One of the stars of the Miami show was not a boat at all but this new stern drive, or as some say inboard/outboard unit from Yanmar. The new stern drive unit dubbed the ZT350 can be coupled to Yanmar's BY and LP diesel engines, the top model of which produces a shade over 300 hp at 3800 rpm. Stern drives are not new of course and have been around for a while but all the buzz about the Yanmar booth was that unlike previous models that were linked to Mercruiser out-drive legs the new model is all Yanmar so is not a hybrid unit.
When the previous Mercruiser STZE unit was unveiled 10 years or more ago it met with a lot of enthusiasm and Yanmar have even higher hopes for this latest unit shown above. Yanmar are very cagey when it comes to price and they always tell me that it depends on the exact specification chosen and where the unit is installed so everyone was tight lipped every time the question of price came up.
In early days I think that Yanmar lost ground to Volvo Penta which was also a duo prop design but this new unit should redress that balance somewhat. Also of note is that the Yanmar features a hydraulic clutch so the clonkiness of the mercruisers cone clutch is something that I shall be glad to say goodbye to.
I know that this is from the other side of the engine looking aft but this was the only shot that I had of the previous moter coupled to the Mercruiser unit which I must confess looks rather classy in it's black paint finish. I plan to get a ride on a boat equipped with the new 300 hp unit in a few weeks so I will bring you test results and perhaps even a video in the very near future.