It took several decades, but Honda has finally released its first commercially-available V8 engine. The catch is that it won’t power the next-generation NSX. Designed by Honda Marine, the eight-cylinder is an outboard motor called BF350 designed to power 25-plus-foot boats.
Detailed online ahead of its presentation at a trade show in Florida in October 2023, the BF350 stands proud as the flagship engine in the Honda Marine range. It’s a 5.0-liter V8 that develops 350 horsepower at the propeller shaft while burning 86-octane gasoline, and the brand notes that its new engine offers a broader, flatter torque curve than many rival units. This is essential, because it sounds like the BF350 will end up used in a diverse variety of applications ranging from enthusiasts who have a boat for pleasure to folks who have a boat for work.
Honda’s decades-long expertise in building automotive engines helped its Marine division develop the V8; the BF350 notably features the familiar VTEC system. We hope that the technology sharing goes both ways, because the new engine also features a system called Boosted Low Speed Torque (BLAST) that advances the ignition timing during “hammer-down” acceleration to noticeably improve performance and acceleration. While this is happening, the engine control module (ECM) increases injector timing to create a more powerful air/fuel mixture.
Designers played a role in creating Honda’s first production V8. It’s an outboard motor, after all, so it’s going to be hanging off the back of a boat for everyone at sea to see. They gave the engine cover a streamlined look to help it blend in with different hull shapes as seamlessly as possible and added a “350 V8” emblem (there’s no word on whether Chevrolet has sued yet) to a contrasting black panel framed by two bright C-shaped trim pieces. Buyers will have two color options called Aquamarine Silver and Grand Prix White, respectively, to choose from.
Honda Marine will publish more details about the BF350, including pricing, in early 2024. Nothing suggests the V8 will end up in something that’s not a boat, but how cool would a BF350 crate engine for automotive applications be? Honda e with a mid-mounted V8, anyone?