REVIEW: Honda BF200 Fourstroke

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD

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Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard 2 Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard 2
Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard 3 Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard 3
Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard
Formosa Tomahawk Classic X 580 3 Formosa Tomahawk Classic X 580 3

The 200hp class is an all-in brawl. John Ford sampled the Honda BF200 on the Tomahawk 580 X

REVIEW: Honda BF200 Fourstroke
Honda BF200 Fourstroke Outboard

Producing its first boat engine in the 1960s, Honda quickly became one of the world’s largest engine manufacturers, spearheading the rise of four-stroke outboards.

Known for its cutting edge motorcycle and car designs, Honda proudly promotes the BF200 as being derived from the engine line that debuted in the feisty NSX and still powers the Honda Odyssey, amongst others.

Whilst rivals may deride the design as being more car engine than marine miracle, Honda’s BF200 delivers outstanding power and economy more than a decade later in a very competitive market.

Technology-focused Honda brings its expertise from a broad range of performance engines, including F1 and MotoGP, so it’s not surprising that its outboards benefit from ongoing development.

THE DETAILS

The 3500cc engine is a 60-degree V6 configuration with 24 valves and computer-controlled fuel injection. In the long-shaft version it weighs in at 277kg, a few kilos lighter than a Yamaha V6, but over 30kg heavier than a Mercury Verado inline six.

Blast your way out of the hole with Boosted Low Speed Torque (aptly named BLAST) and when you activate the throttle quickly, the computer aggressively advances the ignition curve, boosting the air/fuel ratio to a richer setting and opening the throttle bodies wide. This combines to give more power when you need it, both from rest and in the mid-range, such as when bar crossing.

Honda has improved the mid-range economy by adding an oxygen sensor to monitor the ratio and reduce fuel delivery, called Lean Burn Control. A claimed

20 per cent improvement in economy at this cruising throttle setting should make a significant difference to the fuel bill.

PERFORMANCE

We tested the 200hp Honda on a new 580 Formosa X Series on the calm water of the Hawkesbury River, west of Sydney, and right from the go it was impressive. Formosa has upgraded the rating of the transom to accommodate the higher level of power, with the increased power a spritely match for the 900kg hull.

The BF200 burst straight into life and idled without any adverse smells or rattles, and as I jammed the throttle open the four-blade 17in Solas prop bit hard for an almost instantaneous response onto the plane, with hardly any bow lift. If this is BLAST in action then it deserves full marks. At a wide-open throttle of 6000rpm, we registered short runs of 41.5kt from the fresh engine. Right through the rev range torque was freely available, with plenty of power on tap in turns, and no sign of cavitation from the grippy four–blade prop.

Formosa Tomahawk Classic X 580 Review

Read the full boat test: Formosa Classic Tomahawk X 580 Review

 

ECONOMY

Best economy was at 3000rpm, where we managed 20kt and 19L/h, with a range of 185nm from the 200L tank. At 3500rpm it dropped slightly but still returned 180nm at 23kt and 23L/h or 1nm/L, which is very impressive for a tight new engine, presumably reflective of the effective Lean Burn Control setting.

NOISE AND VIBRATION

Like most four-strokes, the BF200 is quiet and vibration-free at idle. As the speed increases, the V6 has an adrenaline-inducing and sporty V-formation growl, especially under acceleration, when some induction noise comes into play. Noise was never offensive, even at WOT and despite the alloy hull having the potential for vibration and resonance.

 

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THE CONTROLS

The side-mounted controls were easy to reach from either a sitting or standing position. The lever is light and responsive to the touch, although the high-mounted trim tab switch takes a bit of getting used to.

Honda’s NMEA electronics protocol matches seamlessly to either the Garmin or Raymarine screens, which were easy to navigate and gave a full diagnostic readout. Electronic monitoring of the engine lets you know of any issues such as overheating, water in fuel, battery problems and critical engine functions.

SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE

The first service is at 20 hours and should cost in the order of $400. Subsequent intervals arrive at 100 hours or one year and cost around $500 including oil and impeller. However, Honda’s biggest advantage lies in its unique seven-year warranty, and as dealers will attest, you wouldn’t offer that sort of guarantee if you weren’t committed to offering the best in engines.

THE VERDICT

Reliable, with gutsy power delivery, the BF200 offers impressive performance and economy. They’re quiet, vibration free and continue Honda’s well-established reputation for quality and class-leading warranties. 

Honda BF200 sea trials

Honda BF200 outboard running Solas 17in1 three-blade stainless steel propellers and fitted to an Formosa Classic Tomahawk X 580 with one person on board 140L of fuel.

RPM

Speed (kts)

Fuel Burn (L/h)

Economy (Nm/L)

Range (Nm)

800 (idle)

3

1.6

1.9

337

1000

4

3.1

1.2

232

1500

6

6.2

0.96

174

2000

7.5

11

0.68

122

2500

12

14

0.89

154

3000  (optimal cruise)

20

19

1.1

185

3500

23

23

1.0

180

4000

28

33

0.86

152

4500

31

46

0.67

121

5000

37

63

0. 58

105

5500

39

66

0.59

106

6000/WOT

42

67

0.62

111

* Sea-trial data supplied by the author. Range is calculated leaving 10 per cent fuel in reserve.

Quick Specs

Honda BF200T
TYPE Four-stroke SOHC 60° V6 / 24-valves
RATED HP 200
DISPLACEMENT 3471cc
WEIGHT 277kg
GEAR RATIO 1.86:1
PROPELLER Solas four-blade 17in

For more information head to: marine.honda.com.au

Honda BF 200 BF200 200HP Outboard

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #485, December 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


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