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Opel Sets Sail: New Outboard Engine for High-performance Boats

Jul 13, 2016

  • Unique: First 2.0-liter diesel engine in the 200 hp outboard engine class
  • Special: Cimco Marine AB from Sweden developing boat engine
  • Talented: Performance of an inboard engine combined with the flexibility of an outboard

Opel News - Unique: Opel and Cimco Marine AB are offering the first 2.0-liter diesel engine in the 200 hp outboard engine class

Rüsselsheim.  The name reveals a lot: The Opel diesel engine adapted by Cimco Marine AB is called OXE – which is Swedish for ox. The engine might pull like an ox but it irresistibly pushes high-performance boats through the water. The outboard engine is based on the 2.0-liter diesel engine made in the Opel plant in Kaiserslautern, Germany that normally propels the Cascada, Insignia and Zafira models. The marine version of the four-cylinder engine delivers 147 kW/200 hp at 4,100 rpm and offers maximum torque of 400 Nm at 2,500 rpm.


“By selling components we are tapping into small but important market segments in which our products are very popular. The OXE Diesel is the perfect example. We are playing an important part in extending the application range of our Kaiserslautern-made engine,” said Alex Thielemans, Manager Components Sales at Opel.

Opel News - Opel 2.0 CDTI: The marine version of the four-cylinder engine delivers 147 kW/200 hp at 4,100 rpm and offers maximum torque of 400 Nm at 2,500 rpm

The OXE diesel engine is produced in Germany, and is especially durable and easy to service. When used for maritime purposes, the engine only needs to be serviced every 200 hours – compared to about 100 hours for a gasoline engine – with a major overhaul after 2,000 hours. Boat engines are under an immense strain because they have to run at full throttle most of the time. In the process, the turbocharged diesel engine uses 43 liters per hour – an impressive 42 percent less fuel than a comparable modern two stroke outboard engine (73 liters). Furthermore, the low-noise Opel diesel reduces ambient sound considerably. Therefore, a diesel engine increases the range of fast boats designed for deep-sea fishing, rescue missions or fish farming in coastal waters considerably. Actually, one of the first OXE engines delivered is currently being used on a Scottish salmon farm. A further advantage of diesel engines is the fact that the fuel is of low flammability. Some harbors even forbid boats with gasoline outboard engines access because of the potential risk of fire – this prohibition does not apply to the OXE.


“The Opel engine was chosen as it is a ‘masterpiece’ of engineering and well proven over hundreds of millions of miles. The need to change from petrol to diesel was seen as necessary to reduce any fire hazards, provide a longer and more reliable product life with longer service intervals for heavy commercial use, a greater range per hour at full throttle and the increased geographical availability of diesel”, explained Magnus Folin, CEO of Cimco Marine.

Opel News - Flagship: The Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTI as a four-dour limousine with the four-cylinder diesel made in Kaiserslautern (125kW/170 hp, combined consumption 4.5-4.3 liters per 100 kilometers, 118-114 g/km CO2, efficiency class A)


  Cimco Marine AB tested several passenger car diesel engines to find a suitable unit. The four-cylinder Opel engine prevailed thanks to its robustness. Intense testing was conducted for three years until the end of 2015. “We have been validating the engine for years and it has proven to be an extremely robust and durable engine,” as Christer Flodman, Cimco Technical Manager, pointed out. Therefore, the decision to look to the engine made in Germany was taken – “Opel the reliable”.


Massimo Giraud, Assistant Chief Engineer at Opel’s diesel development center in Turin, explains: “Adapting our engine to the very different environment was a significant challenge. We had to change the engine’s character by completely retuning the calibration. For the marine application, we abandoned the high low-end torque the engine is famous for and aimed for the high power output necessary for cruising speed. Mission accomplished!”


Cimco also adapted the inline four-cylinder engine for use in rough seas. The engine now has a dry-sump system to guarantee oil supply no matter what the conditions. A patented belt propulsor unit transfers engine power through the drivetrain to the propeller, which can withstand the high torque of the turbo diesel. This sophisticated drivetrain gives the helmsman a low speed control that is crucial for search and rescue missions but is currently unknown from low-torque, two stroke outboards. Last but not least, the OXE Diesel has a closed-circuit coolant system – a decisive advantage in ice conditions or waters with a lot of aquatic vegetation.