Courtesy Yamaha Marine
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Yamaha Marine undertook a major update to its popular XTO Offshore V-8 outboard, boosting the power from 425 to 450 hp, and enhancing this propulsion package with new technology, greater conveniences, and milder manners when it comes to shifting and operating sound levels.
“The XTO 450 allows boaters to enjoy the convenience and ease of operation associated with the XTO line, in addition to more torque and power,” says Ben Speciale, president of the Yamaha US Marine Business Unit.
The 450 will gradually replace the 425 version in Yamaha’s stable of outboards but features the same 5.6-liter big-block powerhead and mounting-bolt pattern as the original XTO V-8, so it is a relatively easy retrofit. The 450 is designed to move big, heavy saltwater fishing boats like the Jupiter 40 center-console with which I tested the 450s for the first time in a triple-engine setup. More on this later.
The extra 25 ponies are delivered in part thanks to an increase in intake and exhaust volume. “But this is not just a juiced-up 425,” says David Meeler, Yamaha’s manager of product introduction. It includes a number of other new refinements and improvements. One of the most notable is the sound level. The XTO 425 was known for being a bit on the loud side, but Yamaha toned down the operating noise associated with the 425 by incorporating an intake silencer on the 450, according to the outboard brand. It also worked to make the shifting noticeably smoother in the 450 than in the 425.
In addition, the Yamaha XTO Offshore 450 boasts more charging power, featuring a three-phase, simultaneous charging system. Using Phase Angle Control (PAC) components to create a super-strong magnetic field, the XTO Offshore 450 produces up to 96 net amps per engine in neutral. This enables it to provide more power for high-demand devices, such as gyrostabilizers, air conditioning and sound systems. The charging system is so powerful that it can even eliminate the need for an onboard generator, according to Yamaha. The system also prioritizes charging to the starting batteries, keeping them charged and ready for action at all times.
Courtesy Yamaha Marine
The upgraded XTO outboard also features Yamaha’s TotalTilt feature for faster, easier engine tilting. When enabled, it allows complete tilt-up from any position with a simple double push of the “up” trim/tilt button, or full tilt-down (until trim ram contact) with a double push of the “down” trim/tilt button. A warning horn sounds just before and during these operations. Movement of the engine tilt/trim and the horn can be stopped anywhere in between by pressing the trim/tilt button again.
New raised chrome graphics on the sides, a restyled panel in back, a new flush-mounted manual flush connection in front, and hidden external wiring near the bracket add to the premium look of this powerful outboard. There’s also an optional built-in propeller warning light on the back of the motor (rather than a transom-mount light) that illuminates when using Helm Master EX SetPoint features.
Yamaha has also introduced new XTO EC propellers. These are engineered with a bit of extra cup on the blade tips for applications where propeller ventilation might be an issue due to the power and torque of the upgraded XTO Offshore outboards. There’s also a new 27-inch-pitch version of the Yamaha XTO OS line of propellers for lighter-weight boats powered by the XTO that have the available wide-open-throttle rpm to potentially drive more top speed.
So, how was it to run the new 450? In a word, impressive. In terms of the sound level, my subjective ears told me it was definitely quieter than the 425. In idle while in gear, the triple outboards collectively registered 65 dB(A) as measured at the helm. But the real test came at speed. At 3,500 rpm, it emitted 87 dB(A), and at wide-open throttle (5,500 rpm), it registered 92 dB(A).
To provide a comparison, while testing triple XTO 425s on a Regulator 37, sound levels at the helm registered 90 dB(A) at 3,500 rpm, and 96 dB(A) at wide-open throttle (6,000 rpm). While not apples to apples, it does help substantiate that the 450 is quieter. The new XTO also seems to have a more pleasing, throaty tone than the 425.
Smoother, quieter shifting is not something that Yamaha brags about, but I noticed it almost immediately, especially while using the Helm Master EX joystick when leaving and returning to the dock. Gear changes are more like snicks than clunks, something that makes a big difference in improving the overall boating experience. I also liked the new styling of the 450. Aesthetically, it is a significant improvement over the 425.
The new Yamaha XTO Offshore 450 will be available this spring with suggested retail pricing ranging from $49,500 to $54,250. To learn more, visit yamahaoutboards.com.