Originally Posted by TrackRat
I think you mis-understand my comments?
The additives are the primary difference in chemistry in engine oil. There are hundreds if not thousands of different auto oil chemistries. BMW and all major car makers tell you specifically which oil is required for your engine to meet warranty requirements based on actual testing of the oil's performance. The oil requirement on '06 and later BMW gas engines sold in the U.S. is LL-01. Thus using a non LL-01 approved oil can void your warranty as LL-01 approved oils are a requirement of your warranty.
In spite of your beliefs oil approval operates on science, not politics. The oil must pass a battery of lab and field tests, which are specified in the test sequence. You don't get approval until your oil meets the test requirements and you sign an agreement not to alter your oil chemistry without re-testing to confirm the new formulation meets the oil specs. Random independent testing of samples in the market is used to monitor the approved oils. Every two years you need to confirm the oil still meets the BMW oil specs. Without these safeguards there is no telling what oil formulation you would get this week, next week or next month and what the oil's actual performance in your engine would be.
I'm not a chemical engineer; however, I believe in scientific testing. As stated above, upon approval from BMW, the formulation stays the same and there is no guessing for the end user (me). If BMW says a specific engine oil is required in my engine, that's what I'm going to run. Although I do not have any data that specifies the amount of testing done; I have to rely on their (likely extensive) testing and choose an oil that they found to meet their requirements for my engine (which for me is whatever the dealer is told to use).
I will run what they tell me they found sufficient and not deviate regardless of independent testing that may prove otherwise (sounds ridiculous I know). BMW doesn't just pick and then call it good. If it meets the requirements for the engine at the time of testing (which likely coincides with the development of the engine), then I'm satisfied. That is not to say that there aren't better solutions, it just says that it's a known good under their testing for wear (and other requirements) and will provide protection throughout the useful life of the engine.
All that said it's always interesting to read new angles on a discussion that has historically been very volatile (no pun intended). Interesting information, Mr. 5!