With Yamaha offering the F350C, Mercury offering the Verado 350 and 400, and Seven Marine offering the monstrous 557 and 627 outboards, Suzuki has been playing a bit of catch-up ball lately. Their Df300 is a well-respected engine, but many larger boat owners want or need the extra 50 horses that Suzuki simply hasn’t been able to provide – up until now. Recently, they introduced the DF350A to the world.
Suzuki didn’t just boost the power on an old model, but designed and built the V-6 DF350A from the ground-up. Perhaps the most interesting feature other than sheer power is the application of contra-rotating propellers. Like a Duo-Prop or Bravo III stern drive, the DF350A has two propellers that spin in opposing directions. Providing 80-percent more blade area than usual, this system gives the outboard an incredible amount of lift. For large, heavy boats that take tons of oomph to get over the hump, this will be a key feature. Another advantage is the fact that the lower unit utilizes two driven gears which share the load. These can be made smaller than a single gear which handles all the load, allowing Suzuki to slim down the gear-case for more efficient hydrodynamics. Single-engine applications will also benefit from better dockside handling, and much better control in reverse.
The DF350A weighs in at 727 pounds, which is 59 pounds more than the Verado 350, but under-cuts the 765 pound Yamaha F350C. It has a 4.4 liter block, 10-hole fuel injectors, variable intake camshaft timing, shot-peened slipper pistons, a 12:1 compression ratio, and a self-adjusting oil-bath timing chain. The alternator output maxes-out at 54 amps, but puts out a strong 40 amps at just 1000 RPM. The engine also enjoys a lot of the techy tweaks and perks we’re accustomed to seeing on the larger Suzukis, like Lean Burn (which leans out the fuel at cruise to improve efficiency), digital shift and throttle, and the ability to control RPM by increments of 50, for exact speed control while trolling.
Down-sides? Like the Verados, the DF350C needs high-octane fuel (91) to get top performance; the Yamaha F350C can run on regular without any performance loss. The other potential stumbling block is price. A final figure hasn’t been announced yet, but rumor has it that the engine is going to top $30,000. Still, you get what you pay for – and in this case, you’re paying for gobs and gobs of outboard power, from the largest outboard Suzuki Marine has ever built.