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Yamaha’s revolutionary F200 I4 inline four-cylinder, four-stroke outboard should prove to be equally as popular in both new boat and repower applications. It follows the recent trend of many next-gen four-strokes to shed some pounds and get lighter on the transom. This in turn allows the boat to go faster and typically burn less fuel in the process.
By Capt. John N. Raguso
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With its in-line four-cylinder powerhead and 2.8-liter displacement, the F200 is an excellent choice to replace larger and heavier V-6 powerplants on older boats, since less weight and bulk is on the transom. At only 487 pounds for the 20-inch long shaft model, the new F200 is over 100 pounds lighter than Yamaha’s V6 F200 (608 pounds) and just 14 pounds heavier than their two-stroke Z200 HPDI outboard. The F200 has the most favorable power-to-weight ratio of any current four-stroke 200 horsepower outboard. The proven 16-valve dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) powerhead breathes easily and responds quickly, requiring 89-octane mid-grade fuel to produce an honest 200 sea ponies at the prop. Like its Yamaha V6 Offshore siblings, the four-cylinder F200 is equipped with Yamaha’s Variable Camshaft Timing System (VCT), which helps it deliver quick acceleration and strong midrange punch. Available with either digital electronic or mechanical controls, the F200 is extremely versatile and is totally compatible with 26-inch mounting centers, while using a standard bolt pattern. The higher-output 50-amp alternator (compared to the 35-amp alternator on the F150 Yamaha) on the F200 I4 is also a major plus for this newbie and should take care of all of your battery charging needs in either single or twin installations.

Looking at some side-by-side factory test comparisons on a pair of Sportsman Heritage 229 center consoles, the slimmer (489 pounds) 2.8L F200 I4 holds her own against her heftier (608 pounds) 3.3L F200 V-6 sister. With the bigger V-6 hitting a top speed of 47.8 mph at 5900 rpm spinning a 19-inch pitch prop, with an optimum cruise of 26 mph at 3500 rpm using 6.3 gallons per hour for a net of 4.13 mpg, the family challenge was clearly established. The F200 I4 rose to the occasion with a top speed of 47 mph at 6050 revs swinging a 17-inch pitch prop, with an optimum cruise of 23.5 mph at 5.2 gph for a net of 4.52 mpg. Translated, this is a virtual “draw,” with the V-6 model squeezing less than a 1-mph advantage at full throttle and a slightly faster optimum cruising speed (+2.5-mph), with the I4 using 0.39 less gph at their best throttle positions for fuel economy. Both were equally as quick out of the hole from a standing start (3.42 seconds to plane with the V-6; 3.38 seconds to plane with the I4), with the burly V-6 a bit faster from 0 to 30 mph (5.95 seconds vs. 7.39 seconds for the I4) as one might expect from having two added cylinders. In a twin engine installation, a pair of F200 I4s mounted to the transom bracket of a Regulator 26 FS center console will turn a top speed of 50 mph on the GPS nav unit, with an optimum cruise of 30.5 mph at 4000 rpm while burning only 15 gph, for a net of 2.03 mpg.

The one place where the new F200 I4 is a clear winner is in the repower game, where her decreased heft (129 pounds per engine) and bulk will allow her to easily mount into pre-drilled 26-inch centers, the usual historical norm for narrow beam (eight to 8.5 feet) twin outboard installations. If you are replacing old and tired two-strokes, this new Yamaha F200 I4 should not require that you change the angle of your waterline or worry about your scuppers being underwater, a real problem that some of the first-gen four-stroke V-6 outboards posed to older and experienced hulls dated prior to 2004.

The MSRP on the new Yamaha F200 I4 will vary based on the model you select, but it is available in a number of flavors, including mechanical, electrical, 20-inch L-shaft and 25-inch XL-shaft, plus two counter-rotation 25-inch XL models (both mechanical and electrical shift) for twin applications. The mechanical engines are $18,345 for the 20-inch long shaft and $18,740 for the 25-inch XL version. The counter-rotating XL mechanical model will set you back $19,520. The electric XL is $19,830 and the counter rotating XL e-series is $20,615. I spoke to my local Yamaha deal, Suffolk Marine in Babylon, NY and owner Jimmy Luttieri told me that the street price on any of these new F200s is usually a few thousand less than the stated MSRP, not counting any rigging costs. This I4 version of Yamaha’s F200 is also a few grand less than the bulkier V-6 model, which adds to its affordability and positive karma. Backed by a standard three-year warranty, additional extended warranty options are available for extra cost.