there seem to be quite a few misconceptions in this thread about e85, and ethonal in general. having dealt with e85 for quite some time now, i'll share with you what i have learned.
*e85 means 85% pure ethanol
*ethanol at the end of the day is grain alcohal (not sutable for drinking)
*alcohal is an oxygenated fuel
*oxygen corrodes aluminum and rusts steel
*alcohal based fuels have an extremely high knock resistance (octane rating)
*because alcohal based fuels have tons of oxygen in them they burn very rapidly(takes more to make the same power)
*while it DOES take more ethanol to make the same power as petrol, it does have much greater knock resistance SG(spacific gravity) and oxygen content making it a great race fuel!
*the only reason you cant run e85 in non flex fuel cars is because you will max out the fuel injectors run lean and damage the engine.
*since e85 is oxygenated it runs VERY VERY cold(which means cooler IAT's cooler cylinder temp, cooler everything (cooler means more power))
*yes sometimes a car on e85 can be difficult to cold start when its cold outside
*yes your fuel economy goes down because its burning more fuel
*no your fuel lines, fuel pump, fuel rail, o rings, injectors, engine, doors, neighbors cat wont melt if you run ethanol for an extended period of time. (just be sure after a few tanks full of ethanol fill it up with petrol once to flush out the ethanol.
*no you will not damage anything if you accidently fill up with ethanol in a non flex fuel car AS LONG AS YOU DRIVE UNDER LOW KNOCK CONDITIONS(meaning dont go driving like a doucher or flooring it, you WILL max out your injectors and run lean)
*yes i hope the new M3 is flex fuel so they can turn up the boost from the factory!!!
i currently run e85 right out of the pump in my honda drag car making 653 hp at 22 lbs of b0ost 1.9l gsr motor. e85 is about $3.25 a gallon while vp race fuels Q16 is about $14 a gallon....YOU DO THE MATH