- Two-stroke weight, four-stroke refinement
Yamaha’s four-stroke outboard engine range has been boosted with the launch of a new, super light-weight 200hp outboard called the F200F. Weighing in at 227kg, the F200 is the lightest four-stroke in its class -- and by some margin. It is also a remarkable 56kg lighter that its predecessor, the V6 Yamaha F200C.
Launched to the media just a few weeks ago, the new Yamaha F200F was available for testing on a Cruise Craft 595 Explorer -- which is the latest release from this highly regarded Brisbane boat builder.
A full test report on the new Cruise Craft will be posted shortly. In this review we will concentrate on the new Yamaha F200, its features, specifications and performance.
- Two models - available with mechanical or drive-by-wire electronic controls
At a glance, the new F200 looks similar to Yamaha’s F150A. Like the smaller-power engine, the F200 has an in-line four-cylinder, 16 valve, double-overhead cam configuration. It differs from the F150 in that it displaces 2875cc, as opposed to the F150’s 2670cc. Yamaha has also advised that the new 200hp engine is an all-new design and is not a re-tuned F150.
Like its larger, 4.2-litre V6 siblings, the F200 has Variable Camshaft Timing which is said to increase torque in the 2,000-3,500 rpm range for stronger performance and improved throttle response.
The F200 will be available in two versions. The first model is the F200F scheduled for release around March 2013. The second, F200G model is set to arrive in the middle of next year. The two models differ in that the F200F has traditional mechanical controls (and is ideal for re-powering secondhand craft with existing cabling), while the F200G has advanced, digital drive-by-wire electronic controls which does away with throttle cables. The F200G is subsequently easier for a dealer to rig and it requires less maintenance.
With the F200G, buyers can also opt for Yamaha’s new high-definition digital display, a five-inch, high-resolution LCD colour screen which gives the skipper access to a wide range of engine data and information. The unit can be customised to suit individual preferences.
Both F200 models can also be rigged to external NMEA 2000 compatible displays or analog gauges using a gateway device.
The F200F and F200G are both ideal for twin-engine applications as they are light in weight, compact in size and slim in profile -- just 549mm (21.6 inches) wide. A pair of F200s can be mounted on a transom with just 660mm (or 26 inches) between the centre mounting point of each engine.
For smooth, quiet gear shifts, Yamaha’s patented Shift Dampener System has been carried over from Yamaha’s 4.2-litre V6 models. The system uses a splined rubber hub to absorb the forces generated when shifting between gears.
The hub and lower gear case are designed to accept Yamaha’s new Reliance series of stainless-steel propellers which are claimed to improve acceleration and are available in a number of sizes to suit different applications.
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
- Lots of features, TBA on pricing
Specific prices for the F200F/G have not yet been released, but I would expect the F200F to be priced similar to the outgoing F200C – with perhaps a small margin on top for the F200G electronic control model.
The new F200F/G has a number of innovative features, some of which have been carried over from existing models, others that are new.
A newly designed, 50amp alternator supplies 13 per cent more power at idle speeds when compared to the V6 200hp -- though it falls short of the maximum alternator output offered by some competitor engines in this size range.
Yamaha’s Variable Trolling Switch (VTS) is a feature anglers will appreciate as it allows the idle rpm to be adjusted between 650 and 900rpm (in 50rpm increments) -- to suit different lure or bait trolling situations.
Of course the Yamaha F200s come with a wide range of general features we have come to expect from a top class outboard engine -- including multi-point EFI, start-in-gear protection, one-touch starting, cowl-mounted trim switch, water separating filter (with sensor) counter-rotation availability, over-rev protection and warnings for overheating, low oil pressure, etc.
Options include a tilt-limit switch (to protect the cowling on installations with restricted space overhead), the high definition digital display (available with the F200G) and Yamaha’s Customer Outboard Protection anti-theft system (referred to as Y-COP) which gives you the ability to disable the engine’s ignition system with the push of a button on the key fob.
POWER AND PERFORMANCE
- Smooth, quiet operation, strong and linear power delivery
The new F200F is smaller than its V6 predecessor and one of the most compact 200hp engines on the market. In the flesh it appears similar in size to most 150hp four-strokes -- long and thin due to the in-line four-cylinder configuration.
Starting the F200F involves a simple flick of the ignition key and it bursts into life before settling into an easy and smooth idle. It never hesitated on starting, whether on initial cold start-up, or later on during the test when the engine was warm.
After firing up the F200F we navigated the Cruise Craft test rig out of its berth and into a canal leading to the open waters of Brisbane’s Moreton Bay. This low speed manoeuvring, shifting the engine in and out of gear was a good test for Yamaha’s Shift Dampener System -- and it would appear to work as gear shifts were smooth and effortless, and with no irritating “clunking” noises.
Once into the canal’s main channel we continued toward the open water at the posted speed limit of 6.0 knots. There was little wind in the protected canal waters, yet it was still difficult to hear the engine running. The tell-tale water jet coming out of the back of the engine was the only real give-away as there was little vibration or movement in the powerhead itself. This is a far cry from the old days of grumbly two-stroke outboards where the powerhead would shake and rattle at low speeds like an angry dog wrestling a bone.
Reaching the open waters of Moreton Bay finally, we opened the throttle and the Cruise Craft Explorer surged strongly onto the plane. The power delivery from the Yamaha was strong, smooth and linear. A comfortable cruise speed was found at around 3000rpm, which corresponded to the F200’s most economical operating speed and rpm.
Conditions in the open bay were too choppy to run performance figures, but we were supplied with full fuel and speed figures by Yamaha. Whilst this data is not from an independent source, we have no reason to doubt its accuracy.
At the comfortable 3,000rpm cruise, the F200 achieved a speed of 18.4 knots and consumed an average of 15.6 l/ph. This translates to 1.18 nautical miles travelled for every litre of fuel consumed. This gave the Cruise Craft a maximum operating range (on 95 per cent of its 190 litre fuel tank) of 213nm.
At wide open throttle the F200 pushed the Cruise Craft to a top speed of 44.7 knots at 6,000rpm. Fuel consumption was much higher here at 75 l/ph, but still far more economical than the two-stroke outboards of yesteryear.
From a standing start I think a traditional two-stroke might still have the edge on the F200, but in the mid range, through to wide open throttle the F200 was very strong, no doubt due to the extra torque provided by Yamaha’s Variable Camshaft Timing system.
- Refinement and light-weight the stand-out features
The Yamaha F200F/G is an excellent new outboard, equipped with a host of technical innovations and user-friendly features.
It is a very smooth, refined, and quiet-running engine with excellent fuel economy, low emissions and solid performance. The stand-out feature though is its light-weight. At just 227kg, the F200F/G is comparable with many older-style two-strokes and this makes it ideal for re-power applications, and for powering new craft in the 5.5-6.5m size range which may have a transom-weight restriction.
There’s no doubt about it. With the F200F/G Yamaha has made a great stride forward in four-stroke outboard engine technology -- and we are told to expect to see more of these super lightweight Yamahas in 2014. Bring 'em on!
4.3kts (8km/h) @ 1000rpm
5.9kts (11km/h)@ 1500rpm
6.9kts (13km/h) @ 2000rpm
120kts (22km/h) @ 2500rpm
18.4kts (34km/h) @ 3000rpm
23.3kts (43km/h) @ 3500rpm
28.5kts (53km/h) @ 4000rpm
32.7kts (61km/h) @ 4500rpm
36.8kts (68km/h) @ 5000rpm
41.2kts (76km/h) @ 5500rpm
44.7kts (83km/h) @ 6000rpm (WOT)
Pricing details available Feb/March 2013.
Engine type: Four-stroke DOHC 16-valve
Cylinders: In-line four-cylinder
Fuel Delivery: Multi-point EFI
Bore x Stroke: 96mm x 96.2mm
Maximum output: 200hp @ 5,500rpm
Operating range 5,000-6,000rpm
Transom height: 635mm (25”)
Alternator: 12 volt 50amp
Trim method: Power trim/tilt
Gear ratio: 1.86:1
Counter rotating: Available
Warranty: Four years (recreational use)
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Yamaha Motor Australia
Murarrie, QLD 4172