The big reveal happened at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee before thousands of eager faces waiting to get a glimpse of the future … Evinrude style. Five years ago, George Broughton, director of engineering, and his team were tasked to come up with something entirely new that would revolutionize outboard engines, and the futuristic E-TEC G2 is the result.
Change Is Good
At first glance, it jars the sensibilities with its angularity and riot of colors — yes, plural — because this is the first outboard whose plastic side panels and top section are changeable, giving owners a choice of five main colors and 14 accent swoops. In addition, manufacturers can design a “Hero” package with a custom color unique to their brand.
Owners who want a “new” outboard in minutes merely have to negotiate six quarter-turn screws per side to change things out. White and graphite panels are considered standard, and the side panels run $153 apiece; the top panel is $76. Premium panels (red, black and blue) are pricier at $250 per for the side panels and $222 for the top.
Earlier, I tested several G2 outboards on Lake Michigan and found their beauty was more than skin deep thanks to several key innovations. One of the most significant is the G2’s integrated hydraulic steering system (integrated power steering is also available). Look at the transom — where you used to see exposed bars, hoses and wires — and all you see is one fat hose, which amazingly doesn’t even move when you turn the wheel. That’s because the moving parts are tucked away internally, which makes them less prone to corrosion in a marine environment. It can also trim up to 81 degrees, lifting the lower unit well above the water, which will be appreciated by people who keep their boats in clingy critter–prone waters.
Pick a Power
While the G2 is still a direct-injected two-stroke like its E-TEC predecessor, internally the combustion chamber has been tweaked and the exhaust ports repositioned to avoid overheating one side of the piston banks. Evinrude claims the G2 has 20 percent more torque, 15 percent better fuel economy and a whopping 75 percent fewer emissions than others in its class. The G2 comes in seven variations, including the 200 H.O., 225 HP, 225 H.O., 250 HP, 250 H.O., 300 HP and 300 R.A.V.E. The H.O. versions are tuned to produce about 10 percent more horsepower than is labeled on the engine (allowable in the U.S.). Only the 300 R.A.V.E. has a two-position exhaust port, which gives it a fatter power band.
All G2s use a 3.4L, 74-degree V-6 engine block with a bore and stroke of 98 x 76 mm and have a rev limit of 6000 rpm.The difference in horsepower comes from the internal computer’s engine mapping. The weight ranges from 539 pounds for the 20-inch shaft model to 558 pounds for the 25-inch model with power steering. The G2 300 is available with a 30-inch shaft and weighs 580 pounds. Two-strokes need to have oil added to the gas for lubrication, and on G2 engines, a two-gallon reservoir is located internally — an industry first in this class of outboards. The first scheduled maintenance item is at 500 hours.
We tested two varieties of the G2 300 (go big or go home) on two different boats. The first was a Ranger 621VS multispecies fishing boat with a single 300 R.A.V.E, and the second was a Premier Grand Entertainer pontoon with twin 300 hp G2 outboards and the Teleflex joystick docking system.
The surface of Lake Michigan was rippled with 2- to 3-foot waves, giving us a challenging test track. First up was the Ranger. When I jammed the drive-by-wire throttle, there was a bit of a delay before the G2 caught fire and pressed us back into the seats, but even with the lag it registered a time to plane of 3.4 seconds. The sound was fantastic and channeled the old-school two-stoke note, but at a quieter level thanks to tuned silencers. Auto Trim did exactly what the name implied and kept our Ranger running at the appropriate trim level, based on speed. Its zero-to-30 mph was 7.6 seconds, which would have probably been a little faster in flat water. Top speed was a thrilling 59.2 mph over the chop.
Hopping aboard the Premier Grand Entertainer pontoon, I found it was pinned to the dock by a 15 mph beam wind, but thanks to the joystick system, I was able to walk it sideways until we were clear. Hammering the throttle led to a shock for one of our passengers who was caught by surprise by the pontoon’s furious acceleration. Time to plane was 3.5 seconds. The big bar pontoon streaked to 30 mph in 5 seconds flat and peaked at 48.9 mph. Gee … no, G2.
Type: Direct-injected, two-stroke 74-degree V-6
Full-throttle range: 5400-6000 rpm
Weight: 539-580 lbs. depending on shaft length
Gear ratio: 1.85:1
Price (without color panels): $22,395-$28,505
Tested on a Ranger 621VS w/Evinrude G2 300 R.A.V.E.
Time to plane: 3.4 sec.
0-30 mph: 7.6 sec.
Decibels @ idle: 63
Cruise: 34.8 mph/3500 rpm/89 dB-A
Top speed: 59.2 mph/5600 rpm/97 dB-A