No, silly, Volvo Penta isn't 350 years old - but they do have a new V8 that cranks out a healthy 350 horsepower. This powerplant fills the gap between the Volvo Penta V8 380 introduced last season, and the 320-hp version.
This new range came into being for Volvo Penta in an effort to upgrade their environmental standards to meet EPA Tier 3 requirements, provide an improved power-to-weight ratio, and optimize performance. One of the key attributes is the use of variable valve timing, which is common in the automotive world but not in marine powerplants. boats.com got a ride on a boat powered with this new engine, the Bryant Calandra, at the Miami boat show. Two things stood out to reviewer Brett Becker: how quickly it pushed the boat onto plane, and how quiet it was. Sound levels, of course, depend to a large extent on the boat builder and how well they insulate the engine room, but Volvo does claim the 350 has low noise and vibration levels. And the quick planing ability is at least partially due to that variable valve timing. One of the perks this feature provides is optimized low-RPM torque, which correlates directly with how fast a boat gets out of the hole. Both claims of lower noise and vibration and improved acceleration do match up with our other experiences with engines in this range, including the 380-hp tested in a Chris-Craft 25 Launch and a Danalevi 22, and the 320-hp engine tested in a Cruisers 279 Sport Series and a Cruisers 278 Sport Series Extreme, among others. At some point experience confirms the manufacturer assertions, and we feel like we've reached that point. The 350 integrates with Volvo Penta's EVC electronic controls, and the DPS Duoprop outdrive. It's a six-litre four-stroke with a 101.6 mm bore x 88.4 mm stroke, and a compression ratio of 9.4:1. For more information, visit Volvo Penta of North America.