What place would a high-performance, competition motor oil have in the bowels of an everyday passenger car’s engine? Would it be a case of overkill? Would it be a big underestimation of the oil in question’s capabilities? Or would it make little to no difference at all in daily driving conditions, riddled with stop-go motions and long idling periods as they are?
These I wondered and more when Motul approached us with its 300V Motorsport Line engine lubricant. But first, a little background info. The racing oil is regarded the flagship of the 160-year old France-based company, as well as the very product that almost defines the brand.
Having launched in 1966 the Century 2100, the first semi-synthetic lubricant for cars, Motul went a step further only five years later with the Century 300V, the very first 100% synthetic lubricant designed for cars, made from vegetable esters. Why ‘300V’? Well, the brand had collected 300 racing victories at the time.
The 300V Motorsport Line as we know it today was born in 2003, debuting the brand’s Double Ester technology, enhanced with high-performance friction modifiers. The expertise evolved into ESTER Core, the code phrase for ester technology combined with a selection of synthetic base oils and additives.
With ESTER Core, the 300V Motorsport Line motor oil range touts increased levels of power, protection and reliability, plus low lubricant consumption. Eight grades of viscosity are available: Sprint 0W15, High RPM 0W20, Power Racing 5W30, Trophy 0W40, Power 5W40, Chrono 10W40, Competition 15W50 and Le Mans 20W60.
300V products have helped both car and motorcycle racing teams to numerous wins over the years, including in recent time, 57 titles in 2010, 52 in 2011 and 64 in 2012. Amongst the key users are APR Motorsport, Subaru Rally Team USA, Subaru STI and Turner Motorsport. And who can forget the very red, very Au-some Motul Autech Nissan GT-R from the Super GT series?
But the vehicle I employed to give the Motul 300V Power 5W40 a test run was no GT-R; not even remotely – it was a four-year old Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0 TSI belonging to my father. My own car, being far too old, just wasn’t suitable, you see.
Oil drained, the first two-litre can of Motul was emptied in. Then the engine was run for five to six minutes to allow the fresh oil to circulate and rinse away as much residuals as possible, before re-draining, slapping on a new oil filter and feeding the engine with about two-and-a-half cans of the lubricant. The last unfinished can shows 1.25 litres left on its measure, so all in all, 4.75 litres of lubricant were poured in.
Now, I must admit that prior to this, I was one of those sceptics when it came to engine oils. Short of using a product of unsuitable viscosity, I didn’t think a ‘superior’ lubricant could yield a discernible difference in the general operation of an engine, let alone its fuel consumption and performance. At least not for our daily drivers, surely?
When the engine was restarted with a full oil pan, I noted that the cranking was slightly more effortless. The resultant idle seemed smoother, and the familiar clatter was more muted; most evident from the outside. Still, I thought it could be psychological.
Didn’t take long before more changes started to surface. The engine revs more freely and eagerly, as if there was indeed less friction between moving parts. Venturing into higher revs also produces less roughness than before, although in the mid-range, the disparity is not as perceptible. Marginally less throttle input is required in most situations, making the car a bit easier to drive on the whole, and cold starts are accomplished just as easily.
Of course, I am not able to tell if there’s more power freed, although logically, the supposedly lower levels of friction should point in that direction. In any case, Motul tested its 300V Trophy 0W40 on a circa-400 hp 3.6 litre Porsche Cup racing engine and found an increase of up to 7.2 hp over its competitors’ products – so what more with a passenger car engine developing under 200 hp.
The Motul 300V Power 5W40 claims to compensate for medium engine oil dilution by unburned fuel and maintain a stable oil pressure. At higher temperatures, a high oil film resistance is touted, which works to reduce engine wear.
Plus, the addition of a friction modifier helps to decrease the engine’s operating temperature. Just over 3,000 km in, the lubricant continues to serve the CC well, and while it is clearly no racing car to begin with, it does feel a sprightlier machine!
However, if you’re not as race-inclined, Motul also has the 100%-synthetic 8100 range, which is suitable for everyday European cars as it holds seven manufacturer approvals, including BMW LL-01, MB 229.5/226.5, VW 502.00-505.00 and Porsche A40.
Motul’s diverse range of products include synthetic, semi-synthetic and mineral-based multi-grade engine lubricants, as well as coolants, brake fluids and transmission oils, for car and motorcycle applications.