Volvo Penta
V8-380
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Volvo Penta V8-380 Volvo Penta V8-380 main video
The V8-380 is the one of the first new marine gasoline sterndrive engines introduced in years and it takes a big step forward in terms of performance and efficiency according to preliminary data. This new engine takes advantage of several advances in technology to deliver improved acceleration, more consistent midrange response as well as WOT performance even with increased vessel loading, according to the company.

Key Features

  • Deep skirt block with 6-bolt main caps
  • Cast aluminum structural oil pan
  • High flow aluminum cylinder head
  • Floating piston pins
  • Steel camshaft and steel roller rocker arms
  • Inconel exhaust valves
  • Variable Valve Timing (VVT)


Volvo Penta V8-380 (Sterndrive) Specifications
Horsepower 380-hp
Displacement (cu/cc) 364.00 cu / 5,964.89 cc
Number of Cylinders 8 Cylinders
Configuration V8
Fuel Delivery Fuel Injected
Cooling System Closed
Weight (lbs/kg) 1,076.00 lbs / 488.07 kg
Charging System 75A
Full Throttle RPM 6000

Volvo Penta V8-380 Captain's Report

Mission Statement

The mission of this new 6.0 L V8-380 is to replace the big block 8.1 L engine that has been widely used for years in both single and dual-engine applications. Additionally, this engine will take advantage of several advances in technology that allow it to run smoother and cleaner while burning less fuel. Other attributes give it better hole shot times and better load carrying abilities than previously possible with the big block V8s.

Distinguishing Features

Full freshwater cooled as standard – This feature protects the complete engine and the cylinder heads, and Volvo Penta has even integrated this to include the exhaust manifolds.

Variable valve timing – This feature results in faster acceleration, increased top speed and smoother, better response in the mid-range, according to the builder.

Lighter Weight – The new Volvo Penta engine is lighter than competing engines. It weighs just 867 lbs. (394 kgs.) compared to over 1,000 lbs. (454.5 kgs) for the old technology big block V8s. In fact, Volvo Penta tells us that the entire package weight of engine and outdrive weighs 1,076 lbs. (489 kgs.).

Target Audience

This new V8-380 engine has been targeted for boats in the range of 24’ (7.3 m) to 31’ (9.5 m) or roughly 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg) to 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) with a single engine installation. Twin engine installations will range from 33’ (10 m) to 40’ (12 m) or between 13,000 lbs (5897 kg) and 20,000 lbs (9072 kg).

Volvo Penta V8-380
The V8-380 covers a wide range of boats with both single and twin applications.

Performance

To test the capabilities of this new engine we tested it in two applications, one being a single engine, the other a twin engine. First the single engine results…

We tested the V8-380 on a boat with a LOA of 28’ (8.53 m) and a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m). With an empty weight of 6,077 lbs (2,756 kg), 23 gal (87 L) of fuel and 3 people onboard, we had a test weight of 6,820 lbs (3,094 kg). Here’s what we recorde --.

Volvo Penta V8-380
Volvo Penta V8-380 test results in a single engine boat having a test weight of 6,820 lbs (3,094 kg).

Top speed was reached at 6000 rpm, instead of the typical 4800 rpm of the average big block. At that speed we were running at 53.8 mph while burning 31 gph of fuel. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 27.9 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to just under 10 gph.

And now for the twin application test results…

The twin engine test was conducted on a boat with a LOA of 35’7” (10.84 m) and a beam of 11’6” (3.5 m). With an empty weight of 15,241 lbs (6913 kg), ¾ fuel and 3 people, we had a test weight of 16,773 lbs (7608 kg). And the test results….

Volvo Penta V8-380
Volvo Penta V8-380 test results in a twin engine boat having a test weight of 16,773 lbs (7,680 kg).

With twin engines top speed came in at the same 6000 rpm and 46.8 mph giving a fuel burn of 63.55 gph. Best cruise was at 4000 rpm and 28.7 mph. This brought the fuel burn down to 25.7 gph. Note that at 4500 rpm the test boat traveled 34.7 mph getting 1.10 mpg, just .02 mpg less than at 28.7 mph.

Handling

The biggest difference with the V8-380 is in the handling characteristics, mainly focusing on acceleration. Thanks to the engines' high torque there was a noticeable difference in the feel of the boats upon hitting the throttle. Times to plane were measurably quicker than what we’re used to seeing with big block V8s as were the times to 20 and 30 mph.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the Volvo Penta V8-380 provided a much better midrange response. I noticed it as soon as I hit the throttle from cruise speed. Acceleration was quick and crisp throwing me back into the seat in both the single and the twin-engine boats I tested. Again, this performance stands in contrast to the big block V8s.

Throttle Power Assist

The V8-380 also has a feature called Power Assist that will maintain rpm regardless of any maneuvers that the boat makes. If I put the boat into hard over turn it bled off speed-over-ground but not rpm. This also means that once I rolled out of the turn the boat returned to its original speed much quicker, and without me having to adjust the throttle in any way.

Variable Valve Timing (VVT)

The new VVT V8 is able to add torque and power with a smaller block that exceeds the performance of old tech big blocks, according to a Volvo Penta spokesman. Historically, the timing of valves was static having the crankshaft and camshaft linked together with a chain. Now, with variable timing, the chain is still there, but the sprocket uses a hydraulic phaser controlled by the engine ECU to advance or retard the timing. Previous big block engines were running at 4800 rpm, but this new engine is running at 6000 rpm thanks to the variable timing. The combination of variable timing and increased rpms results in more power, more speed, and more torque.


Volvo Penta V8-380
The cam phaser assembly automatically advances or retards the valve timing for more consistent performance throughout the power curve.
Volvo Penta V8-380
Variable valve timing adjusts the valves dynamically throughout the power curve to increase performance. (Chart and data supplied by Volvo Penta.)

A flatter torque curve provides lower planing times and better midrange response plus the WOT range is less load sensitive. Combine this with a 2.14:1 gear ratio, increasing the gear ratio up from 1.78:1, and the result is superior acceleration potential, even in heavier boats, says Volvo. This allows for use of the improved DPS drives with a ratio between 1.95 and 2.14. Volvo Penta tells us that the spread in performance between the old power plants and this new V8-380 gets further and further apart the more the boats are loaded.

Volvo Penta V8-380
The V8-380 has been specifically designed to mate with the DPS Duoprop outdrives.

Volvo Penta V8-380

The chart above compares acceleration in two different boats (one weighing 9,800 lbs./4,454 kgs. and one weighing 11,000 lbs./5,000 kgs.) When compared to 8.1 GiC Volvo Penta power plants the benefits of the new V8-380 are obvious. (Chart and data supplied by Volvo Penta.)

Freshwater Cooling

The freshwater cooling is designed to maintain the engine, as well as the oil, at a constant temperature which serves to increase longevity. In this "next generation" engine, the freshwater cooling even extends to the exhaust manifold. The expansion tank is put in easy reach for the daily engine checks, but for boaters who are not the hands-on type, a low-level sensor is installed for redundant overheat protection.

User-Friendly Engine Checks

In fact, because our tests are showing an increase in the number of boats that are providing limited access to engine compartments, the V8-380 shines by having all regularly serviceable items mounted to the front of the engine including the oil fill, dipstick, fuse box, expansion tank, oil filter, and engine flush.

Less Weight

With the entire package of engine, transmission, and outdrive weighing only 1076 lbs (488 kg) the new V8-380 will be an important new option in the repowering considerations that boaters face. It translates to the V8-380 having a much more attractive power-to-weight ratio. Some of the ingredients that go into this reduction in weight are an aluminum exhaust manifold, cast aluminum structural oil pan and a high flow aluminum cylinder head. And because the new engine is only 6.0 L it has a smaller overall envelope than the big block V8s.

EVC Compliant

Naturally this new V8-380 will provide plug-and-play connectivity with Volvo Penta's line of EVC components. That means the same multifunction displays and multifunction engine controls providing tow mode, cruise control, power trim assist, single lever, engine synchronization, and sterndrive joystick.

V8-380 Specifications

Propeller shaft power kW (hp).............................. 283 (380)
Max. engine speed, rpm........................................ 6000
Displacement, l (cu in)........................................... 6.0 (364)
Number of cylinders.............................................. V-8
Fuel system ........................................................... MPI
Bore/stroke, mm .................................................. 101.6/91.9
in............................................................................ (4.00/3.62)
Compression ratio................................................. 9.67:1
Volvo Penta Duoprop drive.................................. DPS
Ratio....................................................................... 2.14:1, 1.95:1
Package weight; engine, transom shield
and drive, kg (lb)................................................... 488 (1076)
Dimensions (not for installation):

Engine length
along crank center line, mm (in.) ....................... 973 (38.3)
Engine width, mm (in.)......................................... 830 (32.7)
Height above crankshaft, mm (in.)..................... 607 (23.9)
Height below crankshaft, mm (in.)..................... 208 (8.2)

Observations

At first glance it appears that this next generation engine has a lot to offer to boaters across a broad spectrum of applications. Most of the benefits, which are never seen by the end-user, are said by Volvo to be lower maintenance and increased engine longevity.

The benefits that will directly affect boaters day-to-day are the ease of access to the daily checks, faster times to plane which should please skiers and wakeboarders, less weight sensitivity when the boat is loaded with friends, and the connectivity to the next generation of EVC components.


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Boats Tested with this Volvo Penta V8-380
Chaparral 257 SSX (2013-) Chaparral 257 SSX (2013-)