontoon boats are, pretty much, standard vessels, so I took my first ride on an Avalon 2585 Catalina Platinum tritoon with twin 400-hp V10 outboards. As soon as our captain hit the throttle, the acceleration was so quick, I was pressed back into my seat like a jet pilot and, in seconds, the boat was up to 70 mph.
I could feel the sudden astonishment in my facial expression as our pontoon in Michigan only has a 90-hp on it. The looks on my fellow riders’ faces showed I wasn’t alone, and word quickly spread for those attending the event to give it a try. Once we settled in, engine control was noticeably smooth, but the lack of noise from the outboards is what caught our attention.
That was the case throughout the day with comments that the engines were so quiet, you started hearing the other boat noises which are usually drowned out by the typical outboard whine. It was humorous to see the reaction of others on board the boats as they tilted their heads trying to figure out what and where the noises were coming from. Through Mercury’s constant improvement in its NVH tests, a refined Advanced MidSection mounting system isolates vibration from the powerhead, and fine-tuning dampens induction sounds to nearly eliminate injection noise. Owners even have the option to choose the level of sound—an exclusive Advanced Sound Control feature that lets you toggle between a whisper-quiet exhaust tone or a husky growl to hear the horsepower at startup and idle.
As I said, acceleration was instant, and besides Mercury’s aspirated powerhead and quad-cam design, a newly engineered, hydrodynamic gearcase improves performance as well as fuel efficiency. But it’s the all-new Revolution X propeller with a larger diameter and wider blades that combines with the new gearcase to provide that thrilling acceleration.
Engine weight is another benefit; the V10 weighs only 695 pounds and because it has a mount with 26-inch centers, just as the V8 outboards, the engine is compatible with current transom mounting designs for multi-engine setups or for repower.
Mercury also has an industry first option for the V10, a fitted, dual-mode 48V/12V alternator. The outboard comes standard with a 150-amp alternator for charging batteries, but the optional alternator is designed to pair with Brunswick’s Navico Group’s Fathom e-Power System, which is an integrated lithium-ion auxiliary power management system. The Fathom system gives an owner the opportunity to eliminate their generator while still powering high-draw systems such as a gyrostabilizer and air conditioning.
Mercury Marine also revealed several other projects in the works for 2023. “Autonomy has been an area we have focused on a lot,” says Aine Denari, president of Brunswick Boat Group. “This is an area around making things more intuitive, helping our consumers in challenging circumstances, making them feel more comfortable.”
Docking is one of those challenging circumstances. “On the electrification side of the house, we plan to have four electric boats in the field by the end of 2023,” she adds. The low-voltage Avator electric outboard and a new surf boat by Heyday are just a tease of what’s to come, all part of Brunswick’s ACES strategy: Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification, and Shared Access.
The Verado V10 utilizes the best of Mercury Marine’s technology to provide a smooth, quiet, and responsive outboard for those looking to power up in the 350- to 400-hp range.
-by Steve Davis
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