MIAMI SHOW: Mercury Debuts New 400 Outboard

MIAMI SHOW: Mercury Debuts New 400 Outboard

Mercury Marine's Lee Gordon (far left) and John Pfeifer (third from left) with Speedboat Magazine's Ray Lee and Bob Teague at the Miami International Boat Show.

The Miami International Boat Show kicked off with a major announcement from Mercury Marine and Mercury Racing: The Fond du Lac, WI-based powerhouse introduced a new version of its 400 Verado outboard based on its L6 2.6L supercharged engine series.

The new 400—no “R”—is a slightly milder outboard. Company President John Pfeifer explained the difference between the two 400s: “We took what we did with the 350, which is one of the most popular engines we have ever introduced, and we extended that to a mainline 400-hp Verado. So it’s different from the 400R, which is an important product. That engine was built for very high speeds and very high performance, and has an HD Sportmaster gearcase.”

In distinguishing between the 400 and 400R engines, Pfeifer offered an automotive analogy. “An AMG is for people who are the absolute performance enthusiasts—they want something very specific, which is the absolute highest top speed and acceleration that they could possibly get out of an engine. Whereas a Mercedes delivers great performance but is applicable to a much wider range of boats in the industry. This new 400 Verado can be applied to center consoles, offshore fishing boats, big sport boats, bay boats and pontoon boats. It won’t give you noise, vibration and harshness. People want smooth and they want quiet. They want it to feel like it’s electric power, like when you’re going 10 knots or below.”

Although the 400 Verado won’t deliver speeds quite as fast as its 400R counterpart, Pfeifer said that the new engine will be extremely weight manageable and offer superior fuel economy. “This engine is not even 700 pounds,” he said. “It’s not easy to get 400 hp out of an outboard engine that’s perfectly quiet at slow speeds with no vibration transmitted into the boat and keep it less than 700 pounds. That’s not an easy thing to do. But boat builders love that, because they don’t want tons of weight on the back of the boat. They want to keep the weight manageable, and consumers like it because it gives them better fuel economy.”

The 400 Verado comes with all the usual convenient features, like joystick piloting and color options (including black and three different shades of white).

Mercury also introduced a 5-6 Engine Replicator to facilitate the operation of numerous outboard engines coupled to a single boat, and also introduced a revolutionary automatic docking system that works as a virtual bumper for your boat, making docking simple and foolproof.