Volvo Penta - 5.0GXi (270-hp)

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Captain's Report

Volvo Penta 5.0L

We tested the 5.0L and got a bead on how this little mill performs, but is it going to be enough for you? We'll help you decide.

The What For

The Volvo Penta 5.0L measures 36.8” (93.5 cm) long x 28.6” (72.6 cm) wide x 32.1” (81.5 cm) high and weighs roughly 1000 lbs. Measure your engine compartment and you’ll see that’s not a lot of room being taken up. This engine generally will be found in boats 20’ (6.10 m) – 25’ (7.62 m) when used as the boat's single power source. If it’s part of a twin engine application, you’ll be looking at a boat of around 28’ (8.5 m) – 32’ (9.75 m) in length.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

This is core of the catalytic converter which is now required to be on all gas inboard engines sold in the U.S. in order to meet EPA emissions standards,

So What Can It Do For Me?

There’s a good question. Let's see how it did for us. Out test boat was a bow rider with a test weight of 4,030 lbs (1828 kg). This boat was 21' 6" (6.58 m) with a beam of 8' 6" (2.59 m). Test power was a catalyzed 270-hp 5.0 GXiC (Gas, eXtreme hp, fuel injected, Catalyzed). Here are the results…

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Here we have a top speed of 52.4 mph with a 21.4 gph fuel burn. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 28.6 mph where we had a fuel burn of only 7.6 gph. But what is likely to matter most is the fact that throughout the entire power range, we had ample power to spare. No matter where the throttle was, when we slammed the stick to the stops, the boat launched ahead with no hesitation.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Note threads on dip stick so you suck out the oil when it's time for changing. This is an important time and hassle-saving system. Thank you Volvo Penta!

So in other words, if you are cruising around and having a good ole time, then 270 horses will be plenty. In this size boat, you're also likely to drop a buddy or two in the water and do some skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing. In that case, because we had so much power to spare, you'll have little trouble pulling even your overweight friends up on top. But of course there's always a cutoff point, so let's see how the 5.0L performs when there are two of them powering the boat.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Capt. Steve's hands are on the famous "black box."

Our next test features a performance cruiser with an empty weight of 9500 lbs (4309 kg). Our 5.0L engines were driving the Duoprop drives.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Now we have a top speed of 46.2 mph with a combined fuel burn of 41.9 gph. Best cruise is still at 3000 rpm with a speed of 23.1 mph and a fuel burn of only 12.5 gph. So we're still getting the performance one would expect with this engine, and even if you want to do some towing in a boat this size, you won't be taxing the capabilities of the engines.

Feature Packed

But one thing that is inescapable, with Volvo Penta as a whole, and the 5.0L itself, is the abundance of features that we found when we did our video tour: The ability to easily and cleanly change the oil and filter, the effortless serpentine belt replacement procedure, the electronic control, and, maybe most important to the end-user, is the ability to take advantage of EVC.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

The Volvo Penta EVC system is plug and play to transmit vast amounts of data and at the same time keep gremlins out of the system.


This is one of the greatest technological leaps forward since they started slicing bread, and it’s a feature that is directly felt and experienced by the operator.

The acronym stands for Electronic Vessel Control and it’s the latest development in engine control and instrumentation, and you can take it from someone who has tested EVC personally. Once you’ve experienced it, you never want to go back.

Because this isn’t a full blown EVC report, the short version is that EVC allows for plug and play installation between the motor, and both the engine controls and helm gauges, that allows you to not only control the flow of data to the helm but electronically control the engines, and therefore the output and synchronization with effortless authority.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Captain Steve tears apart the exhaust riser to inspect the catalytic converter.

That means that all those mechanical connections between the helm and the engine are long gone, and adding a remote location for your engine controls, say at the stern or for wing controls, is as easy as adding another wiring run. And the digital controls are opening up a whole new breed of capability. Cruise modes, tow modes, trim assist, single lever modes… all are available at the push of a button.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Fuses are easy to locate on top of a Volvo Penta engine and spares are inbedded in the housing.

Clearly the Volvo Penta 5.0L is much more than just an engine. It’s technology at its finest, and the ability to exploit that technology will only serve to make our days on the water more hassle free, and therefore more enjoyable.

Volvo Penta 5.0L

Filters are easy to change on the Volvo Penta 5.0L engine.

What is Volvo Penta Talking About?

One factor of these Volvo Penta gas engines that many find confusing, including us, is the nomenclature of each engine type. GI,GX… etc. What does it mean? It’s really just simple code. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize it’s pretty straightforward. Write this down…

First off, they all start with G, like in Gas.

GL – Low output. This is for your lower end 4.3’s at 190-hp. There are no “L” engines above 4.3.

GX – X is for Extreme. Why not use E for Extreme??? We’ll get to that later. Generally an “X” engine has another 20-30 extra horses for an engine of the same size. The 4.3GL is 190hp. The 4.3GX is 225hp. The 5.0 series are all “X”.

– Fuel injected. No carburetor. For some reason it’s the only letter identifier that is in lower case and it’s good for the engine, but wreaks havoc on a spell check. The 5.0GXi is extreme hp and fuel injected.

C – Engines with this designator will be equipped with a catalytic converter, just like in your car. This is a new requirement and any 5.0 engines manufactured after 12/09 will be required to be equipped with one. So why might your new boat not have one? Because manufacturers can still use up their supply of older non-catalyzed engines, which they’re trying desperately to do as this feature adds roughly $3,500, but it’s a federal requirement now so don’t yell at the builder.

(E) – The engine is set up to accommodate EVC or Electronic Vessel Control. This is the coolest thing to come along since ice.. You can also see our dedicated video on the benefits of EVC. For now, let’s just stick with the basics and also the fact that now we know why “E” doesn’t stand for Extreme.

So to sum it all up, a 5.7 GXiC(E) will be a 5.7Liter, Gas engine, Extreme hp, fuel injected, equipped with a Catalytic converter, and accommodate EVC. See, simple.