Story and photos by DinaRella / Professional images from Mercury Racing & Boats Daily

Before the hype had even died down from Mercury Racing’s Miami Boat Show party and premiere of the V10 400R, this June the celebratory good times kept on rolling in Charleston at its 50th anniversary gala. But the raison d’être for rejoice at the affair was more than paying tribute to five decades running WIDE OPEN – it was to welcome the new supercharged V8 500R outboard engine offering “unrelenting horsepower and torque paired with sophisticated technology and rugged design,” said the press release.

Ushering in the almighty, high-revvvving screamers, delivering that divine whine from a bonkers amount of supercharger boost – up by 26 percent to be exact – started with sea trials on leading performance brands such as DCB, Fountain, Freeman, MTI and Mystic. A pair of pontoons invited to partake in the South Carolina demos from Trifecta and Avalon also made a memorable first impression; recorded top speeds reached over 80 mph.

1 37 DCB twin 500Rs.jpg
2 Merc Racing 500R V8 5-pack.jpg
3 Mystic C4000.jpg
4 Nor-Tech Flyer quad 500Rs.jpg
5 Charleston 500R unveil.jpg
6 Trifecta twin 500Rs.jpg
7 Avalon twin 500Rs.jpg

Leaving attendees from the media and manufacturers’ eyes wide open with its engineering enhancements from the powerhead to the lower unit… today the gushing continues. This was especially the case at the 2023 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show when the powerboating public got a grandiose first dose at the Mercury display and on an array of outrageous center consoles including the latest unit of the 47 Adrenaline Reaper, Deep Impact 399 Sport and multiple Midnight Express models.

8 64th FLIBS.JPG
9 2023 FLIBS.JPG
10 Mercury Marine Camp FLIBS.JPG
11 Merc 500R.JPG
12 Adrenaline Cigarette 500Rs.JPG
13 Deep Impact 399.JPG
14 Mid Express 2023 FLIBS.JPG
15 Mid Express 2,500 hp.JPG
16 Mid Exp 43 at FLIBS.JPG
17  Mystic 4200.JPG

Nor-Tech stood out as another notable boat maker in the mix. Besides the crowd-favorite foursome of red, orange and yellow retro-striped 500Rs on the 400 SS, its six-boat convoy showcased the full scope of Wide Open outboard offerings presenting triple V-8 300Rs on the 340 Sport; quad V-10 400Rs on the 392 SportFish; and V-12 600s on both the 450 Sport and 500 Sport.

18 Nor-Tech 400 SS quad 500Rs.jpg
19 392 Sportfish Steve and Alden.JPG
20 Merc V-12 600s.jpg

Outboard catamarans participating in the 500R fiesta touting the twin 720-pound powerplants on their transoms included: the MTI 440X, Mystic Gen 2 C4000 and Performance Boat Center’s newly launched P420 (separate story forthcoming).

21 MTI 440.JPG
22 MTI 440 cockpit.JPG
23 MTI 440 twin 500s.JPG
24 PBC P420.jpg

10 Key Features of the Benchmark V8 500R

1. Created for no-compromise owners of the fastest luxury sport boats, knowing horsepower is the ability to maintain a top speed, and torque is the twisting force responsible for faster acceleration – the 500R puts out 50 more ponies and 10 percent higher torque than its predecessor 450R.

2. The 4.6 liter V8 FourStroke powerhead is equipped with an exclusive Mercury Racing signature supercharger. A new intake manifold allows for increased airflow. The inlet shape of the supercharger has been revamped to improve flow, and the throttle body diameter has been amplified 15 percent.

3. Redesigned crankshaft with larger driveshaft splines and main bearings enhances durability and strength. More robust pistons connect to the rod bearings making certain the engine can handle increased power and stress.

4. Advanced Racing Core (ARC) midsection improves strength and performance, and includes a stronger redesigned transom plate with three inches of vertical adjustment via seven mounting holes.

5. Enhanced trim system with two main hydraulic rams and two new booster rams allow for full load or slower trim speeds, and more precise adjustments at faster speeds.

6. Upgraded hydraulic power steering system produces more steering authority with 18 percent more torque (than the 450R). New stainless steel steering arm, tube and cylinder add 20 percent more strength.

7. A humidity sensor monitors the air in the intake attenuator allowing the engine ECM to combine reported humidity with air pressure and air temperature data to calculate the ideal spark timing for conditions.

8. Available in 20-, 25-, 30- and 35-inch shaft lengths and mounts on 26-inch centers. Larger pitch and diameter props are on the way; in the meantime, current setups are still viable.

9. All-new R-Drive gearcase accessible in two versions increased dimension (from 5.44 inches in diameter on the 400R) to 5.9 inches. Both feature a crescent leading edge and long aspect torpedo hydrodynamically tuned for high speeds.

10- A three-year warranty sweetens the outlay priced between $72,000 and $84 500. (For comparisons, the 400R costs $45,500 and the 450R is $63,000.)

25 500R block 2.jpg

26 500R cylinders.jpg
27 500R intake throttle.jpg
29 500R R-Drive gearcase.jpg
30 50 yrs Wide Open.JPG

Following a half-century of striving to hit the highest innovative peaks with respect to power and performance, Mercury Racing keeps on upping the ante with its engineering feats. With the 500R already on track to reshape the future of fast… Imagine what’s to come over the next 50 years!