Verado arrives; Mercury launches revolutionary FourStroke

FOND DU LAC, Wis.  Mercury Marine officially introduced Verado, its heralded family of new FourStroke outboard engines, Feb. 12 at the Miami International Boat Show.

The launch is the pinnacle of a five-year, $100 million effort to produce the most sophisticated marine propulsion system in history, which is certain to elevate industry standards and performance expectations. Verado  formerly known as Mercury's Project X  offers acceleration, speed and durability never before seen from a four-stroke engine, yet it is nearly silent. Even at high speeds, noise of the engine rarely equals the ambient wind or the slapping of water against the hull.

Additionally, Verado isn't simply an outboard, it's a completely integrated propulsion system with steering and control systems. Also, it offers long-term emission-compliance with a three-star California Air Resources Board (CARB) rating.

"The introduction of Verado is a landmark for Mercury Marine, and the dawning of a new era for the outboard industry," said Patrick Mackey, president of Mercury. "It's impossible to fully convey the passion, dedication and effort  not to mention the thousand upon thousands of hours  that have been poured into researching, designing, testing and producing this amazing integrated outboard system. It embodies the very essence of Mercury Marine: power, reliability and state-of-the-art technology. And it will forever change the way boat-owners regard outboard engines." "I couldn't be more proud of the way this organization has worked hand-in- hand to turn this vision into reality. I'm certain our customers will be absolutely delighted."

During the past two years, selected guests and members of the media have viewed Project X engines at various evolutionary stages through exclusive sneak previews. Little specific information about the engine was released, but the response was always the same  "Unbelievable!"

Assembled on a unique and efficient state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar production line, the Verado family of FourStroke engines delivers a number of firsts for Mercury and for the marine industry. For example, Verado is the world's first production outboard to feature a supercharger. Its remarkable torque and acceleration are results of an exclusive supercharged induction system with charge-air cooling and electronic boost pressure control.

Verado's supercharger, co-developed by Mercury and highly regarded IHI Turbo America, significantly boosts power by forcing a higher air volume into the combustion chamber than that delivered by a naturally aspirated system. Supercharging provides Mercury the best possible combination of packaging, throttle response and thermodynamics management.

The supercharger system enables Verado to create outstanding horsepower with a smaller-displacement block. Traditionally, a minimum of 3.0 liters has been required to mass produce a 250 hp outboard engine. Verado's smaller- displacement/higher-horsepower strategy allows it, in many cases, to outperform two-stroke engines of equal horsepower. That clearly differentiates Verado from standard, V-block four-stroke marine engines. "This purpose-built engine was designed from the ground up with powerful software, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to ensure maximum reliability and durability in any marine environment," said Steve Miller, marketing product manager for Verado. The assembly processes and procedures used to manufacture the Verado family of engines represent a new standard in outboard manufacturing, as components are continually measured and tested throughout the assembly line.

Mercury Marine employs Six Sigma fundamentals in its manufacturing processes, and is the first marine-engine company to be fully ISO-certified. Straight-Six with Smaller Displacement.

This in-line six-cylinder power plant has a displacement of 2.6 liters, or 158.5 cubic inches. The general configuration will be used for the 200, 225, 250 and 275 horsepower models. Mercury will begin volume production of all four models in April to assure that our partners will receive adequate supplies for 2005 model-year commencement. The remainder of the Verado family will be available within the 2005 model year.

Verado's valve train features four valves for each of its six cylinders with a double-overhead cam (DOHC) design. The engine blocks, cylinder head and crankcases are cast in Mercury's Pressurized Lost Foam Foundry in Fond du Lac, Wis.

Supplying fuel to this state-of-the-art engine is a computer-controlled, sequential, multi-port fuel-injection system. Precise fuel-delivery and metering provides Verado maximum fuel efficiency, no-smoke operation and outstanding acceleration. The injector system also eliminates the need for a primer bulb, a first for the marine industry.

Under the cowl, an idle exhaust-relief system with a low-pass acoustic system produces a best-in-class idle sound level. In fact, at idle the engine can't be heard by most passengers. At wide-open throttle, the loudest sound detected by operators is typically the wind or the waves. A patented supercharger air-induction system, with a highly tuned intake resonator, reduces intake noise by up to 14 dBA in the midrange to full-throttle levels, without sacrificing engine performance.

Additionally, high-performance acoustic foam lining is used extensively in the top cowl, with closed-cell acoustic foam lining the chaps and essentially absorbing high-frequency, mechanical engine and driveshaft noise.

Verado's world-class noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) level is achieved through a number of unique design features, including cowling, exhaust and a high-performance Advanced Midsection (AMS) progressive-rate mounting system. The AMS mount cradle is strategically placed around the engine's center of gravity, and the engine mounts isolate and reduce vibration transmitted to the boat by 50 percent, while improving overall handling at high speeds.

A very Smart engine . . .

With its fully integrated system, Verado takes boating into the 21st century. Automobiles have evolved according to consumer needs, but the outboard engine has changed little since its creation more than 100 years ago. Verado rectifies that.

Verado's integrated system provides unmatched engine information and vessel-systems integration, which means boaters are freed of hassles such as steering torque, unreliable mechanical cables and doubts regarding the engine's performance. SmartCraft, Mercury's digital engine-management system, monitors all vital functions of the outboard, conveniently and constantly providing essential information to the helm.

Every Verado features Mercury's exclusive SmartCraft Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS), introduced into the OptiMax product line in model year 2002. Tested to 45,000-plus hours of reliability, DTS eliminates traditional mechanical cables to connect throttle controls to transom-mounted engines. DTS is easy to install and calibrate, yet provides unmatched throttle response and smooth, unrestricted shifting.

SmartCraft also arms Verado with programmable two-speed trim and tilt, allowing boat operators to program the trim and tilt range to maximize performance and convenience.

Verado further enhances the driving experience through its exclusive Electro- Hydraulic Power Steering system with an integral hydraulic cylinder. With a small pump mounted inside the vessel, this system eliminates undesirable steering torque without sacrificing engine "feel"  crucial for boat control, especially at high speeds.

Verado's all-new gear case is the product of Mercury's unequalled hydrodynamics expertise. Its diameter and length are slightly greater than Mercury's 3.0L gear case in order to package larger, stronger gears with virtually no loss of top speed. Its gears are 50 percent more durable than traditional gears, with stiffer propshafts, stronger spline connections and a stronger gear housing.

The internal water passages are electrodeposition painted (EDP) for added corrosion resistance.

The gear case is more wear-resistant than traditional gear cases, and its seals can withstand higher temperatures than previous seals. The gear case also features dual water pickups to ensure proper cooling under all running conditions. The Verado gear case features a gear ratio of 1.85:1.

Looks like nothing before it!

Verado's "swept-forward" design features a two-piece cowling that offers good looks and functionality. Because many of the key maintenance points are located front and center on the powerhead, the upper section of the cowling is easily removed via a single, spring-loaded latch for simple access in the driveway or on the water.

Raised bold-letter decals give Verado a sophisticated look, especially when combined with its silver Advanced Midsection.

"The Verado's look will be unique in the marketplace  it will not be mistaken for any other outboard, even from a distance," said Miller.

Verado is designed to be a perfect fit for all applications, from single, dual or triple offshore fishing rigs to bass boats. All models will be available in 20-inch (L) and 25-inch (XL) shaft lengths. Also, 30-inch (XXL) configurations are available in 225, 250 and 275 horsepower models. The 25-inch and 30-inch models will be available in both right- and left-hand propeller rotations.

Verado is backed by a three-year limited warranty and the industry's only three-year limited corrosion-failure warranty.

Verado is here. And it's here to stay.

Mercury Marine is a division of Brunswick Corporation, which is based in Lake Forest, Ill.. Mercury Marine's home page can be found at www.mercurymarine.com.