The debut of the new Evinrude E-TEC 300 was the outboard surprise of the Miami International Boat Show. This is the second model from BRP Evinrude to utilize the 3.4-liter (3441cc) version of the company’s 90-degree V6 powerhead, created by lengthening the stroke of the 3.3-liter (3279 cc) block used on the 200 to 225-hp E-TEC motors. We reported on the first 3.4-liter Evinrude, the bass-centric E-TEC 250 H.O., in December (The Outboard Expert: Evinrude Adds High-Perf 250 Outboard). This new Evinrude 300 (www.brp.com) is aimed at the high-performance offshore fish-boat market. It has all of the powerhead upgrades that are featured on the 250 H.O., including revised exhaust tuning and port timing, redesigned pistons and cylinder heads, and a free-flowing airbox. The new inner exhaust tube now cast as a single piece replaces an assembly of 25 separate parts. BRP rates this motor at 300 hp.
What’s different about the E-TEC 300 is its gearcase. BRP calls it the SLE (Straight Leading Edge) Magnum gearcase, and it has a very different shape from the nose cone-style Lightning gearcase used on the 250 H.O. As its name implies, the SLE Magnum case has no curve to its leading edge and according to BRP it’s more hydrodynamic than the gearcase used on the other Evinrude V6 models. The straight leading edge is also supposed to do a better job of shedding weeds and debris that might clog the water intakes. But just to make sure, the new case has secondary intakes on the front of the case housing, which a BRP engineer told me were designed specifically to address cooling issues on multi-engine offshore rigs, where turbulence can starve engines of cooling water at high trim angles. The SLE Magnum also has larger, stronger gears and a more-robust bearing carrier. The gear ratio is 1.85:1. Look for the SLE Magnum case to show up on other Evinrude V6 models in the future.
The Evinrude 300 of course is an E-TEC direct-injection two-stroke, which makes it a light-weight in the 300-hp class. With a 25-inch shaft BRP says the E-TEC 300 weighs 528 pounds (the 30-inch model weighs 534 pounds; there is no 20-inch version). Consider that a 4.0-liter Suzuki DF300 (www.suzukimarine.com) weighs 604 pounds, and the 2.6-liter supercharged Mercury Verado 300 (www.mercurymarine.com) weighs 635 pounds. The Mercury Racing Optimax 300XS (www.mercuryracing.com), the only other two-stroke with a 300-hp rating, weighs 517 pounds. Of course, outboard weight becomes a less-significant issue as the boat gets larger and heavier, but in my book lightness is always a virtue.
At Miami, I took a quick ride on a new SeaHunter Tournament 35 (go to www.seahunterboats.com to see detailed performance reports for this boat rigged with other outboard configurations) powered by three Evinrude E-TEC 300 motors. This 35-foot center console has a 9′ 10″ beam and weighs just 6,000 pounds dry (without power), thanks in part to a Kevlar-composite hull. With 120 gallons of fuel on board, the trio of Evinrudes pushed the boat to about 68 mph, achieved 1.3 mpg at 40 mph, and managed 1.0 mpg at 55 mph. This was my first ride with the big-block E-TECs in a few years, and I was impressed with the smooth, quiet operation of this latest-generation Evinrude.
My seat-of the pants impression? The motors planed the SeaHunter off in good order, but when I nailed the throttles I didn’t feel the same mid-range punch you get from a Verado. And note I said throttles, as BRP does not offer digital controls like those available with the 300-hp four-strokes from Suzuki and Mercury, although BRP says that’s coming. Nor do you get the power steering that’s a standard feature on the big Verado.
With a 25-inch shaft, the Evinrude E-TEC 300 has a suggested retail price of $22,360 (but BRP suggests you see a dealer for street pricing). MSRP on the Verado 300 is $21,890. The Suzuki DF300 is priced at $24,334. As always, prices do not include prop, controls, and other rigging materials.
Editor’s Note: Charles Plueddeman is the editor at large for Boating, the nation’s largest recreational boating magazine.