The short answer to this question is that BMW recommends you using only premium-unleaded fuel for any of their vehicles. But do you necessarily have to fuel your BMW with premium gas? Not really. Is it the best option to maintain the quality of your vehicle? Absolutely.
While the price tag for premium-unleaded makes you less than drawn to fuel your BMW with it, it’s the best way to maintain the quality of your BMW’s performance throughout its lifespan. Needless to say, all of us here at Edmonton BMW can’t recommend it enough. Read on to learn more about why fueling up your BMW with premium-unleaded gas is the best thing you can do for it.
The Difference Between Regular & Premium
What separates these two type of fuel are octane levels. Regular fuel has an octane rating of either 87 or 88, while premium fuel has a higher rating of 93. The octane rating indicates the how stable the fuel is under pressure—the higher the octane, the more stable it is. High-performance engines with 6-cylinders or more are known for being “high-compression engines” that require more stable octane levels for it to perform at its highest level possible. Think of premium fuel as feeding your BMW clean and healthy homemade meals as compared to McDonald’s or potato chips.
The Risks of Using Low-Octane Fuel
Higher-octane fuel is better for controlling “denotation” in the engine. Denotation is the spontaneous combustion of the gas before the spark plug ignites, so the fuel burns. Denotation helps prevent is called “knocking” where the engine components are forced into opposite directions and cause a rattling noise made by the engine under load. This causes the mixture of air and fuel to burn erratically and can cause damage to your engine. Engines today actually incorporate technology that helps mitigate damage from running low-octane fuel, but you’ll have to make that decision for yourself on whether or not you want to risk your vehicle’s performance.
How Premium Fuel Effects Performance
While premium fuel doesn’t increase performance, it does a great job of making sure your engine doesn’t suffer at the same time. Because of the slower rate in spark timing from using low-octane fuel, you’ll notice the difference in power immediately in your car’s acceleration and while driving on steep hills—especially if you own an M Performance model. Another example of how your engine’s performance is affected is through its fuel economy. The differences in combustion rates between regular and premium mean that low octane fuel burns more slowly than high-octane, meaning your engine will require more energy to ignite the fuel—however, other studies support that it actually doesn’t affect fuel economy so take this with a grain of salt.
Otherwise, the benefits of using premium fuel for your BMW are evident. If you want to maintain the quality engineering and performance that BMW is known for, premium fuel is the way to go. If you have any more questions, let us here at Edmonton BMW know.