Boat Test: Mercury Diesel TDI is a Miser on Fuel
  |  First Published: December 2013

Mercury Marine’s latest project/demo boat is a pretty neat bit of kit. It’s a New Zealand-built RayGlass Legend 2350 fitted with their Volkswagen-engineered, 260hp turbo diesel inboard (TDI) and Fishing Monthly took the opportunity to take a drive while the rig was in town at their Coomera office.

We also took advantage of the knowledge of long-time Mercury employee and advocate, Tony Smith, to explain the benefits of this style of motor in a trailer boat (see the link http://youtu.be/u2RAorC4tEg and QR code to see the whole interview).

The take home message from our time with Tony and on the water was pretty straightforward. You’ll use half the fuel in a TDI than in a V8 of similar horsepower.


For anglers running long distances to deep-water grounds and/or spending all day trolling for pelagics, you can do the sums to see what the savings are in your situation.

But we all know that everything in boating is a compromise, and Tony explained that the savings in running costs are offset by a greater purchase price.

“It’ll cost around $20,000 more to setup your boat with the Mercury Diesel TDI as opposed to a V8 of similar horsepower,” Tony said.

But there are other benefits of the inboard configuration.

“The TDI – or any inboard – brings the centre of gravity forward … and in rough water, that’s an asset. A Verado on the back would weigh 400kg and cause the hull to lift when coming down a wave. The inboard configuration stays deeper in the water so it’s a lot more stable,” Tony continued.

Tony also dispelled the myth that TDI needs to be serviced more regularly.

“The TDI is the same cost as using a gas engine where we service every 100 hours. In most cases, that’s once a year,” Tony said.

Of course, the TDI runs with the latest Mercury fly-by-wire technology – digital throttle and gearshift – and hooks seamlessly to Mercury Vessel View and all NMEA compatible electronics.

The ultimate test, though, is when you’re sitting at the bar and you see the break in the sets. You punch the throttle. What happens?

“The maximum torque is at 2000rpm and the performance is slightly better than a gas engine,” Tony explained.

The only way to really confirm this, though, was to go for a spin.

Now, the RayGlass isn’t a light boat – there’d be over 2.5 tonnes in the water on a regular trip and the TDI pushed the test boat up and onto the plane in around 7 seconds. Of course, you can hear the turbochargers whistling away and there’s no noticeable performance difference that we could feel from an outboard powered craft of the same size.

That was until we looked at the fuel usage – 30lph at 30 knots. The sums are pretty easy, 1L of diesel for 1nm (1.85km). See how that compares to your outboard powered 2.5 tonner!

Price as tested was $145,000.

See your Mercury dealer or visit www.mercurymarine.com.au for more information.

3L TDI Specs

• Common rail diesel

• 12v/180A alternator

• 6 cylinder

• 325kg

• Compatible with Bravo 1 and Bravo 3 sterndrives

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