Weight affects performance, especially on boats. And the 380 lightens the load by securing a couple of high-flow aluminum heads (with enlarged valve openings for increased air flow) to its truck-durable, structurally rigid, cast-iron block. Additionally, there’s a high-flow aluminum exhaust system onboard, equipped with the latest in emission-reducing marine catalytic converters, and an intake manifold made of a lightweight, sonically welded composite material. Indeed, according to Volvo Penta’s manager of engine engineering Mel Cahoon, the 380 is approximately 245 pounds lighter than an old-fashioned big-block with comparable horsepower.
Other savvy addendums to the 380 include an optimized drive synergy with deeper gear ratios than a typical big block’s (between 1.95:1 and 2.14:1) and an expanded, efficiency-boosting arsenal of prop choices; a closed cooling system (with both exhaust manifolds included) that addresses the juxtaposition of major cast-iron and aluminum parts; a heavy-duty timing chain maximized for quiet operation (as well as other noise-and-vibration-damping technologies), and a raft of intelligently positioned access points (for everything from the oil filter to the freshwater-flush connection) that promise easier maintenance.