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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #51  
Old 01-26-2012, 09:48 AM
Locomotive Locomotive is offline
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Ask your distributor for non- ethanol gas. It's around.
There's also an app for that. Pure Gas, I think.
I've been using non-ethanol gas since I bought my
535 so I can't speak for the gain/loss in performance
or mileage, but I can in Fords. Better mileage and
performance.
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  #52  
Old 01-26-2012, 09:52 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhs156 View Post
Your manual should be specific about whether 93 is "recommended" or "required" - there's a crucial difference. For the vast majority of cars these days, onboard electronics are programmed to compensate for lower octane fuel, technically making 93 octane obsolete for all but the highest end of sports cars. Various tests by car mags and consumer organizations have confirmed that lower octane fuel has no/neglible adverse effects (performance, wear, emissions or mpg) on the vast majority of new cars.

That said, I could've sworn I felt a slight performance difference when using 89 and 91 fuel in my wife's Audi (a 3L supercharged engine with 333hp). It was ever so slight, but I could've sworn I felt a tiny difference. That combined with unfounded doubt in my mind, made me switch back to 93. I figured the marginal incremental cost annually of 89 vs 91 vs 93 didn't warrant the lower grade fuel. I only use 93 in the M5, but would be comfortable with lower octane fuel in a non-M BMW if BMW only "recommends" 93.
Some good points here, but needing clarification.

You are correct, all new cars these days are equipped with detonation sensors designed to protect the car in the event that a lower than designed for octane fuel is run. Timing is retarded, excess fuel is dumped, etc. to prevent pre detonation and the resulting damage.

You are also correct in that most cars are not programmed to advance such parameters as timing, boost (if applicable), fuel mapping, etc. to increase power beyond the octane rating required.

Most cars will not show appreciable gains or losses outside of their octane rating. It has to do with many, many factors, however there ARE cars that do have either positive or adverse reactions to octane switching. For example:

My Acura MDX runs a 3.7L N/A V6. The manual states that 91 is "recommended". The car gets 93 in the summer and 89 in the winter. If I run 89 in the summer, I get reduced performance and (very) occasional pinging.

My long departed '99 Grand Cherokee had a N/A 4.7L V8. It was rated to run on 87, but would not run smoothly on same. It required 89 to run smoothly without hesitation, pinging or inadequate performance.

My recently departed 2004 Volvo V70R had a turbocharged 2.5L I-5 running 14psi of boost (when stock). It was rated for 91 octane and ran notably poor while running below that. However, there was a notable performance increase going from 91 to 93, and running on race gas gained at least 25-30 HP (dyno proven).

The level of severity of these cases vary. The MDX forums are full of people who swear that while running 87 octane, they experience no noticeable decrease in performance or MPG. Either my car is an anomaly or those other people are not so sensitive. BTW, the MDX is my wife's car and she notices the difference too...so it is definitely noticeable.

There are various tests which confirm what you and I have said....for the most part, most cars don't show much difference when the car dials back on lower octane. Conversely, most cars don't show any appreciable performance gain running higher than recommended octane simply because they are not programmed to advance performance characteristics beyond a certain threshold.

I am not willing to find out, but I would imagine the BMW's engine management system is competent enough to overcome low octane. But on a boosted engine running a 10.2:1 compression ratio, I'm not going to find out how robust the anti-detonation system is. The resulting damage is too devastating and too easily inflicted.
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Last edited by Needsdecaf; 01-26-2012 at 09:55 AM.
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  #53  
Old 01-26-2012, 10:54 AM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Why all the ethanol hate lol? A performance killer? I'd like to know why that is, there are alot of race cars that use ethanol as their fuel and it's not because it's green. Hell I wish we could run E85 in these cars I bet we'd see a huge jump in performance. And before someone jumps on the whole HPFP that is just speculation.
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  #54  
Old 01-26-2012, 11:08 AM
Safaripete Safaripete is offline
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Try the site to find out all the non-ethanol filling stations. GOOD LUCK!!!!
http:/pure-gas.org
Safaripete
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  #55  
Old 01-26-2012, 12:25 PM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimefam View Post
Why all the ethanol hate lol? A performance killer? I'd like to know why that is, there are alot of race cars that use ethanol as their fuel and it's not because it's green. Hell I wish we could run E85 in these cars I bet we'd see a huge jump in performance. And before someone jumps on the whole HPFP that is just speculation.
As I said above, the "performance killer" phrase is misleading.

The reason that ethanol and other alcohols are used as race fuels is that their octane rating is pretty high at 113. However two things to consider:

1) Ethanol has less specific energy than gasoline. To produce the same amount of power, more ethanol must be burned than the equivalent amount of gas. So running E10 will drop your mpg over straight gas.

2. Ethanol's octane boosting powers are factored in when the gas is blended. So 93 octane e10 doesn't have a higher octane than 93 straight gas. The 93 E10 blend has less high octane gas and more high octane ethanol, and the resulting mix is has the same rating.
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  #56  
Old 01-26-2012, 02:34 PM
Safaripete Safaripete is offline
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Ethanol- A performance killer!

All I can tell you is this........I have a 02 Tundra P-UP V-8 When I put the mid grade (89) ethanol in the truck, I get 4.7 miles less per gallon and hesitation on the start. When using non- ethanol (89) I have no hesitation and better MPG I don't claim anything but results. That is what happens to me in my vehicle at approximately 5000 ft elevation.
Regards!

ps This is based on 6 full tank loads of each. Also a recently tuned engine.
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  #57  
Old 01-26-2012, 05:17 PM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Ok yes a mpg killer? Sure. Although with E10 it's tiny but performance killer? Not at all. In fact if we were able to tune our engines specifically for E85 or even straight ethanol vs 93 we'd find the mpg would be close because the bsfc goes up with ethanol, not enough to offset the lower energy content but it would be a small trade off for the improved performance.
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  #58  
Old 01-26-2012, 05:19 PM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimefam View Post
Ok yes a mpg killer? Sure. Although with E10 it's tiny but performance killer? Not at all. In fact if we were able to tune our engines specifically for E85 or even straight ethanol vs 93 we'd find the mpg would be close because the bsfc goes up with ethanol, not enough to offset the lower energy content but it would be a small trade off for the improved performance.
You are right.

Look at the Koneinsegg (sp?). It makes about 100 more HP when running on E85 then when on street gas.
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  #59  
Old 01-26-2012, 05:28 PM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
You are right.

Look at the Koneinsegg (sp?). It makes about 100 more HP when running on E85 then when on street gas.
Ahhh yes my dream car. Exactly right if you look at the mpg it's horrible on both e85 and gas but they are very close and that's because they are able to run alot more aggressive timing and boost because of the higher octane and also because of the better cooling and lower egt producing effects of ethanol. In fact both MIT and SAE published papers about the knock limiting effect of E85 and it's ability to close the mpg gap between It and low octane gasoline. It went on to say that possibly on engines design only for ethanol use you may be able to reach parity with low octane gas(the motors would have very high static compression which is incompatible with pump gas) and found the performance to be a big plus with as you can imagine very responsive motors at those CR's.
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  #60  
Old 01-26-2012, 07:21 PM
Safaripete Safaripete is offline
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Only thing I know is what I experienced. "If we were able to tune our engines specifically for E85" ?????? Are we all going to re-tune our engines?? I think not. I've read many many thoughts on Ethanol....both pro and con. I know what my vehicles do using both types of fuel. I opt for the ethanol free until I can't get it anymore or the automobile industry set engines for ethanol fuel additives.
Isn't this country great. To think that some people in this world have "surviving another day" on their minds, while we discuss this stuff.
Have a good evening.
Best Regards!!
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  #61  
Old 01-27-2012, 05:50 AM
DavidZ DavidZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
As I said above, the "performance killer" phrase is misleading.

The reason that ethanol and other alcohols are used as race fuels is that their octane rating is pretty high at 113. However two things to consider:

1) Ethanol has less specific energy than gasoline. To produce the same amount of power, more ethanol must be burned than the equivalent amount of gas. So running E10 will drop your mpg over straight gas.

2. Ethanol's octane boosting powers are factored in when the gas is blended. So 93 octane e10 doesn't have a higher octane than 93 straight gas. The 93 E10 blend has less high octane gas and more high octane ethanol, and the resulting mix is has the same rating.
This nails it.

I'm not a fan of ethanol for many reasons.
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  #62  
Old 01-27-2012, 06:11 AM
Wayne's World Wayne's World is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidZ View Post
I'm not a fan of ethanol for many reasons.
Im not a fan either. I held off for as long as i could but all of the non ethanol stations have closed up near me. You can definitely tell the difference between the e10 blend and straight gas. The engine pulls harder to redline for sure. E10 sucks for mileage and performance but if they ever increase it to 20 or 30 only then will it be worth it in terms of performance vs cost; cost being the real reason it was even an initiative.

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  #63  
Old 01-27-2012, 06:31 AM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Lol ethanol is currently more expensive than gas and if you look E85 is often a few cents cheaper than has but that is only because ethanol production is currently subsidized while gas is heavily taxed. A fair gas vs ethanol comparison would show gas is much cheaper.
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  #64  
Old 01-27-2012, 06:51 AM
mrcamp mrcamp is offline
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I fill up with the highest grade sold at BP.
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  #65  
Old 01-27-2012, 06:53 AM
stancv stancv is offline
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On a recent trip from TX to New Mexico I found only 89 in some gas stations along the way for my E60. Boy did it not like that, especially considering the mountainous area, and rewarded me with some serious engine knocking and laziness in the long climbs. After a few unsuccessful trials to find at least 91 I ended up adding the only thing they had on stock, some 108 racing fuel, which fixed the problem. I was not happy however of raising the octane so much, being worried about potential side effects to the catalytic converter among others. All issues were fixed when I found 91 gas later on. I would say that one shouldn't go under 91, as it seems that the car really requires it.
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  #66  
Old 01-27-2012, 07:49 AM
DavidZ DavidZ is offline
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Originally Posted by jimefam View Post
Lol ethanol is currently more expensive than gas and if you look E85 is often a few cents cheaper than has but that is only because ethanol production is currently subsidized while gas is heavily taxed. A fair gas vs ethanol comparison would show gas is much cheaper.
Yep. That's the main reason I don't like it. It's also inflationary to food prices--lots of stuff uses corn.
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  #67  
Old 01-27-2012, 07:57 AM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Yep. That's the main reason I don't like it. It's also inflationary to food prices--lots of stuff uses corn.
Well now were not talking about ethanol in relation to performance but while what your saying is true, given a choice I'd rather put money in an American corn farmers pocket than middle eastern countries or Venezuela(all of whom we have issues with) or even worse the canadiens lol! But were OT so carry on.
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  #68  
Old 01-27-2012, 11:20 AM
DavidZ DavidZ is offline
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Originally Posted by jimefam View Post
Well now were not talking about ethanol in relation to performance but while what your saying is true, given a choice I'd rather put money in an American corn farmers pocket than middle eastern countries or Venezuela(all of whom we have issues with) or even worse the canadiens lol! But were OT so carry on.
Still OT. While I don't mind farmers making $$ on this (and some are getting quite wealthy and there's nothing wrong with that), I don't like the interference with the free market. That never turns out well.
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  #69  
Old 01-27-2012, 11:42 AM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Still OT. While I don't mind farmers making $$ on this (and some are getting quite wealthy and there's nothing wrong with that), I don't like the interference with the free market. That never turns out well.
Lol your right OPEC never does that.
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  #70  
Old 01-27-2012, 04:48 PM
2012_535xi 2012_535xi is offline
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Still OT. While I don't mind farmers making $$ on this (and some are getting quite wealthy and there's nothing wrong with that), I don't like the interference with the free market. That never turns out well.
Not to get political or anything, but oil is not a free market. OPEC.
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  #71  
Old 01-28-2012, 08:21 AM
DavidZ DavidZ is offline
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Not to get political or anything, but oil is not a free market. OPEC.
Subsidizing ethanol is not the solution to the OPEC issue.

I know some of the best energy consultants anywhere and they all will tell you that there are a host of factors that determine the price of oil. Those factors include supply and demand. While OPEC can influence the world supply, there's way more to it than that.

Unlike what many people believe, it's not simply a matter of the guys at OPEC sitting around a table and deciding what the price of oil will be tomorrow.
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  #72  
Old 01-28-2012, 09:39 AM
2012_535xi 2012_535xi is offline
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To get back on topic, I've found 93 around here and it seems to work great. My friend swears by VPower (Shell), which I may try. Anyone have an opinion on VPower?
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  #73  
Old 01-28-2012, 11:05 AM
ihumphrey ihumphrey is offline
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Originally Posted by 2012_535xi View Post
To get back on topic, I've found 93 around here and it seems to work great. My friend swears by VPower (Shell), which I may try. Anyone have an opinion on VPower?
I mostly use shell vpower or bp 93 with invigorate...no difference I can perceive between them...
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  #74  
Old 01-28-2012, 12:16 PM
listerone listerone is offline
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Originally Posted by kckc1016 View Post
Just curious to know if any of you guys put below 93 grade in your 5's. I got a 535 and ive put nothing but 93 in them but seems like some have put 87. Any drawbacks to putting regular in?
I had two Infinitis whose owner's manuals said specifically that 91 was *recommended* but not *required*.Does BMW sell a car in this country that doesn't *require* 91? I know that MB doesn't.
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  #75  
Old 02-11-2012, 02:40 PM
jimefam jimefam is offline
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Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
Does the ECU respond well to increased octane? I know that not all engines will advance timing and spark beyond what 93 will allow.

My Volvo R responded VERY well to increased octane levels. Guys would run Torco additive, which worked well but left a reddish film on the tailpipes...which means who knows where else it was leaving a film.

Guys running race gas used to call it "cracktane", lol. The added pull was noticeable.
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Originally Posted by jimefam View Post
It does seem to enjoy the race fuel, when the local track opens up I'd like to test and see if it really does add power or if it's a placebo effect but subjectively I'd say it makes a difference.
Thought I'd bump this for some data, today was the first test and tune at one of my local tracks so I drove the 2 hrs to the track. I barely had fuel left when I got there as the idea was to get some runs in with 93 octane and then with VP's MS109(chose it because I thought it would give me the greatest differential) so I make the first couple of passes which ranged from horrible(1st pass was 13.7@109.18) to best(13.09@109.65) then I was out of fuel to where range to empty literally said ---. I put 3 gallons of race fuel in and make the first pass. Now I had expected to see everything the same while the dme adapted but I ran 13.4@108.18! WTF? So I said it must take time adapt but I ran 9 more passes and the best I could muster was 13.28@108.35 with my best 60' ever of 2.074. I dropped about 1.5mph of trap speed and I have NO idea why. Now that may seem like a little but as a reference my friend who has a 2011 550i just like mine(on 20" also) except he has the dinan stage 2 ran his car and had a top trap speed of 111.5. So he ran just over 1.8mph faster than me with what's supposed to be a 100hp difference. I'm not sure why the difference it could be the oxygenated fuel or it may be nothing but I found it interesting and unexpected none the less.
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