We thought the first generation of E-TEC two-strokes were good until we experienced the E-TEC G2 outboard on Lake Maggiore in Italy
When BRP broke cover with its second generation E-TEC G2 engines last September, we expected a revamped version of its successful first generation E-TEC range.
However, now that we have had a chance to sea trial them, we can confirm that this is a totally new range of direct injection two-stroke engines.
They still share the same 3.4-litre bore and stroke as their predecessors, but the combustion chamber, port timing and the piston construction are all new.
BRP claims this makes them even punchier, cheaper and cleaner to run. The headline gains are a claimed 20% increase in torque, a 15% improvement in fuel economy and a 75% drop in emissions over its closest rivals (Mercury and Yamaha are used as benchmarks).
With power outputs from 200hp to 300hp, we were keen to put these bold claims to the test on Lake Maggiore, Italy. But first Evinrude’s tech team were keen to give us a detailed explanation of the new technology behind the E-TEC G2.
The three main areas of development were the injection system, the combustion process and the exhaust scavenging. The injection system has been developed to run a lean fuel-to-air ratio of 14:1 for maximum possible efficiency.
The newly-named PurePower combustion then capitalises on this through improved distribution of the fuel/air mixture in the combustion chamber.
This ensures a more complete burn and minimises the chance of any unburnt fuel from passing through into the exhaust – a major contributor to unwanted emissions as well as inefficiency.
This was developed in conjunction with Wisconsin University and by the sounds of things delivers the biggest overall gains.
This whole process is enhanced by the so-called Starboard-Starboard technology. This refers to the positioning of the exhaust manifolds on the outside of the V6 block, rather than the conventional manner of mounting them in the central void between the two cylinder banks. Mounting the exhausts in this manner provides a more direct and faster exhaust flow.
Opening the throttles
Our test boat was an aluminium military-spec 7.5m Zodiac Milpro fitted with twin 200hp E-TEC G2 engines.
At idle these two-stroke units sound much like the old G1s, at least until you push the throttles forward. Then they develop a deeper exhaust note, courtesy of that freer-flowing Starboard-Starboard set-up.
With a crew of three, this big beamy RIB took off like a raceboat, leaving us in no doubt about the engine’s torque credentials.
The E-TEC G2 has a very wide power delivery, which starts to kick in at 2,000rpm and then revs relentlessly all the way to the 6,000rpm red line.
You soon find yourself slowing down just so you can nail the throttles again and revel in that delicious exhaust note and addictive burst of acceleration.
To make life easy the i-Trim system automatically trims the boat to match its speed. This can be overridden when you want to take control of it manually, for example in a large following sea when you want to keep the bow higher than normal to avoid burying it into the back of the next wave.
Another feature, called Power Steering Assist, allows you to select your preferred steering weight through increasing or decreasing the level of assistance.
It has three settings: off, low effort and high effort. We found that low effort was best suited to the 7.5m Zodiac, however lighter single-engine boats would probably not need it at all, especially at high speed.
Both these features are engaged via the touchscreen engine display at the helm. The electronically controlled hydraulic steering system is incorporated in the mid-section of the E-TEC G2 just behind the transom mounting. It comprises a vertical cylinder incorporating a piston connected to a pinion.
As the piston moves up and down corresponding to the hydraulic pressure so does the pinion, rotating the engine from side to side. It is beautifully simple and located within the main engine assembly rather than as an external pump cluttering the boat’s transom well.
It has the added benefit of ensuring the steering axis stays exactly the same whatever the engine trim angle. This makes the steering equally responsive across the trim angle range and at all speeds.
Exhausting the options
The most visually obvious feature when viewing the E-TEC G2 from inboard is the new Dual Axis Rigging System. This routes all the engine cables through a single rigging tube, which doesn’t move when you steer or trim.
This is because the rigging tube enters the E-TEC G2 through the fixed transom mount rather than the upper or lower sections, which move in line with the steering.
This means you can get away with shorter control cables. In fact, with no external horizontal steering ram and excess tubing to accommodate, you can lose the transom well altogether.
To keep drag to a minimum the E-TEC G2 is fitted with a new SLX Gearcase. Its sleek design includes a longer cavitation plate as well as front and side water intakes.
Gear selection is via electronic servos in the gearbox rather than mechanical selectors requiring a linkage running the length of the outboard leg. As a result, gear selection is rapid and clunk-free.
To get the power into the water, BRP has also designed a new RX4 four-blade propeller. It is optimised for traction in rough water and turns, as well as for strong acceleration and fuel economy.
The lightweight composite engine covers can be customised to suit almost any colour scheme and have separate side sections, which can easily be removed for on-the-water checks.
All the aluminium engine castings are coated with titanium oxide to reduce corrosion and protected by anodes.
E-TEC G2 verdict
On the face of it the new E-TEC G2 appears to have gained 18kg over the E-TEC G1 on a like-for-like basis. BRP attributes this to integrating the two-gallon oil tank and steering system into the engine itself rather than mounting them externally. There is even an optional joystick steering system for twin-engine set-ups.
The engines are available with long (20in) and extra long (25in) shafts with prices starting at £17,479 inc. VAT for the 200hp version. The package includes a five-year mechanical warranty, a five-year corrosion warranty and 500-hour service intervals as standard.
It’s a remarkable statement of how confident BRP is in its new engines’ ability and, having experienced them first hand, we’re inclined to agree.