Outboard manufacturers continue to innovate with more power and features than ever. Good thing too, with competitors coming to market – including diesel and electric alternatives. Story By Craig Ritchie. Unless you’ve spent the last decade or so hiding out on a mountaintop in Tibet, it’s impossible to have missed the explosive, global growth in outboard engines. Outboards have certainly grown in size – where a 300hp engine might have been considered ‘big power’ only a few years ago, today it’s not uncommon to see outboards of 400, 425 or 450hp – often mounted in multiples across the back of ever-larger boats. If you really want to go big, Seven Marine offers V8 outboards of up to 625hp – big and powerful enough to more than compete with traditional inboards and sterndrives. This massive upward migration in torque and horsepower is a big reason why we’re seeing more outboards on the water today than ever before. And there are indeed more of them than ever, with global sales increasing from a total of 385,440 engines worldwide in 2009 to 501,569 engines in 2018 – a 30% gain in just 10 years. All of this has made the outboard engine market a very competitive space, driving manufacturers to innovate like mad and bring better, more refined product to market in an endless effort to leapfrog the competitors. That’s great news for us boaties, because with their technical refinements and advanced features, the latest engines are the best we’ve ever seen. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s now coming to market from the major players and the up-and-coming challengers. Cox Powertrain You’ve probably never seen an outboard from British manufacturer Cox Powertrain, but that’s about to change as the company comes to market this year with its innovative 4.4-litre, 300hp diesel outboard. Over 11 years in development, the Cox twin turbodiesel V8 competes against big petrol engines by offering more torque to get heavy boats moving more easily, and significantly better fuel economy for lower operating costs. But the real benefit, says the company, is that the diesel delivers substantially greater range between fuel stops, letting boaties go places they simply can’t reach right now. As in, up to 40% farther according to the firm. Reduced maintenance is another benefit, while fuel commonality should make the diesels a real hit for superyacht tenders. Cox expects to sell a couple of thousand engines this year, then substantially more once a new factory currently under construction comes online. find it @ www.coxmarine.com ePropulsion Chinese electric outboard builder e-Propulsion greets the new decade with its Navy series of electric outboards that compete head-on with portable petrol engines of up to 9.9hp. Driven by compact and powerful 48-volt lithium-ion batteries, the motors offer hours of silent operation without any need to handle fuel. The Navy 6.0 offers four hours of run time yet weighs just 31kg, making it easy to handle. The company notes that with its light weight and no need for a separate fuel tank, the Navy 6.0 – along with its 6hp-equivalent Navy 3.0 stablemate – is particularly attractive for use on inflatable tenders and small boats that dedicated fishers will want to bring to remote locations. find it @ www.epropulsion.com Evinrude One company to eschew the race for bigger engines is Evinrude, which has remained steadfastly focused on the mid-range engines it says represent the core of the market. The company first announced its new 115 HO 140hp and 150hp models last July, but the first units are just making their way to market now. With advanced features including digital shift-and-throttle, Evinrude’s iTrim control system, digital instrumentation, custom colour panels and optional iSteer dynamic power steering, the new G2 models target aluminium fishing boats, pontoon boats, mid-sized RIBs and fibreglass runabouts. In a nod to the fishing market, Evinrude has also recently launched a new tiller-controlled version of its 150hp G2 outboard. Described as the industry’s first 150hp tiller-controlled outboard with integrated power steering assist and digital shift and throttle, the new engine targets boaties who want premium features in their engine along with tiller steering control. find it @ www.evinrude.com Hidea Among the new players competing for a slice of the outboard engine market is a growing number of manufacturers from China, like Hidea. The company launched all-new 40, 50 and 60hp four-stroke models in late 2019 and is preparing to expand its lineup with an all-new 115hp later this year. The three-cylinder, 747cc HDEF40 comes with electronic,  multi-point fuel injection and a high-thrust gearcase designed for more powerful hole shots and improved fuel economy at speed. The 50 and 60hp models share the same 996cc four-cylinder powerhead with eight valves and a single overhead camshaft. find it @ hideaoutboardmotors.com Mercury Marine Mercury has been among the market leaders in terms of bringing larger and more powerful engines to market – introducing a 400hp supercharged Verado last year, followed by a new 450 in its Mercury Racing series. It’s also been in the forefront of developing joystick docking systems, and in co-operation with Raymarine, full auto-docking capability. But all that high-tech hasn’t been confined to the high-end of the market. At the recent Miami Boat Show, Mercury Racing introduced its newest performance outboard, the decidedly mid-range 60R. The 60R is said to be a lighter and more compact design that will still deliver great acceleration for an instant plane in skinny waters. The new outboard fits perfectly on smaller boats with a 38cm transom, and uses a four-cylinder, 1000cc powerhead that revs to 6,300rpm to maximise acceleration and enable more propping options. A single overhead camshaft cylinder head keeps the powerhead as light and slim as possible for less intrusion on the transom, while a powerful 18-amp alternator keeps the batteries happy even when facing constant draws from things like live well pumps. Apart from the new 60, Mercury has also introduced a new tiller control for its existing outboards from 40 to 115hp. Tiller controls enable anglers to steer and control the throttle with one hand, leaving the other hand free to hold a fishing rod – which makes comfort and ergonomics critical. Mercury’s new tiller provides a wide range of vertical and horizontal angle adjustments and is truly ambidextrous in its design, allowing boaties to mount the shift handle and adjust the throttle grip to rotate in either direction for true left-hand or right-hand operation. The new tiller also comes with Mercury’s Troll Control feature, allowing trolling speed adjustments in increments of 10rpm. An integrated engine warning display includes visual and audible warnings for engine oil, temperature, electrical and other faults, while boaties who suffer from cold hands can order the tiller with an optional heated grip with three temperature settings. The best part is that it’s fully retrofittable to existing engines. find it @ www.mercurymarine.com Oxe Diesel Sweden-based Oxe Diesel has been selling its line of 2.0-litre diesel outboards rated at 125, 150, 175 and 200hp respectively to commercial clients for years. But in May of this year the company plans to introduce an all-new 3.0-litre, 300hp model that delivers an eye-popping 680Nm (501 ft lb) of torque. Oxe notes that the new engine will achieve its peak torque at just 1,750rpm, making it well-suited to heavy boats. With substantially lower fuel consumption than comparable petrol outboards, it offers lower operating costs and significantly greater range – benefits that all boaties can appreciate. find it @ www.oxe-diesel.com Parsun Founded in 2001, Suzhou Parsun Power Machine Co. is another outboard manufacturer from China looking to grow its share of the global outboard market. Like many other Chinese outboard builders, Parson initially focused on the small to mid-range end of the market with engines up to 40hp. But with the growing demand worldwide for larger engines it recently began focusing on increasingly larger models. Parsun introduced its largest engine to date just last year – a 60hp EFI model with a 996cc, four-cylinder powerhead and 50cm transom height, which has sold well. But the builder is already looking to up the ante, having announced a new 115hp four-stroke that it plans to bring to market in June. Details about the new 115 are still sketchy, but preliminary videos of the engine undergoing testing show it as a four-cylinder design. find it @ www.parsunmarine.com Torqeedo The expectation is that we’re all going to see more and more electric outboards in the coming years as technological developments in batteries, specifically, give the motors longer run times. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, German electric motor builder Torqeedo has announced two new motors as it prepares to deliver its 100,000th electric motor. The new motors – a professional-grade ultralight motor for serious kayak anglers and a 20hp equivalent Cruise 10.0 T outboard model with tiller steering – will be joined by a series of new fast chargers and a new solar charge controller for the company’s Power 48-5000 series of lithium batteries. Torqeedo’s high-power Deep Blue system is also getting some important improvements in 2020 that will allow quieter operation, along with the seamless integration of joysticks, third-party throttles and wireless controls. find it @ www.torqeedo.com Suzuki Suzuki has been riding a bit of a wave over the last couple of years on the strength of its DF350 V6. Launched as ‘the ultimate outboard’ it’s since spawned a DF325 sibling, and now for 2020 a DF300B version that offers all of the original engine’s high-tech engineering – including its twin contra-rotating propellers – but in a power rating that will make it available to far more boats. Suzuki launched the new DF300B at the Miami International Boat Show to tremendous interest from boaties and boatbuilders alike. Also revealed at the Miami show were new DF150 and DF200 outboards, which each get a bunch of engineering upgrades to make them more fuel efficient than ever. find it @ www.suzukimarine.com Seven Marine Now owned by Volvo Penta, Seven Marine continues to build the world’s biggest outboard engines with its 527, 577 and 627hp offerings – each built on a massive 6.2L GM V8 engine block. Seven Marine has more than just brute power though, with its new ownership it’s now fully integrated into Volvo Penta’s glass helm system bringing features like joystick driving and docking, dynamic positioning, autopilot-joystick integration and Easy Connect remote connectivity. find it @ www.seven-marine.com Tohatsu With the number of Chinese outboard manufacturers introducing new 100hp-plus engines this year, Tokyo-based Tohatsu Corporation has responded with a brand-new 115hp four-stroke of its own. Building on the core design elements first revealed in the company’s MFS40/50/60 models, the 115 incorporates a new exhaust manifold design that contributes to the engine’s particularly high torque, a design feature aimed at giving the new model an edge in pushing large boats like pontoons. What’s more, Tohatsu plans to extend the new design platform to new 75 and 90hp models to be released later this year. Tohatsu is probably best known as a manufacturer of portable outboards, since engines under 30hp represent approximately 90% of its annual sales. Tohatsu’s new four-stroke 2.5/3/5hp and 4/5/6hp engines were completely redesigned following extensive customer feedback. They now incorporate features such as large front and back carry handles for easier transportation and the ability to be stored in the front, starboard or port sides without leaking oil or fuel, making them more attractive options for powering inflatable tenders. find it @ www.tohatsu.com Yamaha Still basking in the success of its new 425 XTO Offshore model, Yamaha has been so busy filling orders for existing engines it hasn’t had a lot of time to focus on developing new gear for 2020. One exception though is the addition of a new X-shaft model in its Super High Output line. Announced last summer, the newly available 200 V Max SHO X-Shaft model joins existing 250, 175, 150, 115 and 90 X-Shaft models offering a 25-inch shaft that’s ideal for deeper draft boats. The company also added to its XTO OS propeller line-up with three new models for 2020. find it @ www.yamahaoutboards.com Yanmar Yanmar took advantage of the Miami show to introduce its new 6LF and 6LT series of inboard marine diesel engines, which feature the VC20 vessel control system for enhanced on-board comfort and an easier overall boating experience. They’re also said to offer exceptional fuel economy while being fully compatible with a wide range of fuel types. But what really drew the crowds in the Yanmar display was its diesel outboard. Yanmar is the global distributor for the Neander DTorque turbodiesel outboard produced by German manufacturer Neander Shark GmbH. Delivering 50hp at the propshaft, the 804cc, twin-cylinder aluminum powerhead generates an astounding 111 Nm (81.8 ft lb) of torque at 2,500rpm. It also features a unique common rail design with twin counter-rotating crankshafts to greatly reduce vibration and noise, while simultaneously reducing steering torque. An expected lifespan in excess of 10,000 hours, combined with excellent fuel economy, has given the DTorque considerable appeal in both leisure and commercial markets. The company is now looking at offering a second model with higher horsepower in the 70 to 80hp range, but with no word on when. find it @ www.yanmarmarine.com