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  #1  
Old 09-03-2018, 02:44 PM
tbraithw tbraithw is offline
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Okay, so what grade gas do I REALLY need?

So I've got a very new 2018 320i.
What's the conventional wisdom on the appropriate grade of gas to use?
First inclination is to stick with Premium/93, but is it really making a difference on engine wear, crud build-up, or anything else?
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:59 PM
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Here goes .......

My experience over 16 years .....

9 BMWS

One 740il

Two 535i

Two E46 330i

Two E90 328i

Two F30 328i and 330i

Over 1 million miles

All regular 87 Octane mostly QuickTrip

Never an engine problem.
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:45 PM
khammack khammack is online now
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Go with your "First inclination". In general, going with the recommended grade of gas cost about the same as scrimping on the grade because the car will change setting to accommodate the lower grade at the cost of lower mileage.
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Old 09-03-2018, 04:01 PM
tbraithw tbraithw is offline
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Gas grade vs mileage

I never noticed any correlation between gas grade and mileage in my 2002 325i (std transmission). If the car automatically adapted to the cheaper gas, that factor alone didn't seem to noticeably impact mileage. What did matter was highway vs city (you can see the road trips on the attached graph) and also my gradual trend towards being less aggressive on the gas pedal. When I finally started consciously trying to optimize gas mileage (on the very last road trip), I suddenly got 32mpg instead of 29mpg.
Other than a few experimental periods, with no apparent change in mileage, that car spent its whole life on Regular/87.
Assuming that's still going to be the case, my motive to buy higher grade gas with a new car would be long term preservation of the motor against wear or crud build-up... but does it really make a difference?
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2018, 05:06 PM
John in VA John in VA is offline
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I don't believe you will get the advertised power from the car without premium, but using top-tier 87, 89 or 91 shouldn't do any damage.
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Old 09-03-2018, 05:36 PM
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Axialflow Axialflow is offline
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Originally Posted by John in VA View Post
I don't believe you will get the advertised power from the car without premium, but using top-tier 87, 89 or 91 shouldn't do any damage.
+ 1

It should not cause any damage. The car will reduce power to compensate.

The computer will rate the fuel grade and log it into the DME fuel grade history.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Bimmerfest mobile app
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:06 PM
John MS John MS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbraithw View Post
So I've got a very new 2018 320i.
What's the conventional wisdom on the appropriate grade of gas to use?
First inclination is to stick with Premium/93, but is it really making a difference on engine wear, crud build-up, or anything else?
BMW provides their educated wisdom on the appropriate grades of gas to use. Good advice to follow.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:04 PM
namelessman namelessman is online now
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Another perspective is that, assuming ECU takes care of adjusting to 87 versus 91, when cost savings is bigger than the decrease in mpg, then it will be worth it.

E.g. 87 versus 91 has 10% difference in mpg, then fill u with 87 when price delta is more than 10%.

Around our area 87 seldom goes 10% below 91.
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  #9  
Old 09-04-2018, 06:22 AM
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gkr778 gkr778 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John MS View Post
BMW provides their educated wisdom on the appropriate grades of gas to use. Good advice to follow.
+1
For an N20 equipped 320i, that "wisdom" amounts to 89 AKI minimum, 91 AKI for best performance.

Practically speaking, that means 89 AKI gasoline for normal everyday driving, 91 AKI for track use.
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2018, 07:44 AM
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CALWATERBOY TRE CALWATERBOY TRE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbraithw View Post
So I've got a very new 2018 320i.
What's the conventional wisdom on the appropriate grade of gas to use?
First inclination is to stick with Premium/93, but is it really making a difference on engine wear, crud build-up, or anything else?

Any commonly available gas'll work.

But real BMW pilots use Premium.

Do you look to economize?
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2018, 08:17 AM
JeffDunes JeffDunes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbraithw View Post
So I've got a very new 2018 320i.
What's the conventional wisdom on the appropriate grade of gas to use?
First inclination is to stick with Premium/93, but is it really making a difference on engine wear, crud build-up, or anything else?
If you are leasing the car, or if you do not plan on keeping it more than a few year, then use regular. If you want to keep the car for many years then use premium as it may prolong the life of the fuel system.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffDunes View Post
If you are leasing the car, or if you do not plan on keeping it more than a few year, then use regular. If you want to keep the car for many years then use premium as it may prolong the life of the fuel system.
So the nice thing about a gas thread is everyone can have an opinion.

The nice thing about our 2002 330i run on 87 regular for 200,000 miles is saving about $4500 to spend on CABs, SERP belt, failing window mechanisms, leaking OFHG, new leather drivers seat, rebuild cooling system, couple of windshields, batteries, tires ......... no engine repairs ...... but I'm rambling on now .......
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Last edited by laser; 09-04-2018 at 09:06 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2018, 09:04 AM
John MS John MS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDunes View Post
If you are leasing the car, or if you do not plan on keeping it more than a few year, then use regular. If you want to keep the car for many years then use premium as it may prolong the life of the fuel system.
How will premium or higher octane gas prolong the life?
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2018, 09:25 AM
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gkr778 gkr778 is offline
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Originally Posted by John MS View Post
How will premium or higher octane gas prolong the life?
That may be the case if "premium" grade gasoline contains a higher quality detergency/additive package compared to regular and midgrade gasoline. But that scenario is increasingly uncommon. Gasolines marketed as TOP TIER, for example, use the same higher level detergency treat rate for all octane grades of gasoline sold at participating stations.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:30 AM
SNye45 SNye45 is offline
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Always go by this: Required or recommended.

If a higher octane is required then use that octane. If not, and just recommended, its your choice to save a few cents on refills, or feel better about yourself by putting a higher octane in. The engine will adjust to whichever gas you choose.
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  #16  
Old 09-04-2018, 09:45 AM
JeffDunes JeffDunes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John MS View Post
How will premium or higher octane gas prolong the life?
The owner's manual for my 2011 535i states BMW recommends AKI 91 or 89, with a minimum rating of 89. It goes on to state... "Do not use any gasoline below the minimum specified fuel grade; otherwise engine damage may occur". I suggest the OP check the owner's manual and follow the recommendation there.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:46 AM
John MS John MS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDunes View Post
The owner's manual for my 2011 535i states BMW recommends AKI 91 or 89, with a minimum rating of 89. It goes on to state... "Do not use any gasoline below the minimum specified fuel grade; otherwise engine damage may occur". I suggest the OP check the owner's manual and follow the recommendation there.
That's not answering the question. How does premium gas prevent damage to the fuel system?

BMW is not telling owners to use premium gas. Only 89 to 91 rated gas.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:48 AM
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need4speed need4speed is offline
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Does anyone know how often this comes up on the 'Fest? It's got to be once a month or so. Go with 93 octane.
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  #19  
Old 09-04-2018, 12:37 PM
JeffDunes JeffDunes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John MS View Post
That's not answering the question. How does premium gas prevent damage to the fuel system?

BMW is not telling owners to use premium gas. Only 89 to 91 rated gas.
According to my owner's manual it states...

"Required Fuel

Super Premium Gasoline/AKI 91 or AKI89"

I do not have an answer to your other question. If you want to know how premium gas prevents damage to the fuel system you will have to ask the engineers at BMW.
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:53 PM
John in VA John in VA is offline
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Does anyone know how often this comes up on the 'Fest? It's got to be once a month or so. Go with 93 octane.
Not quite that often, and certainly less than an oil "discussion!"
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by need4speed View Post
Go with 93 octane.
93 AKI gasoline isn't readily available in many parts of the USA, and doesn't provide a huge benefit for stock F30 cars anyway over 89 and 91 AKI.
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Last edited by gkr778; 09-04-2018 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by laser View Post
So the nice thing about a gas thread is everyone can have an opinion.

The nice thing about our 2002 330i run on 87 regular for 200,000 miles is saving about $4500 to spend on CABs, SERP belt, failing window mechanisms, leaking OFHG, new leather drivers seat, rebuild cooling system, couple of windshields, batteries, tires ......... no engine repairs ...... but I'm rambling on now .......
So you saved about $22 a month. Hard to see in financial impact, but it make you happy so good for you.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by gkr778 View Post
+1
For an N20 equipped 320i, that "wisdom" amounts to 89 AKI minimum, 91 AKI for best performance.

Practically speaking, that means 89 AKI gasoline for normal everyday driving, 91 AKI for track use.
Run as high as I can buy for track days, 100 octane. Extra heat generated makes for a greater possibility of detonation. Street run standard 93 premium in most of the cars. Trucks run on 87.
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  #24  
Old 09-04-2018, 03:17 PM
namelessman namelessman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laser View Post
So the nice thing about a gas thread is everyone can have an opinion.

The nice thing about our 2002 330i run on 87 regular for 200,000 miles is saving about $4500 to spend on CABs, SERP belt, failing window mechanisms, leaking OFHG, new leather drivers seat, rebuild cooling system, couple of windshields, batteries, tires ......... no engine repairs ...... but I'm rambling on now .......
Does 91 provide better fuel economy than 87 on your car?

E.g. 200k miles burned 8000 gallons of [email protected]

If using 91 can save 800 gallons of those with 10% increased mpg, then the savings can be 800 * $3.5 = $2800, so that $4500 savings of using 87 exclusively drops to $1700.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
Does 91 provide better fuel economy than 87 on your car?

E.g. 200k miles burned 8000 gallons of [email protected]

If using 91 can save 800 gallons of those with 10% increased mpg, then the savings can be 800 * $3.5 = $2800, so that $4500 savings of using 87 exclusively drops to $1700.
$1700 in today's money is worth $1200 in 2002 money so average it out to about $1400 or about $7 a month.
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