Mercury Launches ‘Next Generation' OptiMax Engines
Mercury OptiMax has a resume' most products could only dream about. World’s first direct-fuel-injected two-stroke outboard and now world’s most popular DFI outboard.
Recognised as having the “Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Two-Stroke Outboard Engines” in 2006 by J.D. Power and Associates. But any champion will tell you; to stay on top you’ve got to keep getting better.
With that in mind, Mercury Marine announces the introduction of the next generation of OptiMax engines. The upgrades to the line-up make the best DFI engine ever built, even better. These enhancements vary by model but include such things as improved sound level and quality and new styling, plus a new gear case on the 3.0 litre family members.
There are a dozen OptiMax models ranging from 75 to 300 horsepower, so there is an OptiMax engine built to fit any application from a mid-sized trailer boat to the biggest tournament offshore fishing boat. The various models are grouped in families of 1.5, 2.5 and 3.0 litres, plus the 3.2 litre “Stroker” 300XS just introduced by Mercury Racing.
During the development process for the new generation of OptiMax, Mercury product development and engineering teams focused heavily on key customer attributes, such as durability, reliability, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and overall ease of operation.
Mercury Marine President Patrick C. Mackey has long been a champion of the OptiMax line.
“From the first day I came to this company, I made it clear to our employees and our customers that Mercury Marine would remain committed to the OptiMax technology,” he said. “We have worked countless hours perfecting it and this next generation of OptiMax engines is the product of all that labour. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished.”
Mercury OptiMax Platform Manager Mark Klossner said that the decision to make changes to the top DFI in the industry was not made lightly.
“Dependability is our highest priority with OptiMax,” he said. “While the other achievements we’ve made with the engines are great, dependability and reliability were at the top of everyone’s minds during the design process. The OptiMax has an excellent reputation in the marketplace and we intend to keep it that way.”
While each of the OptiMax engine families underwent changes, the most dramatic differences are in the 3.0 litre models, which range from 200 to 250 horsepower.
“We really targeted the noise levels of these engines, and with a few very unique components, we were able to achieve up to six decibels of sound reduction in the 3.0L family,” Klossner said. “The difference is significant and we know that customers will be thrilled.”
Another significant change to the 3.0 litre family is the adaptation of the gear case that was designed for Mercury’s supercharged FourStroke Verado. A unique and exciting development that allows the gear case to track centrally against propeller torque. The advantage of this versus any other gearcase design is added efficiency, negligible steering torque, low NVH, better fuel economy and higher propeller blow out speed than any competitor. This gear case was designed to withstand the harsh operating conditions that outboards face, especially in large, rough bodies of water.
Although the gear case itself will change, the 3.0 litre OptiMax family gear ratios will remain as they are today. These ratios allow for the widest propping alternatives to meet any boating application.
All three-engine families in the OptiMax product line will have new graphics. Perhaps the most dramatic element in the new graphics packages is the new OptiMax Globe.
“We want the world to know that the OptiMax is the most adaptable, versatile and efficient DFI outboard technology available in the world and that’s the story we are telling with the globe,” Klossner said.
Another key element to the next generation of OptiMax engines is a new cowling for the 2.5 and 3.0 litre families, which features an innovative air intake with aggressive curves for improved aesthetics.
The new OptiMax will feature the next generation propulsion control module (PCM). The Motorola-designed PCM completes millions of calculations each second, controlling everything from oiling ratios to injection timing. The PCM also houses the powerful Engine Guardian Software, which monitors all engine functions for faults. If a fault that could be damaging to the powerhead occurs, Engine Guardian has the ability to limit the engine’s power to a reduced safe level until the problem can be fixed or the operator can return to dock.
Mercury’s exclusive SmartCraft technology will also get an upgrade on the new OptiMax engines. One added feature is Descriptive Text, an enhanced information protocol between the engine and the operator. Descriptive Text will give the operator more detailed information about any engine faults or warning horns by displaying the information on the face of a SmartCraft gauge.
Mercury’s exclusive Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) system will continue to be offered as an option on two OptiMax models, the 200 and 225. DTS provides smooth, instantaneous shifting and throttle response for a sports-car-like feel, and it also streamlines the rigging processes for boat builders.
Fuel economy, one of the greatest strengths of OptiMax, will remain excellent with new OptiMax engines. The OptiMax routinely tops competitive DFI engines in overall fuel economy in independent tests published in boating magazines. In general, a consumer can expect to use up to 45 percent less fuel than with a traditional two-stroke engine of the same horsepower. OptiMax has also established its fuel economy excellence when pitted against the industry’s four-strokes.
“Mercury has taken the leadership position in DFI with the OptiMax,” Klossner said. “Actually, right now, our DFI market share is at an all-time high, which is a direct result of our dedication to this technology. Once these new enhancements enter the marketplace, we expect it to become even more popular.”
OptiMax Improvements include....
Sound levels reduced
New cowls for improved air intake and look
New PCM's incorporating the latest technology
New gear cases
Stock of the 75, 90, 115hp new OptiMax engines will arrive in Australia in September with higher horse powers to follow later in the year. Back to News...