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Tested: the best performance fuels

23 July 2007

  • BP Ultimate 102 tops performance gains
  • Tesco 99 Octane gives best gains for price
  • Shell's V Power lags behind in third place

Tesco's performance fuel is regarded as being the best value by a new test

BP Ultimate 102 has topped an independent test of high-octane fuels - but examiners have cautioned that the extra performance doesn't necessarily justify the additional cost.

The survey, conducted by car tuners Thorney Motorsport, tested BP Ultimate 102, Shell V Power and Tesco 99 Octane, which would typically be used in high-performance road cars and motorsport.

The tests were conducted using a BMW M3, which Thorney Motorsport says returned the most consistent results during trials.

The trials were held in strictly controlled conditions so that factors such as the ambient temperature and humidity didn't affect results.

BP Ultimate 102, which typically costs £2.42 a litre, returned the greatest performance gains, while Tesco 99 Octane (typically £1.00 a litre) consistently out-performed Shell V Power (typically £1.05 a litre).

However, the difference between Tesco 99 and BP 102 was found to be marginal.

Tesco 99 gave higher power and torque at low revs, but BP 102 out-performed it at high revs.

However, BP102's performance dropped by up to 4% after it had been in a tank for a week.

V Power, meanwhile, was consistently out-performed by its rivals.

'The difference in power and torque between a 95 octane fuel and a performance fuel such as Tesco 99 Octane or BP Ultimate 102 is significant - we saw an improvement of in excess of 10%,' said John Thorne of Thorney Motorsports.

'While BP Ultimate 102 did perform best, the improvement doesn't necessarily justify the extra expense.

'In pure cost and performance terms, it's very hard to beat Tesco 99 for regular use.'

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