V-Power : Real Performer or Over-priced Unleaded Petrol?

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Fellow enthusiast Eric had questioned my choice of fuel for my spanking new Satria R3. Since some time ago, I’ve religiously fed my Persona with Shell V-Power and now my SR3.

To be totally honest, I neither have substantiated evidence nor literature that V-Power actually works and warrants the premium RM1.57/litre price it enjoys over the rest of local motor fuels. After some reading of mostly layman and marketing information, no actual scientific explanation is found besides the vague “purer, highly refined petrol with a unique base fuel reformulation that helps unleash extra energy for power and responsiveness…” I had always assumed that V-Power was more expensive due to a higher RON rating (in the vicinity of RON98). However none of this is supported by any literature in black and white although the Shell website does mention that V-Power at least conforms to RON97, at minimum.

However, through experience using V-Power and testing with other fuels like Caltex, Vortex Gold, Mobil + Esso Synergy F-1, I can attest that cars, especially of lower capacity engines, seem to perform better with obvious increase in power and response.

Shell.com says,
“Shell V-Power is a unique formulation that was developed based on Shell’s extensive experience as a Formula 1 technical partner to Ferrari. Utilising technology previously only available to Formula 1 racing teams, Shell V-power brings track-inspired performance to the road. It is a purer, highly refined petrol with a unique base fuel reformulation that helps unleash extra energy for power and responsiveness as quick as your reflexes. Shell V-Power is a totally redesigned petrol; not just one that’s been enhanced with additives. “

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Somewhat typical marketing talk and almost hard-to-believe claims,
“With the help of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, Shell went on to prove Shell-V-Power’s supreme performance on the race-track. After a couple of hot laps, the racing petrol in Schumacher’s Formula 1 Ferrari was substituted with Shell V-Power. The results were stunning.

Shell V-Power performed almost as well as the racing petrol. So well in fact, that even Michael Schumacher was surprised at the marginal difference in performance!”

Despite the lack of facts, I will continue to use V-Power for my car simply due to reason that there is a notable increase in power delivery and response. On track days and special occasions, I pop in a can of Aerotech Afterburn, an octane booster, which unleashes a few more horses. Very addictive too 🙂

So, what’s your choice of motor fuel, and why?

About The Author

Designer. Serial Entrepreneur. Blogger. Writer. Webhead. Tech geek. Twitter-addict. Mac advocate. Animal lover. Steve Jobs groupie. Footballer. Plays for KutipFC. Petrolhead. BMW fan. Alfisti. Chelsea FC.

  • <![CDATA[Alex]]>

    Hello guys,

    Let me just say something opposite…

    I own Jeep GR CH 1998 with 196000+ miles on it. I bought a car about five years ago with 103000 miles on it. The car was so wasted that the oil pressure gauge was barely moving. I made a promise to my self, that I would bring that car back to life no matter what, I have tried almost every product there is on the market (gas, oil, gas/oil additives, filters you name it…)

    When Shell came out with the V-Power I was really suspicious with it. I thought that it was another marketing trick, as one of you guys mentioned earlier. At the time, I was driving mostly on “Amoco” Supreme. Before that I’ve used regular the cheapest possible.

    Let me share with you how do I get 400+ miles on the tank with the mileage I have on my car now…
    I have stopped using regular gasoline a long time ago, and here is why:

    1) Regular is cheap that is correct, but I if you compare the mileage on the full tank of regular vs. full tank of super you will see that the super is going to give you better mileage and performance. You would not be pushing the accelerator pedal
    all the way to the floor in order to
    get your car moving.
    2) Regular gasoline after a while WILL pollute your engine and will actually decrease performance of your vehicle and will drain your valet quicker.
    3) You think you’re saving by using regular? Wrong!!! On the long run you will pay more and drive less.

    Here is what I found to be the best combination to the performance:

    Motor Oil:

    “Mobile-One” ONLY!!! Full synthetic, everything else is just a waste.
    I do oil change “by the books” every 3.000 miles like a clock.
    I use 10-30.

    Spark plugs:

    I wish I could use a better ones, but JEEP doesn’t take any other than “Champion”. But guess what, there is a Champion Spark Plugs for Trucks that work just fine. Change them every 10.000 miles

    Air Filter:

    K&N – THE BEST THING THAT WAS EVER INVENTED.

    Gasoline:

    Shell V-Power. So far so good and I do feel the difference. Well let’s put it this way, it works for me. If you don’t like it, so be it…

    If you do not like the V-Power, use Lucas Injector Cleaner with your desired gasoline every oil change. IT IS THE BEST THERE IS!!! And it is inexpensive.

    On top of that tune-up and all other stuff that every driver must do regularly.

    Oh, just few more things, transmission and engine flush – a must.

    Trainee – every oil change.

    Engine – every 15000 or once a year (which ever comes first)

    THE KEY IS THE MAINTANANCE AND then performance products.

    If you really love your car and you want it to serve you well, you want to listen to it, feel it, and understand what product works best with your car.

    Best to you all

    Alex.

  • <![CDATA[Mark]]>

    I’m a V-power user and so far ok if you go for extra power. I suggest you to use Brisk spark plugs (premium type cost Rm 30.00 per piece) increase power by 15% and 10,000 km life span.

  • <![CDATA[SexyThang]]>

    with performance engines….its better to use the cleaner oils. even for normal engine in old or new car…..the power and response is felt……the price increase for the more expensive fuel is justified….i asked my mechanics and he said it works up to about the same in mileage. i’ve also done some test myself as well and the higher octane fuel brings more mileage than normal unleaded. for the same price of petrol you pump in. i dont know whether this is true but ive tried it and it really is…given i drive the same route and same style of driving thorughout the testing with no air condition on. It works on my integra vtir which drinks higher octane petrol anyway and also my beat up nissan pulsar 1988 model. for highway cruising also use the premium one. tried it using current model camry. two cars driven behind each other but one with premium and one with unleaded. the unleaded one needed more refueling ( and i would say the premium one lasts twice as long….coz i needed refuelling when the other camry was only half tank or one division lower) for a small increase in price. turned out the normal unleaded petrol camry cost more run forthe trip. I’m not sure whether camry requires premuim unleaded or not though. so now ive resorted to higher octane fuel…gives more power and smoothness….save more money and hopefully as they all claim result in cleaner engine.

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    Hi Vernon,

    we used it way back in 1995 and trust me, the in tank using was more than enough. Besides, the unit we got was oversize for the car cc anyways. Why pay so much for the in fuel line when you can save money, buy the larger in tank one.

    Really how much more benefit you going to get? Perhaps when you first TOP up from empty someone can argue that the broquet is unable to fully work its spells on the petrol. Ok fine but then I will just top up when the tank is half full.

    What I am trying to say, can we really quantify the benefit of using the in fuel line which is like 200 pounds when I can buy the large in tank at 90 pounds.

    Guess subaru had no choice cause their cars love 98 RON. And in UK for some time they stopped the higher octane unleaded and everyone had to use 95RON. Trust me, the scoob guys were suffering. That said, my cousin in his 250bhp fire breathing Volvo S40 T4 had no issues….. Broquet in the tank.!!

    Also note for those with ancient cars…. my cuz also bought 2 more in tank units for his Dad in singapore. One went into a very old Volvo 740 that was never meant to run on Unleaded and a volvo 144 which is like 30 years old. No issues to the cars when broquet was in it. BTW, both cars still running today ah.

    So there you go… Broquet… the wonder accessory for any performance addict.

    eric

  • Anonymous

    Hi Vernon,

    picked this out from one website in USA. Check the second part of it.

    And from that same site, something on gadgets that suppose to increase mileage.

    regards
    ERIC

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    Hi Vernon,

    taken from the Broquet website.

    “….As you will see the Broquet is actually a number of catalyst pellets which are added to the fuel system by either placing them directly into the fuel tank or fitting a cartridge into the fuel line. We generally supply tank units for cars and motor cycles, and in-line units for larger commercial vehicles, stationary and marine engines. Once installed the pellets will remain effective for at least 250,000 miles and will thus not require replacing. Indeed the same catalyst unit can be removed from one fuel system and used in another.

    When the catalyst is in contact with fuel, petrol or diesel, there is a catalysis reaction at the surface of the pellets which results in a modification to the fuel itself which, in turn, leads to a significantly more thermally efficient combustion process. This improved combustion leads to a number of things but in particular:-

    1. The overall running temperature of the engine is lowered. Thus older “leaded-only” petrol engines do not suffer from the overheating associated with use of petrol without added lead. This means that these engines can run quite safely on unleaded without danger of valve seat recession caused by excess heat.
    2.

    3. Petrol engines are able to accept a slightly lower octane fuel than they would otherwise require without losing performance or needing a timing retardation. In fact most customers using Broquet to switch, for example, from 97 octane 4-Star to 95 octane unleaded, actually report that their engines run better after Broquet is installed despite using a lower grade fuel.
    4.

    5. Exhaust gas emissions, CO and HC for petrol engines, and smoke in diesels, are greatly reduced. This is increasingly significant because of tightening MOT regulations and roadside emission checks.
    6.

    7. More power is available which, if like driving conditions are used before and after, means a fuel economy improvement. This varies, but an improvement of between 7 – 10% is typical.
    8.

    In addition the presence of Broquet results in a gradual decarbonising action. So for an older engine the combustion area will be gradually cleaned up and a new engine will stay in an as-new condition for years – the catalyst is totally compatible with catalytic converters and will reduce their overall work load…”

    http://www.broquet.co.uk/

    Its interesting. Wonder why we don’t use it here. Should be about 500 bucks at current exchange rate and what we save on NOT using V-Power, we buy it and use it year after year, car after car.

    Heck, who knows maybe Shell pass their petrol through this stuff and call it V-Power. Charge you an arm and a leg for it. 🙂

    A friend of mine told me he bumped into a guy recenly selling this broquet stuff here in KL. This guy was trying to sell him one broquet for his Altis at RM$1000. Way too expensive if you ask me. Forget the inline unit. The one my cousin used was the in-tank unit. Much better and cheaper. Just dump into the tank. He used a fishing line to it so that he could retrive it for his next car.

    From the website, it cost only 70 pounds for our cars… up to 73ltr tank. Something to think about eh? Check with your team Matrix friends about it and see what is their expert opinion.

    regards
    ERIC

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    Hi Verrnon,

    yes.. thats it, Broquet. Might be worth it. But it will be expensive I am sure cause of the current xchange rates.

    so you expecting 1000 words long huh. I will find the time for that. Maybe after Xmas.

    Let me test out the bosch plug for my slug Gti. See how that fairs up. thanks guys.

    regards
    ERIC

  • Anonymous

    Eric, as far as I know and understand the Broquet is most effective when the inline unit is coupled with the in-tank drop-ins.

    Apparently car companies like Subaru have it installed from factory.

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    Hey vernon,

    that lost post was me la. Sorry i thought by now you will know my style of writing.! Actually I forgot to sign off at the end. Too quick to hit the publish your comment button. 🙂

    Right now I really can’t find any ‘real’ benefit in V-power. Unless Shell tells me that its on a higher octane level then the other makes, then I will be willing to part with my cash.

    FFfor now I will take the advice of the other bloke… save the money for a set of plugs and change frequently. Will help my sparking and on the long run, better for engine etc I guess.

    If you get anymore info on V-power let us know.

    Mean time, many years back I came across this product which we tried in my cousins S40 T4. Its some sort of metal balls that is put into the petrol tank. Actually meant for older cars that are meant to run on leaded gas but due to these screwed up laws that penalise the motorist for all global warming, no more leaded petrol.

    These metal balls have some chemical reaction with the petrol and its supposed to help the burning of it… a bit like an increase in RON. The problem is, I can’t remember the name of the bloody thing! Broquete or something like that but my web search draws up a big fat zero.

    In my cousins car, it was always noted the engine was running better but we can’t really say it was down to that stuff although most of the Volvo Car UK folks that tested his car always commented that it seems to have a bit more power then the other T4. Head scratching time!

    Worth looking into cause you buy it and dump it into the gas tank and it stays in there for YEARS. It was used in the war when petrol quality was bad and the old propeller planes needed good gas. This inventor came out it with and now they sell it for cars in a very small scale.

    I’ll ask my cousin who is in UK if he can remember the actual name of it. Still has it in one of the cars.

    cheers

    ERIC

  • Anonymous

    My previous car used Bosch Super 4 plugs. Absolutely happy with them.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Eric,

    The writing wasn’t typically you. I am used to your 1,000 words (at least) responses 😀

    In any case, the product you mentioned is called Broquet. I place it in high regard, although it isn’t something I’m looking at installing in the short term. I have a friend who deals with Broquet, and I think the gains in terms of mileage is apparent.

    I’m gonna try and switch to Carltex Vortex or Mobil/Esso Synergy but that would mean no Bonuslink points from Shell Stations 🙁

  • Anon,

    Save your money on V-power. Use it to change your plugs with Bosch Super 4 (RM45) or equivalent every 10k km.

    You feel the performance and mileage gained with better sparks, combustion and power!

  • Anonymous

    Hey anonymous,

    You didn’t leave your name, so I’d just address you as Anon ok? 🙂 Good info you posted. I’ll see what I can dig up, especially any independent studies of different fuels to compare performance.

    Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the advice and info, Mack. I will be using mineral oil, until at least 10,000kms. Then I’ll switch to my choice of engine oil – Q8Oils.

    The Octane 113 boost sounds like an idea 🙂 Will definitely give u a tinkle!

    Yes, I agree that Aerotech’s Afterburn is good stuff. It was always a companion during those track days and autocross events 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Hi Vernon,

    Glad you brought this topic up. I for one would like to know if V-Power is really that good in terms of Performance gain to warrant a price hike compared to all other petrol available.

    Let me first make my point. I would pay more for a petrol that will give me more power gains. And by this account I am talking of a higher RON or Octane level. I will NOT pay more for a petrol if they are adding additives and their gain claims are based on that additive. WHY?

    Cause all other petrol companies ALL put some additives in the petrol to make our engines better. Note: I really wonder if the additives are there to better our engines or really because the petrol used is so lousy, that there MUST be chemicals in it to prevent the engine from going bust since no more lead is in the petrol. Lead may screw kids brains, the eco system etc but at least I know my car engine valves were nicely protected.

    We are clear now that paying more for better ‘quality’ petrol (RON) for me is not an issue. Based on this, I also have asked some shell forecourts what is the RON value and some either say, “97”, some say “Tak tau”, or ‘Apa itu RON? Ron tak duduk sini”… and so on.

    At first I thought, well $0.10 cents extra who cares about that. I used V-Power but I must say, I never felt any difference in power. But as I was more preoccupied with why my SGTi had a performance like a bullacart, I never gave much thought into the Shell V-Power hype.

    Then oneday after I came to conclude that marketing folks in Malaysia haven’t really heard the word, LIABILITY… I started to question the V-power, POWER. Is there a difference? And as petrol prices hiked upward to help increase our already high inflation, hey… I am going to question every cent I spend. I’ve stopped using is on the grounds that if it’s the same RON as all other forecourts, then bugger that. Save the money and spend it wisely on say some copied DVD’s or porno… NO. NO, not the last one. I promise. ?

    F1 cars don’t use petrol from gas stations. That’s for sure. I think its almost similar but not quite. I ripped this of the official F1 website, Link also given.

    Formula One cars run on petrol, the specification of which is not that far removed from that used in regular road cars. Indeed, the FIA regulations state that the rules are “intended to ensure the use of fuels which are predominantly composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels and to prohibit the use of specific power-boosting chemical compounds.”

    The modern fuel is only allowed tiny quantities of ‘non hydrocarbon’ compounds, effectively banning the most volatile power-boosting additives.

    19.3 Properties: The only fuel permitted is petrol having the following characteristics:

    Property Units Min Max
    RON 95.0 102.0
    MON 85.0
    Oxygen %m/m 2.7
    Nitrogen %m/m 0.2
    Benzene %v/v 1.0
    RVP hPa 450 600
    Lead g/l 0.005
    Density at 15°C kg/m³ 720.0 775.0
    Oxidation stability minutes 360
    Existent gum mg/100ml 5.0
    Sulphur mg/kg 50
    Elec. Conductivity pS/m 200

    There is a lot more for the technically sound at the website. But seeing I destroyed my brain cell on booze and what nots, I can’t remember anything I learnt in chemistry class. All recall is that the teacher was one fine looking female. All that jargon is a waste to me other than the RON figures. Note F1 state the min is RON 95 and max is RON 102.

    Like only a fool will ask for RON 95 petrol to be used by the team. I am damn sure every F1 team will be using 102.0 or at least 101.9999999999999999999998RON . This brings me to conclude that V-POWER is not used in Michael Schumacher’s Formula 1 ferrari. Well, at least not the same stuff we buy at all our Shell petrol stations.

    From the Shell URL you posted, here are some rather interesting and vague points on why V-POWER is good for us.

    “Shell V-Power is a totally redesigned petrol; not just one that’s been enhanced with additives.” ? Totally redesigned? Why aren’t others using this? What redesigned break through is this?????

    “Every drop provides a pure wave of acceleration and sustained power with every caress of the throttle.”

    “Extensive testings in research centres in the UK have confirmed that Shell V-Power is indeed the best petrol in Malaysia” ? based on WHAT criteria? Best cleaning? Best power? Best gum? Best colour? Best smell? WHAT?????

    “It is Malaysia’s first and only premium grade petrol that delivers more power, quicker response and more control with every poke of the accelerator.” ? What’s the basis of this conclusion? Has anyone been privy to the tests done ?

    “developed with Ferrari”

    “experience drawn from countless Formula 1 victories”

    “experience as a Formula 1 technical partner to Ferrari”

    “Utilising technology previously only available to Formula 1 racing teams”

    “help of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, Shell went on”

    “Shell V-Power performed almost as well as the racing petrol.”

    Kinda odd but why would they keep harping on and on about the link to Ferrari? Surely if it was that damn good and all this reverse engineering is top of this world, they don’t have to use a cheap marketing ploy to have Ferrari and f1 back it up. And besides, we are driving a Proton for Christ’s sake…not a formula one car.

    All this has led me to question,… is it really worth the extra $0.15sen? I am not sure. Personally I don’t think so but if they were running on a higher octane, then I am sure the engine will be running hotter. Someone needs to help me on this if I am right. But according to one Joe in the blog, he claims his car runs colder.

    Wouldn’t you just wish that a large company like Shell would be up front and tell us what the heck is the octane level and leave it at that. At lease then I will happily use shell V-Power. Now I just think we are paying for a Ferrari/F1 link up, ie all the sponsorship money. They must be paying a lot to have shell plastered all over the red cars, and now the Malaysian public is being screwed over for that extra on every litre you pump into your car.

    Do note, in 2000 the difference was about ten sen over the ‘normal’ petrol. Now its about fifteen sen. Why did they raise it up further five sen? Was it due to the new economy petrol so that not only can I have more power, I can drive further. Hang on a minute; I am paying more upfront for it anyway. That negates any savings I can get on the road. What’s the big deal?

    Let us look at some maths now. Average a car does per year is about 20,000km. Say it does about 10km per every litre of gas. That means its drinking up about 2,000 litres of gas every year. If I fill with ‘Normal’ petrol at 97 RON that will be a year bill of 2000 x $1.42 = $ 2,840.

    I use Shell V-Power (which I can’t tell if its at a higher RON), that will be a yearly bill of $ 3,140 or a difference in $300. Not much I am sure to many of us but would you spend that for no real gains? I could spend it on better things like my steel braided brake hose or my Mobil 1 engine oil, or those cool under car neon lights…etc

    I am hoping to get some answers. Hopefully there is someone that can actually tell us for sure if V-power is better, is of a high octane level and hence the extra money on it. I would then use it without any worry of being an easily duped person.

    Right now, caltex gets my hard earned dosh.!

  • <![CDATA[Anonymous]]>

    Bro,

    An R3 is a perfomance tuned engine, you don’t want to go mess it up in terms of using a additive high fuel base. Plus, the octane level for the off-the-pump grade is just marginally higher, not much to effect perfomance. I also noticed that while using it, my oil temp was lower than usual. While this is a good thing, it also means the combustion is slightly retarded.

    if I may, I suggest you run in the car with mineral oil, and change to Motul after run in. Every tankful, drop a load of Afterburn Octan additive (it’s cheap and good). When you want more, go for STP Octane additive.

    If you are going to venture to the track, call me for 113 Octane fuel. That bugger blows the pants of your buttocks.

    Cheers.

    Mack