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F10 / F11 (2011 - 2016)
The sixth generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) was produced from 2011 - 2016 with LCI updates arriving in 2014. In the US BMW offered a hatchback 5 Series Gran Truismo (F07) and the rest of the world also go a Station Wagon/Touring version F11.

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:45 PM
m6pwr m6pwr is offline
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BMW's Oil

For folks who do used oil analysis (uoa), or who might otherwise be interested, here is a virgin oil analysis (voa) done last week by Polaris Labs on a sample of the oil used by BMW in all their current gas models with turbo direct injection motors (including the M5 and M6): BMW High Performance Synthetic 5w30. The voa will help interpreting later uoa's if you are inclined to do those.

The bottle says the oil is made in the US with foreign and domestic components. It meets ACEA A3B3 (the Euro high temp/high rpm spec) and API SL/CF. I believe it is made by Castrol, BMW's lubricant partner, and also meets BMW's own LL01 spec.

Aluminum 2 ppm
Silicon 3
Sodium 6
Moly 143
Boron 60
Magnesium 12
Calcium 2157
Phosphorous 884
Zinc 1004

Vis. 100 C 11.7 Cst
Base number 8.16
Oxidation 6 abs/cm
Nitration 5 abs/cm

Couple of comments:

The API SL spec is interesting. It's an old spec, but sometimes older is better. I think BMW and Castrol deliberately formulated the oil to this spec in order to have the greatest flexibility in formulating the additive package. It's a pretty diverse pack with more of the anti-wear adds (phoshorous and zinc, and also boron) than you'd find in any 5w30 oil today (formulated to API SM or SN). The moly add gives good anti-friction (more slippery) performance which helps with gas mileage and also indirectly with anti-wear. The small amount of silicon is there to combat foaming which can take place at high rpms. Calcium and magnesium are detergents and antacid alkalines. The viscosity is at the high end - - almost a 40 weight. That will help as the oil shears back (thins out) with high temps/rpms. The base number is an expression of the reserve alkalinity of the oil - - the ability to neutralize acids that form in the crankcase. Many oils have high base numbers up around 11 or 12, an indication that they can neutralize a lot of acid. But the high base number also can mean a higher propensity to form deposits in the engine. The best modern oils now have lower base numbers but at the same time better alkaline adds that don't deplete so fast. So a base number of 8 is a good sign.

The oxidation/nitration numbers in an oil normally indicate the oil is wearing out, but in a unused or virgin sample it can be a good sign. The test equipment can be fooled by esters in the oil and interpreted as oxidation/nitration. Esters in the base stock are good - - gives the oil good high temp stability. In interpreting a uoa, you would want to subtract these numbers from the oxidation/nitration numbers to get a more accurate idea of the remaining serviceability of the oil.

Finally, here's a description of what an oil must go through for a mfr to get a "license" that says the oil is approved by BMW to meet their LL01 spec - As you can see it's a pretty rigorous set of tests.

Overall, I think BMW's oil is pretty darn stout - - top tier, really.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:26 PM
FreqMan FreqMan is offline
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Thanks for the great write-up!
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:39 PM
ritzy996tt ritzy996tt is offline
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Great information! Never really knew what was in my oil
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