Subscribing to the trickle-down theory of product development, Mercury Marine has applied a number of enhancements that debuted on its new Verado 350 outboard across their line of six-cylinder Verado and Pro FourStroke outboards. The update we can see is a new graphics package and more of a matte (rather than shiny) finish. But there are many more changes under the cowls.

mercury verado

Under the new graphics, all six-cylinder Mercury Verado motors receive significant technical updates.

Introduced in 2004, the Verado platform in now in its fifth generation (Merc insiders call the current models “Gen 5”), and according to Mercury more than 140,000 Verado outboards have been sold since the motors were launched.

In 2004 a big outboard on a pontoon boat was not such a common sight. Today it’s the norm, and to better protect the Verado models from the abundant spray produced by the converging wakes behind a pontoon, all Verados now have the undated top-cowl water-separating intake baffle and improved cowl seals that were designed for the Verado 350. The cowl latches have also been updated, with new release cables that are more resistant to corrosion.

Other updates address fuel delivery. A new set of knock sensors gives boat owners more flexibility when selecting fuel, and better protection from low-octane fuel. Mercury still recommends 91 octane fuel for all six-cylinder Verado motors when that fuel is available, but like the Verado 350 and 400R models, the 250/300 Pro and 300 will now operate safely on 89 octane fuel, while the 200 Pro, 225, and 250 models can run on a minimum 87 octane fuel. For peak performance, owners will want to use the 91-grade, however.

All Verado models are now using the fuel supply module that was originally developed for the Mercury 150 outboard, which combines the lift pump and the high-pressure fuel pump in one unit and does not have a float switch, eliminating a number of moving parts for enhanced reliability.

Finally, Mercury has eliminated the under-cowl fuel filter from all six-cylinder Verado models, and now ships those motors with a much larger water-separating boat-mounted fuel filter with a water-in-fuel indicator. The under-cowl filter was eliminated on the Verado 350 and 400R to reduce the opportunity for vapor lock.

All of these motors also get one of my favorite features from the Merc 150 – a label under the cowl with all maintenance specs and a scan-able QR code to access service videos through an enabled smart phone.

Gen 5 Verados in multi-engine rigs will be fitted with the new tie-bar system that was developed for the Mercury Racing 400R motor. The new solid-billet 300-series stainless-steel coupler is stronger and offers an improved design using stronger fasteners for better clamp load; new Teflon-lined bronze bushings offer 700-percent longer life, according to Mercury.

And one more thing…

mercury engine

A larger, easy-to-use plastic clip (top) replaces the venerable and unloved metal clip (bottom) that has come with every Mercury engine for years.

I’ve been waiting decades for Merc to change the clip on the operator end of its safety lanyards (please don’t call it a kill switch), and it’s finally happened. The old metal clip was small and had so much spring tension it was very difficult to use, which likely meant it was rarely used. It was a clip, I suspect, designed by product liability police to never come off once it was attached. The new plastic clip is large enough to snap over any kind of D-ring on a PFD or a belt loop, and easy to snap back over the cord if you want to wear it on your wrist. No excuse not to use this one…and it’s about time. To replace your old Mercury lanyard, ask a Merc dealer to order part number 8M0092849. The price is $12.33.

For more information, visit Mercury.

Written by: Charles Plueddeman
Charles Plueddeman is's outboard, trailer, and PWC expert. He is a former editor at Boating Magazine and contributor to many national publications since 1986.