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Honda has been building engines since the 1940s, and the Japanese manufacturer just came out with its first production V8. However, you won’t find this potent powerplant in a car, SUV, or pickup truck. You’ll see the new Honda V8 outboard motor on boats.

What is the new Honda V8 outboard engine?

The Honda BF350 V8 outboard motor on a Tahoe pontoon boat
Honda BF350 V8 on a Tahoe pontoon boat | Honda Marine

The Honda BF350 is a 5.0-liter V8 outboard and the new top-of-the-line engine in the Honda Marine lineup. Previously, the only V8s Honda produced were racing engines. Despite its history of building performance cars like the NSX and pickup trucks like the Ridgeline, the Japanese company has never sold a production automobile with a V8 engine. So, why is its first mass-market V8 a boat engine?

As you might expect from a Honda engine, it has VTEC variable-valve timing technology to deliver an ideal balance of performance and efficiency. As a result, Honda claims it outperforms the competition’s fuel efficiency at cruising speed by 17%. The “competition” Honda refers to is likely the Yamaha XTO Offshore V8.

Honda says its new boat engine shares some DNA with the Acura NSX. The crankshaft is built with the same alloy and to the same specifications. Because Honda engineered the NSX for luxury and performance, the result should be smooth and strong power delivery.

Why does Honda make a V8 boat engine?

Honda Marine came out with the BF350 to compete with high-powered engines from Yamaha and Mercury.

Mercury is among the top names in robust marine engines, especially its Verado lineup. These models range from 250 to 600 hp. The smallest is a 4.6-liter V8, but V10 and V12 Verado motors pack a punch and carry five-figure price tags. However, the Verado isn’t Mercury’s only V8. It also builds V8s for its SeaPro, ProXS, and FourStroke families.

Yamaha is one of Honda’s closest rivals, not only in the world of motorcycles but also boat engines. The Yamaha outboard lineup is similar to Honda’s. Its biggest engine is the Yamaha XTO Offshore. This 5.6-liter V8 harnesses 450 hp.

In addition to competing with Mercury and Yamaha, another likely reason Honda released an outboard V8 is to vie with Suzuki. Though still a relatively minor player in this segment, Suzuki has been quietly growing a reputation for boat engines competitive with Honda and Yamaha. Right now, the most powerful Suzuki outboard motor is the DF300AP V6, generating 300 hp.

How powerful is the BF350?

Although the Honda BF350 has some impressive specifications, it’s not as powerful as some Mercury and Yamaha models. As the name implies, the new Honda V8 outboard produces 350 hp. That’s more potent than any Suzuki outboard and Mercury’s strongest V8, which makes 300 hp. However, no V8 can beat the Verado V10 and V12 in horsepower. The Honda V8 outboard’s power rating also falls short of its bigger Yamaha rival.

Although it isn’t the most powerful outboard motor on the market, the BF350 promises to add V8 power to the many virtues of Honda engines. They include long-term reliability, low ownership costs, and excellent overall quality.