What Is The Best Oil For A BMW?

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The German luxury automaker BMW has grown to be one of the top luxury brands with its well-designed, sleek, and gorgeous automobiles. BMW owners value their vehicles and strive to maintain them. Feeding the auto’s engines with the right type of motor oil is crucial for their longevity. For your convenience, we’ve pulled together the best oil to use for various BMWs.

The best motor oil for BMW vehicles is fully synthetic oil. Remember to check the vehicle’s manual or with your BMW dealer so that you get the required motor oil. Here are the specifics for some of BMW’s most popular cars and Sports Activity Vehicles (SAV) with their Series, Model, Generation, and their latest (last) model year:

BMW 3 Series, 328i, F30, 2016:

  • All Season – SAE 10W-40/50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-40/50/60
  • Summer – SAE 20W-40/50/60

BMW 2 Series, 228i, F22, 2021:

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

BMW 3 Series, 335i, F30, 2019:

  • All Season – SAE 10W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 20W-50/60

BMW 3 Series, 330i, F30/G20, 2021:

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

BMW X Series, X3, G01, 2021:

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

BMW X Series, X5, G05, 2021:

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

Why synthetic oil? What brand of synthetic oil is best for these BMW vehicles? How often is an oil change needed for these popular BMWs? How many quarts of oil are needed, and what will an oil change cost? We have done the research and have the answers to these questions and others like them. Read on to learn more.

2021 BMW X5 sport utility vehicle at a dealership in the city's North End, What Is The Best Oil For A BMW?

Why Do BMWs Use Synthetic Oil?

Since they designed and hand-built their first engine in Munich, Germany, in 1916, BMW has been creating high-performance engines built for speed and smooth riding. Today’s engines are crafted carefully and use synthetic oil to keep the valves lubricated against friction and grit. Synthetic oil is designed to maintain its viscosity against colder temperatures.  

What Is Synthetic Oil?

As the engines are driven at top speeds or in stressful conditions, the synthetic oil keeps the motor smooth. Most synthetic oil is designed in laboratories, chemical by chemical, usually using petroleum-based components. BMW uses Pennzoil’s “PurePlus Technology” to make synthetic oil from natural gas.

BMW full synthetic oils have fewer impurities than synthetic blends (which include petroleum). Full synthetic oils are more expensive than synthetic blends.  BMW recommends full synthetic oil.

What Does the Synthetic Oil Descriptor Mean?

SAE on motor oil is a designation for the Society of Automotive Engineers. The following letters in an oil such as SAE 15W-50 tell you:

  • 15 – The temperature the oil will work best at and above at startup. The lower the number, the better the oil does in cold conditions.
  • The “W” stands for Weather
  • The “50” tells the viscosity of the oil during operation conditions. The higher the number, the thicker the oil.   

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Can You Use Any Brand Of Synthetic Oil In Your BMW?

The short answer is yes.  You can use any brand of synthetic oil as long as you seek out the correct SAE designation for the motor oil of your BMW. The complexity comes from BMW’s partnership with Shell Oil (Royal Dutch Petroleum) who’s brand Pennzoil developed the PurePlus Technology to make their synthetic oil from natural gas. Other synthetic oils are synthetically made from petroleum products. 

Hand mechanic in repairing car,change the oil close up selective focus

Why Does BMW Recommend Three Types of Synthetic Oil

The recommendations from BMW include an All Season oil which is the choice if your climate doesn’t run to extremes. If you have hot, hot summers and frigid winters, it may be best to use a Winter synthetic oil and then, in the spring, switch to a synthetic oil designed for the hot weather.  

BMW Dealers Use What Brands of Oil?

BMW Dealers predominantly use BMW’s original Twin Power Turbo engine oil branded as BMW Advantec synthetic oil or Genuine BMW Engine. In 2015 BMW changed from Castrol Oil (British Petroleum) to Shell Oil for making its proprietory synthetic motor oil.

BMW Motorsports have a sponsor relationship with Pennzoil, which is part of Shell Oil.  Some BMW dealers may also offer Pennzoil products for your oil change.

How Many Quarts Of Oil Do BMW Vehicles Require?

The best answer for how many quarts of synthetic oil your BMW needs is to check the vehicle’s manual. As we look at these specific models by year, this will give you a general idea:

  • 2016 BMW 328i, F30 – 5.3 quarts
  • 2021 BMW 228i, F22 – 5.3 quarts
  • 2019 BMW 335i, F30 – 6.9 quarts
  • 2021 BMW 330i, F30/G20 – 5.6 quarts 
  • 2021 BMW X3, G01 – 6.1 quarts
  • 2021 BMW X5, G05 – 6.9 quarts

 The BMW 328i’s Synthetic Oil Needs

BMW originally designated models by their engine requirements, so, in this case, the 3 series, which had the 2.8-liter engine, became the 328i. Then in 2014, the 3 Series 328i was divided into two models, with the larger Saloon and Touring models remaining part of the 3 Series and the Coup and Convertible joining the 4 Series. 2016 was the last year of production on the 328i. It requires 5.3 quarts of oil:

  • All-Weather – SAE 5W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

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The BMW 228i’s Synthetic Oil Needs

Today, BMW offers the 228i and 228i xDrive Gran Coupe in their 4 Series. The 228i is now a designation of 228 horsepower and not 2.8-liter engine size. They need 5.3 quarts of oil:

  • All Season – SAE 5W50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

The BMW 335i’s Synthetic Oil Needs

Like the 328i to 228i division, the popular BMW 335i was a part of the 3 Series through 2019 when BMV moved away from the 335i to a new designation, the 330i, in 2020.  The 335i was part of the F30 generation, including F30, F31, and F34 vehicles produced from 2011 to 2019. The 2019 needs 6.3 quarts of oil:

  • All Season – SAE 10W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 20W-50/60

The BMW 330i’s Synthetic Oil Needs

Today the BMW 330i is a popular 3 Series model with a 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder, Rear-wheel drive engine. You can also get it with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. BMW designated these 330s as the generation G20 though some BMW aficionados still refer to them as part of the F30 generation. They require 5.6 quarts of oil:

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50/60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50/60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50/60

The BMW X3’s Synthetic Oil Needs

BMW offers seven Sports Activity Vehicles (SAV) called X1 to X7, of which the two most popular are the X3 and the X5.  The X3 has two engine options, the sDrive30i, and the xDrive30i. They require 6.1 quarts of oil:

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50 or SAE 10W-60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50 or SAE 0W-60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50 or SAE 15W-60

The BMW X5’s Synthetic Oil Needs

The BMW X5 is one of the top-rated luxury SAV or SUVs offered in the United States. This SAV has the sDrive40i and  xDrive40i engines with what BMW calls “48V mild-hybrid technology for heightened eBoost power and optimal efficiency.” The BMW X5 requires 6.9 quarts of oil: 

  • All Season – SAE 5W-50 or SAE 10W-60
  • Winter – SAE 0W-50 or SAE 0W-60
  • Summer – SAE 15W-50 or SAE 15W-60

How Often Does A BMW Need An Oil Change?

BMW recommends an oil change every 7,500-10,000 miles. The vehicle might need an oil change more frequently if the vehicle is regularly driven fast, or in hot temperatures, or super cold temperatures, and how dusty the terrain is as grit in the engine requires the oil to do more work lubricating the engine.

How Much Does It Cost To Change Oil In A BMW?

An oil change with a new oil filter for a BMW tends higher as the SAE ?W-50/60 synthetics oils are more expensive than oils with a viscosity in the -20/30/40 range.  SAE oils in -50/60 range are $8-$15 per quart. Factor in regional labor costs, markups on the oil and old oil disposal fees, and the total cost can range from $100-$175. BMW USA may be offering 3 years of oil service for one price of $199.

2021 BMW X5 sport utility vehicle at a dealership in the city's North End

Is It Expensive To Maintain A BMW?

Maintaining a BMW does not cost more than a comparably priced luxury vehicle by a different automaker. But it will be more expensive than vehicles made with non-high-performance parts. High-performance parts often cost more to replace. The region you live in will also affect your vehicle’s maintenance cost, as labor costs are so different across the country.

BMW sedans are manufactured in Germany, Great Britain, China, and Austria. BMW SAVs sold in the United States are assembled in South Carolina. Parts for the SAVs may be slightly less expensive than parts for the sedans. Some parts are used in both types of vehicles.  

In Summary

BMW makes 16 models of vehicles, all of which run on fully synthetic oil. This oil keeps the BMW’s high-performance engines running smoothly and efficiently in all weather conditions. The best oil to choose is one with an SAE between 0-25 degrees with a viscosity of -50/60. These oils will keep your motor humming while you enjoy your Ultimate Driving Machine.

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