Editor's Note: Our Outboard Expert joins us as guest blogger again, this time from Chattanooga, Tennesee, where he reports on the new outboards Yamaha has just unveiled, as promised in Charles' earlier report, a look at the company's promo "Game-Changer" video. —John Burnham
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 16) The “game changing” outboards that Yamaha has been teasing us with for two weeks were revealed to the media here this evening, along with three other new models, in what the company is calling its biggest new-product roll-out ever. Topping the list is a new 4.2-liter V6 four-stroke powerhead that will be offered as a high-performance Vmax SHO model in 200-, 225- and 250-hp trim aimed at the bass boat market.
Yamaha says this Vmax SHO is a break-through outboard that offers the quiet, smooth operation of a four-stroke in a package that weighs 34 pounds less than its two-stroke Vmax models, and about the same as the high-performance two-strokes from Mercury and Evinrude. Yamaha claims the Vmax SHO will blow away a two-stroke on hole shot with equal top speed, all while delivering 12 percent better fuel economy than its Vmax two-strokes. The motor also features a new high-performance lower unit.
The same powerhead will also be offered in a new line of motors for the offshore market, replacing the 3.4-liter V6 F225 and F250, and the 5.3-liter V8 F300. Apparently, the 3.4-liter F200 and the 5.3-liter F350 will remain in the line. Despite offering 27 percent more displacement, the new F225/250 motors will be eight percent lighter than the 3.4-liter models, while the F300 is 246 pounds, or about 30 percent, lighter than the previous V8 model. Key features include a 70-amp alternator, a Shift Dampening System (SDS) that eliminates propeller “clunk” when the motors are shifted into gear, an available five-inch color LCD Command Link data screen, the ability to rig multiple engines to a single key and kill switch, new digital controls that can throttle four engines with two levers, and an optional digital anti-theft system.
Other new Yamaha models include an F70 four-cylinder that Yamaha claims will be the lightest 70-hp motor on the market – four-stroke or two-stroke. And there is a new F6/4 series that, you guessed it, is lighter than ever. Yamaha says the new F6 is 23 pounds lighter that its current F6 model, or about the same as the old six-hp two-stroke it used to sell.
Yamaha says the four-stroke Vmax models have been in production for a month, while the other new motors will start rolling off the line in early 2010. No word yet on when they reach the dealers.
Lots of big claims. We’ll see if they hold water on Tuesday when we head out to the Yamaha test center on the Tennessee River about 30 miles from here for a day of demos with all of the new product, and in-depth tech briefings. We’ll have more details and driving impressions soon.
– Charles Plueddeman