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Shell Malaysia recently unveiled an all-new formulation to its Helix Ultra engine lube, called the Helix Ultra ECT – with ECT denoting Emissions Compatible Technology. The Helix Ultra ECT, which retails at RM338 for a four-litre pack, features the company’s most advanced lube formulation and is designed to work well with the latest low-emissions engines.

It is claimed to help protect your car’s emissions control systems, including particulate filters, and it is made to work with various engine types including diesel, petrol, gas, biodiesel and ethanol-blend engines. It is also backwards-compatible with various OEM standards. According to Shell, ECT pretty much helps keep the engine free of dirt and carbon build-up, which then translates to a more efficient and longer-lasting engine.

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The Shell Helix Ultra ECT also features the PurePlus Technology, which is based on natural gas. It is actually a gas-to-liquid (GTL) process, which converts natural gas into a crystal-clear base oil without impurities, which are normally found in crude oil. With PurePlus, you would already enjoy protection against sludge and corrosion, plus as a whole, it helps to ensure longer engine life. Fuel economy is also improved, by about 1.4%.

With the help of ECT, the overall claimed fuel economy improvement hits the 2.6%, along with three times better corrosive wear protection, four times better wear protection as well as 45% cleaner pistons, against the latest industry standards. It also offers improved sludge protection.

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Well, all the above sounds very nice as you read away, but at the end of the day, how does it affect your daily driving? We have decided to give the Shell Helix Ultra ECT a go, by filling the lube up in a 2012 R56 MINI One featuring a 1.6 litre four-cylinder Prince engine, which makes a very modest 98 hp and 150 Nm of torque, linked to a good-old six-speed auto box. We used it for about a month.

For that duration, we drove the MINI is various conditions including city driving. We also did an extended drive to Ulu Yam. The MINI, which normally uses 5W-30 fully-synthetic engine oil, usually returns about 10 km/l under mixed driving conditions. Following the change, the fuel economy change was hard to notice as the hatch was still returning pretty much the same mileage, but that would likely be due to the mixture of road conditions.

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One thing that we did notice, however, was slight improvement in power delivery during normal acceleration. Acceleration felt a little more effortless, while we didn’t notice any difference in engine noise. As for the other claims mentioned by Shell such as cleaner pistons and improved protection, we were unable to test accurately at this point, but with the improved smoothness in acceleration, we can only assume that the lube is working like a charm.

So overall, based on the fact that the power delivery is now better, we do consider the new Shell Helix Ultra ECT as one of the better lubes out there. But at the end of the day, it still boils down to the price, which is set at RM338. This then points to wether you feel it is worth the amount or not, which, if you ask us, it is.