Return of the Sterndrive

Ilmor Marine’s new supercharged 630-horsepower engine made its debut at the Desert Storm Poker Run.

Ilmor Marine has a new 630-hp sterndrive.
Will boaters make the switch? 

By Gregg Mansfield

Ilmor Marine hopes to jumpstart the sterndrive market for high-performance boats with the introduction of a new 630-horsepower engine at the Desert Storm Poker Run.

The supercharged, 6.2-liter LT4 engine was introduced to the MasterCraft line about 18 months ago and is a partnership between Ilmor Marine and GM Marine.

“We knew that there was a need for this in the performance industry, so we developed it over the last 18 months,” said Oliver Ray, senior manager of business development for Ilmor Marine. “One of the big things that we wanted to change in this industry is being able to bring something that’s got 630 horsepower, 665-foot pounds of torque, with a three-year factory backed warranty. That is unheard of in the performance space, especially in the inboard application.”

Originally introduced for MasterCraft tow boats, Ilmor Marine updated the 6.2-liter LT4 engine for the high-performance market.

The new 630-horsepower model joins Ilmor Marine’s 570-horsepower small-block engine as the two engines in its high-performance series. The MV8 570 is based off the LSX engine and produces 565 foot-pounds of torque compared to 665 foot-pounds for the new 630-horsepower model. The 630 sterndrive weighs about 10 pounds over its MV8 570 counterpart.

“Comparing apples to apples, you’re about 500 pounds lighter,” Ray said.

Ilmor is focusing on the 500- to 700-hp range in what Ray calls the “sport performance space” that would include smaller offerings from Eliminator Boats or DCB Racing.

“All of the guys in (Lake) Havasu are all playing in that market because that’s your $300,000 to $400,000 boat,” Ray said.

IMCO Marine offers its SCX-SC drive for the 630-hp power plant.

Taking the 630-hp engine for a tow boat and turning it into a high-performance machine required Ilmor to replace cooling systems, move the supercharger location and lean on CMI Exhaust to create an open exhaust. Ilmor includes custom colors in the pricing.

Ray said engineers redesigned the engine with serviceability in mind. The fuel pump has a cooler integrated into the pump and the oil filter and oil reservoir are mounted high on the engine.

“One of the big things that we wanted to look at when we were coming back into this performance space was serviceability and what the customer is looking for,” Ray said.

Ilmor Marine became the exclusive engine supplier to MasterCraft in 2011 and the high-performance engine is based off the supercharged 6.2L that was introduced at the 2022 Miami International Boat Show and won a National Marine Manufacturers Association Innovation Award.

The new engine can be mated to drives from either Teague Custom Marine or IMCO Marine. Full engine production started in the summer, Ray said. The MSRP for the 630-horsepower engine is $75,000.

Teague Custom Marine’s TCM Platinum XR drive can be paired with the new Ilmor Marine engine.

Ilmor Marine has more than 40,000 engines out in the field from the tow-boat market to high performance, and now has more than 350 dealers.

While outboards continue to dominate the high-performance side, Ray feels there is still a market for sterndrives. Boaters appreciate having a sun pad at the sandbar, and consumers don’t have to sacrifice a full swim platform, Ray said. In addition, consumers can open the engine hatch to show off the single or twin power plants. 

“Outboards are definitely popular but there’s still the need to want and desire to have something cool, something different,” Ray said.

Ilmor Marine, 844-464-5667  


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