Engine oil – when its synthetic…its all the same isn’t it?

For the longest time…BRracing prided itself on offering the same engine oil that the dealership offered for their customers.  We carried the same oil as the BMW dealership for BMWs, the same oil as the MINI dealership for MINI’s, the same oil as the dealership for Audi’s…you get the idea.

Then, we noticed that the local Audi dealership offered Pennzoil for their Audi customers….cause the local dealership is owned by the Penske Group.  We talked to the local dealership, and asked if they had done a comparison of the Pennzoil to the Mobil1 5w40 normally used in the Audi’s…..NOPE.  They just wanted to use the core, same fluids that the Penske Group used.

Next, we would have lots of customers with BMWs and MINIs…and we would see high rates of oil consumption.  They all asked us, “why?”.  We didn’t see any direct reason…no oil leaks, no bad valve seals, no turbo seal leaks, no bad compression or piston ring “blow by” present…yet, they all had higher than expected oil consumption.

For the Audi’s, we evaluated several oils, and after a long test period (1 year), we saw better results in our Audi customers cars, when we used Motul 8100x-cess 5w40 full synthetic engine oil.

On Porsche’s…we didn’t really see any issue…we used either Mobil1 0w40, or for our track customers, we occasionally used Motul Trophy 300V 0w40…a much newer, and different synthetic engine oil (this oil, and Joe Gibb’s Racing Driven racing oil use a new synthetic base stock)(more on this oil a little later).

But, it was on the BMWs and MINIs that we found a difference.

This is what the current BMW / MINI OEM synthetic oil is:

The BMW 5W30 motor oil is the factory engine oil approved for almost all BMW engines, except for BMW Diesel and some M3/M5/M6 engines. It’s the first oil approved in the US for BMW’s turbo N20 N54 N55 engines, including the S55 engine in the 2015+ F80 M3/F82 M4. This oil can also be used in E39 M5 and Z8 with the S62 engine, per the label inside the engine compartment. It can also be used in most MINI engines. Replaces the previous part number of 07510017866 (07-51-0-017-866).

This oil was especially formulated for the USA market to meet compatibility requirements with the high sulfur content in our fuels. It meets BMW LL01 and API SL specs for gasoline engines from 1997 up through today as well as ACEA A3/B3 requirements. This is the current oil used in BMW dealerships.

In January 2015 BMW changed official oil suppliers from Castrol to Shell. The new oils are designed to meet requirements of both the newer engines as well as older BMWs. This oil can be used in cars with either normally aspirated and or turbocharged engines…..and here’s the real irony….the Shell synthetic oil and the Pennzoil synthetic oil are almost one and the same! Since Shell is the producer on Pennzoil® motor oils, that makes Pennzoil the recommended oil for BMW engines…hmmm.

Beginning with July 2015 car production, new BMW models came with 0W20 or 0W30 BMW oil. However, BMW dealerships continued to sell 5W30 until that stock was depleted. The 5W30 is an acceptable alternative to the 0W20 and 0W30 BMW oil per BMW’s service bulletin.

Seeing that almost all of the oils meet all the European car North American synthetic oil standards (here is the list of synthetic oil standards for BMW):

BMW Oil Specifications

BMW Longlife-98 (BMW LL-98)
Special long-life engine oil, approved by BMW. Also meets ACEA A3/B3, API SJ/CD, EC SAE 5W-40. Usually required for BMWs manufactured before MY 2002. Obsolete since 2009.
BMW Longlife-01 (BMW LL-01)
Special BMW approval for fully synthetic long-life oil. Product meets ACEA A3/B3 and API: SJ/CD EC-II. Usually required for BMWs built after MY 2002. Can also be used where a BMW Longlife-98 oil is recommended.
BMW Longlife-01 FE (BMW LL-01 FE)
Fully synthetic long-life oil with fuel economy properties. Oils meeting this specifications must have a low HTHS viscosity to meet the manufacturer’s fuel economy requirements. These oils are only suitable for the following engines: N1x, N2x, N54, N55, N63, N74.
BMW Longlife-04 (BMW LL-04)
Special BMW approval for fully synthetic long-life oil. Viscosities are SAE 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30 and 5W-40. Usually required for BMWs equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). Can also be used where a BMW Longlife-98 or BMW Longlife-01 oil is recommended.
BMW Longlife-12 (BMW LL-12)
Special motor oil for certain approved gasoline engines and the following diesel engines only: Nx7K1, Nx7U1, Nx7O1 from model year 2013. Not suitable for engines with 2 or 3 turbos.
BMW Longlife-14+ (BMW LL-14+)
Special motor oil for the following gasoline engines only: N20, Bx8 from model year 2014. Not allowed for diesel engines.

With that being said, what are the standards for some of the common oils:

Motul 8100x-cess
ACEA Standards: ACEA A3/B4
OEM APPROVALS: BMW LL-01 ; MB-APPROVAL 229.5 / 226.5 ; PORSCHE A40 ; RENAULT RN0700 – RN0710 ; VW 502 00 – 505 00; GM-OPEL LL B-025 (DIESEL) ; FIAT 9.55535-H2 /M2/N2 ; PSA B71 2296

Motul 8100x-clean
ACEA Standards: ACEA C3
OEM APPROVALS: BMW LL-04 ; FORD WSS M2C 917 A ; GM-OPEL DEXOS2TM ; MB-APPROVAL 229.51 ; PORSCHE A40 ; RENAULT RN0710 – RN0700 ; VW 502 00 – 505 00 – 505 01; FIAT 9.55535-S2

ACEA Standards: ACEA A3/B3, A3/B4
OEM APPROVALS:  MB-Approval 229.3 , MB-Approval 229.5 , VW 502 00/505 00, PORSCHE A40

Pennzoil / Shell
ACEA Standards: ACEA A1/B1-10, A1/B1-12 (SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30*), ACEA A5/B5-10, A5/B5-12 (SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30*)
OEM APPROVALS: OEM specifications:
Chrysler MS-6395 (SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30)
Chrysler MS12633 (SRT) (SAE 0W-40)
GM dexos1™ Certification (SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30)
GM 4718M (Corvette and Cadillac) (SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30)
GM 6094M (SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30)
Ford WSS-M2C930-A and WSS-M2C945-A (SAE 5W-20)
Ford WSS-M2C929-A and WSS-M2C946-A (SAE 5W-30)
Ford WSS-M2C947-A (SAE 0W-20)
Honda/Acura HTO-06 (SAE 5W-30)

So, armed with the above data….we also set out on our own informal test.  We had seen the issues in MINIs and BMWs…so, what would happen if we changed the oil?  We tried the Motul 8100xcess for gas engined BMWs and MINIs, and the 8100xclean for diesels.

Oil consumption dropped by over HALF.  Test results showed less wear.

While this is not a conclusive test….in our view, this says that there is indeed a difference, and we want nothing but the best for our customers (and since the Motul is the same cost as the BMW / MINI / Shell / Pennzoil), this is a WIN-WIN in our view.

BRracing – protecting your car