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It’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? V-Power Nitro+. There was a time when you’d say ‘tank-full of four star’ and be done with it.
But it seems petrol is the latest proving ground for advertising copywriters trying to find the fine balance between tantalizing technical tracts and meaningless macho mouthwash.
Shell claims that its new high performance fuel will “start working the instant it enters your engine to help remove performance-robbing deposits”.
And it has some big-hitting supporters for its new formula.
Shell and Ferrari share one of the most long-standing partnerships in Formula One (F1) history, and Ferrari driver Jake Humphrey has been signed up as an “ambassador” for the V-Power Nitro+ fuel.
Here’s his somewhat breathless endorsement: “It’s a thrill to know that when I fill up with Shell V-Power Nitro+ Unleaded I will experience the same technology that is developed for Ferrari on the track in my own car.”
Which, you suspect, is not a Mondeo.
Question is: do you really need to pay more to fill up your car with an F1-level fuel, or will standard petrol or diesel do you just as well?
Here, we do our best to work out the answer…
What makes V-Power Nitro+ different?
Petrol advertising has always been, shall we say, racy. Put a tiger in your tank, anyone?
But V-Power Nitro+ sends your fingers all over the keyboard and ends up looking like a typographer’s worst nightmare. So does it really have a plus point?
Shell argues that its fuel, which is available in unleaded petrol and diesel versions, has a unique, dual action formula designed to clean and protect vital engine parts to “make your drive feel alive”.
And if you’ve seen the TV ads, it makes the road come to life as well. In a not entirely enticing fashion, to these eyes at least.
Fuel of the century
“V-Power Nitro+ represents more than 100 years of commitment to the production of high quality fuels,” it said.
But what are the actual active ingredients that make it so special?
Basically, both the petrol and the diesel V-Power Nitro+ blends are designed to clean and lubricate your engine as you drive.
And to do that, V-Power Nitro+ Unleaded contains a lubricant called Friction Modification Technology (FMT) that reduces friction between the piston assembly and cylinder wall by coating them with a protective film.
FMT was also used in the previous version of the V-Power fuel, but the content level in the new fuel has been boosted by 25%.
Soot clean sweep
Shell V-Power Nitro+ Diesel, meanwhile, contains Shell’s most powerful detergent technology, which reduces the amount of soot particles and other debris formed in a diesel engine's injectors.
This should help ensure the fuel flows freely.
Will my car perform better with V-Power Nitro+?
Shell's FMT helps the engine turn more freely, meaning less wasted energy.
And while ordinary unleaded fuels have a research octane number of 95 RON, V-Power Nitro+ is rated at 99 RON – meaning your engine can extract more power from every drop.
The high RON rating should also help to prevent “knocking”, where the fuel explodes inside the cylinder instead of burning in a controlled way.
What about fuel economy?
When your car leaves the production line, its engine is perfectly clean. However, over time, carbon deposits can build up on the fuel injectors, clogging them up and preventing fuel flowing freely.
They can also absorb fuel like a sponge, meaning some of it goes to waste, which should not be a problem if you fill up with V-Power Nitro+.
That said, exactly how much fuel you can save depends on various factors such as the make and model of you car – even though Shell claims the fuel is suitable for all vehicles, old and new.
So should I fill up with Shell V-Power Nitro+?
Clearly, some fuels are better than others. But most of the petrol and diesel sold in the UK is formulated to clean and protect your engine.
And you are likely to pay around 10p more a litre if you opt for V-Power Nitro+ over a standard fuel.
Consequently, the decision really comes down to whether you are keen to save money now, or are prepared to pay out more per litre for a fuel you believe will protect your car and give you the best performance and value for money in the long term.
And, of course, whether you’re prepared to commit to using Shell garages exclusively so as not to dilute your precious V-Power Nitro+ with ‘inferior’ concoctions.