By on April 3, 2013

Why, why, why the hell is the new BMW 328d called the 328d? It’s a 3-Series, so that part’s legitimate, even if today’s 3er dwarfs the old Bavaria. It’s also a diesel, so the “d” seems appropriate, even if the absence of a “t” rankles a bit among those of us who remember the 524td. Not that “t” always meant “turbo” in BMW-land; sometimes it meant “touring” like fast, sometimes it meant “touring” like station wagon.

The problem is this: the “28” in 328d suggests a 2.8-liter engine. Just like the 528e had. Well, actually, that was a 2.7-liter engine. The same engine appeared in the 325e, where it was also 2.7 liters. Still, those are relatively white decklid lies compared to the effrontery of putting a two-liter engine in a car and badging it as a 2.8, right? There has to be a rhyme and reason here somewhere, surely. And it there isn’t, then surely there’s a way to put some sense and sensibility back into the German-car game, right?

Good news: I, your humble author, have a solution.

Before I detail my easy-as-pie and completely reasonable idea, however, let’s consider just how BMW and Mercedes in particular got themselves into this mess. The idea of naming a car after its engine displacement isn’t a new one — in fact, it dates from very nearly the first automobiles — but since cars in Europe were often taxed on their displacement the importance of knowing said displacement right up front took on a rather outsized importance in that market. It never happened here, otherwise the fellow chasing the “hot rod Lincoln” would have bragged that “nothin’ will outrun my three-point-six-liter Ford.” Here in the United States, we named our cars after animals, cities, natural phenomena, and other fun stuff. Who would want a “Ford 4.7S” when you could have a Ford Mustang?

In the dour environment of postwar Germany, however, Mercedes-Benz chose to name their cars after their displacement, with only the addition of an “S” for “Super” executive sedans spoiling the purity of the naming scheme. Later on, more letters appeared after the numbers, but those numbers tended to be trustworthy. A “180” probably was 1.8 liters. The “300SLR” really was a three-liter engine. It mostly made sense.

The first real cracks in the scheme appeared when Mercedes-Benz decided to boost the available power in the S-Class sedans. When the 6.3-liter V-8 was dropped into the 300SEL, somebody realized that calling it the 630SEL might give it more decklid authority on the Autobahn than the “600” limo. (That should have been the “630”, come to think of it.) Something had to be done, and that something was to create a car called the “300SEL 6.3″. Other 300SELs arrived after that, including the 300SEL 3.5 and the 300SEL 4.5. The last one always amused me because presumably it was done to prevent the crass horror of calling a car the “450SEL”. Naturally, the next big Benz to appear was, in fact, called the 450SEL.

BMW had been struggling with a rather confusing displacement-based scheme of its own, where the 2002 was a two-door 2000 rather than a 2000 with two additional milliliters of bore. The sensible decision was made to create a universal naming scheme. To prevent the silliness of a 300SEL 4.5, the displacement was given second billing behind an arbitrary number meant to denote the size of sausage being sold. A 320i, therefore, was a 3-Series with a two-liter engine.

This scheme lasted all of ten minutes before BMW decided to fit a 1.8-liter engine into the US-market 320i without changing the badge. Presumably this was done because customers, who had already caught on to the general idea that a higher number was better, would balk at paying more for this year’s 318i then they had paid for the previous year’s 320i. The “318i” moniker didn’t appear until the E30 did. Note how quickly the number really started to matter. Fewer than five years after adopting a logical model designation system, BMW was already having to fudge it. Let’s not forget the 745i, of course, which was a turbocharged 730i. The “4.5” was meant to represent the, ah, equivalent power potential or something like that.

By 1990 or thereabouts, the German model schemes were being honored more in the breach than the observance. The small Mercedes was called the 190E 2.3, or the 190E 2.5, or the 190E 2.6. You could buy a 190E 2.6 or a 260E. They were very different cars. BMW was selling the same engine in the 325 and 528. Mercedes blinked and created the ridiculous notion of C, E, and S-Class cars. This should have made it possible to honestly state the displacement, since the letter was there to denote prestige. Naturally, the minute the C230K went from a 2.3-liter to a 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder, the scheme was broken and we then had a C230 1.8. BMW, meanwhile, was selling a 3.0-liter six-cylinder in a car and calling it the 328i. In the 3-Series, the turbocharged 3.0-liter was called a 335i, but that same engine in a 7-Series made it a 740Li. This was odd, because once upon a time a 740Li was a 4.4-liter V-8.

This brings us to the present day, which looks like so:

320i — 2.0L
328i — 2.0L (four-doors)
328i — 3.0L (two-doors)
328d — 2.0L
335i — 3.0L

This won’t do, will it? Only one of the five configurations is even close to being named after its actual displacement. You can’t even rely on the engines being smaller than their listed displacement; the old carry-over coupe has a larger engine than the decklid suggests.

I find the whole situation thrilling because it’s yet another case of people “misusing” a technology or a language or a tool. Engineers and designers and marketroids love to sit around and determine exactly how somebody will use or buy or regard a product, but those plans never survive the first contact with the enemy. In Africa, smartphones are bank accounts. The World Wide Web mostly transmits content types that weren’t even suggested when the first HTML pages were written. Somebody goes through the trouble of making a nice pre-surgery drug like Rohypnol and the next thing you know, ugly guys in New York with the ability to lift and carry 150 pounds are getting lucky like you wouldn’t believe.

Whatever ideas BMW might have had for its naming system in 1974, the market has its own ideas, and those ideas run something like this: a bigger number is better. Well, duh. The 328d has to be a 2.8 “marketing displacement” engine because the 328i is a 2.8, and that is a 2.8 because it’s meant to have equivalent power to the old 2.8, which was really a 3.0 but which was downgraded to create more marketing space between it and the significantly more expensive 335i. BMW could just reset everything to actual displacement but customers would expect the price to drop. How could a 320ti cost as much as the old 328i? How could a 320d cost more than a 328i?

Let’s not even get into the 7-Series, where the fine old name 735i can’t be used because it sounds cheap compared to 740i, and 730ti absolutely positively cannot be used under any circumstances. How about those Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs which don’t displace 6.3 liters any more and in fact never actually did?

The pressure is on the manufacturers to offer more number for the buck. Pretty soon, the 328i will have to be a 330i, perhaps. It’s easy to imagine a situation where a high-efficiency 1.5-liter “330i” exists. Two marketing liters for every real one! Not to mention the fact that a two-liter turbo will eventually power US-market 7-Series sedans and no way in hell are they going to be called “720Li”. Meanwhile, Mercedes is selling a 1.8-liter C250 and a 3.5-liter C300. It’s all getting cray-cray up in here.

The proper solution to all of this is blinding in its simplicity. For the majority of consumers, the number on a BMW or Mercedes is only relevant insofar as it provides an approximate estimate of price. The numbers are also judged against the competition, a fact which caused Audi to rename its new “300” sedan to “Audi V-8″ at the last minute lo these many years ago, since the Audi “300” would have cost a fair bit more than a Mercedes 300E and a hell of a lot more than a BMW 325. So why mess around with all this stupidity about equivalent turbocharged marketing displacement and whatnot?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest BMW: the BMW 32,250. Formerly known as the 320i, it’s now named directly after its price. If you put options on it, the number will go higher. Or, you could choose a full-sized sedan like the BMW 73,550, formerly the “740i”. All the mystery is gone. The price is on the trunk. Show it to your neighbors, who just took delivery of a Mercedes-Benz 51,500 instead of the E350 they’d had their eyes on a year or so ago. From now on, you’ll know what everybody around you paid for their car. No more obscurity. Sure, we won’t know what size the engines are, but we don’t know that now. You can find that boring crap out right here on TTAC, while your girlfriend looks at your mid-engined Audi 114,200 and calculates what her engagement ring should cost.

In a single unilateral move, I’ve destroyed all nomenclatural confusion for all time. Until, that is, BMW starts offering rebates. Pretty soon, the BMW 89,400 will go out the door for $60k or less. Leased examples won’t say BMW 339/month, but maybe they should? What about used cars? Will they have their logos jumbled the way second-rate bodyshops often create S450 Benzos with heavy orange peel? It’s all too much to think about. Maybe some legislation should be introduced to give every car a name — but what if that name is Cutlass Calais Brougham?

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114 Comments on “Avoidable Contact: An immodest proposal to solve the German nomenclatural nincompoopery....”


  • avatar
    Vega

    “BMW was selling the same engine in the 325 and 528″
    No. The 325 had the M20B25, the 528 had the M30B28.
    Yes, I’m a sad 80s BMW nerd…

    • 0 avatar
      357

      Jack is right actually. The US didnt get the M20B25 until 1987, and never got the M30B28 (at least in the E28). Both the 325e and 528e used the same M20B27.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t see this “grade inflation” when I was in Germany. I saw accurate badges…318i, 116d, 320d, 325i, even 535d GT. Since most folks now have a 2 liter diesel in 3 and 5 sized cars, I saw a LOT of “de-badged” cars. The majority are actually without a badge, leaving the die hard trainspotter to look at window trim and exhaust for clues.

        Marketing will be the death of BMW. In a recent conversation with a local, she mentioned her “BMW”. I asked which one. She said “the cheapest” with an embarrassed look. It was a perfectly nice e90, if typical in no sport package/automatic mode. Could have been made of Legos.

        To this person, the 320d would be less than a 328 anything.

        Sadly there are many more of “them” than there are of “us”, and they probably have way more money overall.

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        Oh, you meant the Eta versions. I always get confused by the strange changes BMW does for the US market. Your 528e was called 525e in the rest of the world. I was referring to the 325i and 528i…

        This special US treatment continues to this day. The US 328d is called 320d in Europe. I think the “big engine” image is much more important in the US, US customers equal small numbers with weakness, not 380NM of monster torque. In addition, BMW in Europe has a 325d (2l 4 cylinder, 218hp, 450NM) and a ‘real’ 330d (3l 6 cylinder, 258hp, 560NM).

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I like the new naming proposal, as that’s the core reason for getting a german number-named car anyway.

    In the case of BMW, I always considered the 3, 5 and 7 the Small, Medium and Large. From a distance without any perspective, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether a 3 is a 5, or a 5 is a 7.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Sadly, that system will not work, either. It would just NOT DO to have a 3-Series equipped with the Kitchen Sink Package with a bigger number than a 5-Series Nothing-Burger. Heads would roll.

    Snide Alert: How about the BMW model of “We’re really not building cars anymore for you guys that loved us 20 years ago, so just move on, please”!

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      With a small adjustment, Jack’s system can be made to work as intended: In a BMW ‘XYZ,’ the X is either 1,3,5,6,7,8 etc (or even X for the cute-utes), and then the YZ denotes relative value/status. Now we can have a BMW 345 which costs more than a 535, and everyone is happy. Now, where did I park my BMW 190d?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        That still doesn’t leave room for price adjustments for option packages. They ought to use Euro symbols after the series number. Ultimately, it won’t matter – the marketers screwed up the old system and they’ll screw up any new system you can devise. They might as well come up with a different system periodically, like a five year plan, and start over with a clean etch-a-sketch each time.

        • 0 avatar
          Tosh

          Of course Mktg Dept will screw it up, as Marketing is by definition something amorphous and faddish, needing to be changed along with the seasons or just for the sake of change alone. Fresh creases and dainty eyelashes sell cars to status hungry lady boys (and actual ladies). For what car company is it about The Product nowadays?

    • 0 avatar
      lzaffuto

      Easy easy easy fix. Just raise the price of the base model 5 over the highest price of the 3, and likewise for the rest of the line. Sure, everything will become insanely expensive, but that is what the people buying these cars want to flaunt anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      James May – “Captain Slow” of Top Gear – reviewed the BMW 760Li and suggested that it be referred to by its other name: The BMW Move Over, Poor Person.

      When he said that, for an instant, I wanted one. And then, just as suddenly, when I realized the ostentation, I didn’t.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Bigger questions loom:

    In Chevy-land, what does “LT” and “LTZ” mean?

    In other-cars-land, what do “SL”, “SE”, “SEL”, “XLE”, “SLE”, etc. mean?

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      My guesses:

      LT = “loaded trim” or “luxury trim”
      LTZ = no idea
      SL = “sport luxury”
      SE = “sport edition”
      SEL = “sport edition (with extra) luxury”
      XLE = “extra luxury edition”
      SLE = “sport luxury edition”

      I know that “CE” on Toyotas stands for “classic edition”, since on a mid-1990s Corolla, the badge has both.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        LT = Luxury Trim. Which is airconditioning, power windows and a radio.

        LTZ = Luxury Trim, exZtra. With Leather. Maybe.

        • 0 avatar
          Easton

          LTZ = a cute way to tell Americans (zee) apart from Canadians (zed) at autshows, sales, and auctions.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Also let’s us rib Yankees who visit here and seem incapable of realizing that all the world is not America.

            To pursue the point, why name all BMWs after the US price? I’m sure the Germans couldn’t care less what the US thinks. On the other hand, if BMW named their cars after the Canadian price, the numbers would be much bigger and more impressive.

          • 0 avatar
            deanst

            I always assumed it was a tribute to bob LuTZ’s ego.

          • 0 avatar
            Caboose

            @wmba…

            Au contraire: zee Germans care very much what America thinks, as the States are a…substantial…market for them. Why do you think the USA gets all its own numerical designations?

            But why complain? Under Mr. Baruth’s system, the Canadians would have bigger numbers on their decklids and, thus, more prestige than the Yanks!

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        LE has this annoying tendency to mean “limited edition”, which means *nothing at all*.

        (Hell, what does the T in Ford’s XLT mean?

        Not a damn thing, as far as I can tell.)

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Nothing, as far as I can tell. I believe the XLT trim is only used on their trucks and SUVs, but they’re all “trucks” so that can’t be it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lichtronamo

            Honda used to have a really straight forward model designation with DX, LX and ES. Then they started throwing in SE at the end of model cycles. Then the variations of the option packages started expanding so that you had EX-L and EX-L Touring. The Ridgeline came with it’s own model designations.

            Nissan always had the cool “SE” designation showing that the Maxima was more sporty than the Avalon. Of course they screwed that up going with “SV” and not even putting the stinking badge on the trunk…

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        In Mercedes of yore:
        S = Super (we call it the S-class now) or Sport (German word for Sport)
        L = Leicht (German for light) or Lang (long wheelbase)
        K = Kompressor (supercharger) or Kurz (shortened wheelbase)
        E = Einspritz (fuel injection)
        D = Diesel (German word for Diesel)
        T = touring (designates a station wagon) or Turbo
        C = Coup

        With that in mind, you can work out just about all the letters and numbers
        SL = Sport Leicht (kind of funny now that the SL weighs more than 2 tons)
        SLK = Sport Leicht Kurz or (in the 1930s) Sport Leicht Kompressor
        SKK = Sport Short Kompressor (also from the 1930s)
        SE = Super with Einspritz
        SEL = Super, Einspritz, and long wheelbase
        SEC = Super Einspritz Coup
        TD = turbo diesel
        TE = wagon with fuel injection

        In the 1990s Mercedes switched to designating the body by using C, E, S, and SL. M, G, and R soon followed for the light trucks. The S-class coup is the CL. The short coup (based on a C and E class mix) is the CLK. The SLK is the small SL (but completely unrelated to the SL).

        AMG was a 3rd party tuner company founded by Aufrecht and Melcher in the city of Grossaspach. It is now owned by Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        CV Neuves

        Mercedes also has gone bonkers these days. It used to be simple E, S, SL, M and G with some number – which was kind of manageable. These days we have A-, B-, C-, E-, G-, M-, R-, S-Klasse, CLA, CLK, CLS, GLK, ML, SL, SLK, SLS, Citan – did I forget something. I largely have no clue anymore what it all supposed to mean. They also had a star in the grille instead of the hood of the generally more expensive sports models. These days that also can mean you have one of the cheaper models. I personally don’t care with Benzes anymore anyway.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Badging German cars according to price, sounds perfect for the stereotype! Extra special editions get a ‘d’ for ‘douchebag’, and ‘td’ for ‘total douchebag’.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Just call it the BMW 3-40,248 or whatever, where the last 5 digits represent the MSRP. That’s why most people buy these cars, anyway. A crass, unapologetic statement of one’s position in a hierarchy and status.

  • avatar
    retrogrouch

    BMW stopped selling cars in the 90s when they started lifetime rentals of prestige-o-matic rolling disasters.

  • avatar
    niky

    The badges should be digital. You know, 80’s style red LED numbers on a black panel at the back of the car.

    They start counting backwards the moment you drive off the lot. You buy a BMW 32,250, by the time you get home, it’s a BMW 32,150. The next morning, you wake up and it’s a BMW 25,800. Oops. Bird pooped on it. BMW 25,750, till you get it washed.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    This is awesome. However, since 99.999999% of these cars leave the lots under leases, I think you should stay with the lease price targets. BMW 3 series, MB C class and Audi A4, should all end with 399, 1/A/3 class ends with 299, 5/E/6 class ends with 499.

    Then when these leased cars are sold to the poor sobs who have to pay for their maintenance, these same numbers denote the monthly average maintenance costs.

    And there should be a law to remove these numbers when these cars go on the second round of retail, you know, when they pass 120K miles. That will save time for the next round of their owners who remove these badges anyway while lowering the suspension and applying cheap plastic tint.

    Thank you, Jack. Now, please decipher Lincoln’s nomenclature for us – in lines of coke measurements.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “This is awesome. However, since 99.999999% of these cars leave the lots under leases…”

      This must also explain the myriads of Audis I see where I live. Seems like one in 20 own one!

      Jaguar isn’t far behind, either.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Probably not, as Audi and Lexus generally lead all luxury brands in the lowest number of leases:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/shocker-premium-buyers-actually-lease/

  • avatar
    jaje

    Should the name then change when they sell it used? So that BMW 89,400 after two years is now a BMW 34,900 and so forth. The pristine, non wrecked E30 M3 which was purchased 12 years ago at the time for $8,000 but now sold today in much worse condition and at least 2 wrecks is now a BMW $41,250 (well at least according to the seller – he also tells me it’s the best one on the market right now).

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Even more confusing is that the same 2.0l turbodiesel 3-series was sold as 320d in other market. So does the extra ‘8’ in the nomenclature means anything at all? It seems to be the same engine with roughly the same power rating. It’s like the Mustang 5.0 suddenly is sold in other market as Mustang 8.0, with basically the same engine and everything.

  • avatar
    Windy

    This brings up an off the wall question.
    When did BMW stop hiding the nice set of emergency tool in the underside of the deck lid?

    a neighbor just picked up a mid 200x vintage 3 series and when he was showing it to me i noticed when he opened the boot that the fold down tray on the bottom of the boot lid was not there.

    I recall from my youth that a post war BMW that belonged to a friend of my fathers had a standard roll pouch of tools just like my Dad’s 300SL gullwing.(which did in fact have a number/name that made sense as did a MB 250SL from 1967 that I owned in the 70s)..

    So I guess I should also ask when did BMW start putting the tools in the cool drop down flap.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      I suppose because you can’t really fix anything in today’s BMW. I think instead they should put some kind of prepaid cell phone with BMW service number preprogrammed in its place.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        BMWs don’t even have dipsticks anymore. They’re for people who never pop the hood. All that’s to be seen under there is a plastic noise-encapsulating panel anyway.

        I used to love my BMW tool kits. They were incredibly handy in a plethora of situations, most having little to do with the car. The correct wrench was in there for the oil drain plug though, which shows how BMW and the people that drive them have changed.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          I think the contents varied slightly by model.

          Did any models have something designed specifically for the oil drain plug, or just coincidence that you use the same size socket on the lug nuts?

          My E39 had a spark plug wrench. That seems to be gone in the E46. The spark plug wrench also had a hole in the top where you could insert the wheel pin to turn the thing – it wouldn’t take standard 3/8″ or 1/4″ drives.

          I love the wheel pin. Got a lot of use out of it back when I needed to swap to winter wheels/tires. E46 still has that at least.

          It’s nice to always have a screwdriver handy too.

          The hex key for the sunroof is thoughtful, though I would prefer a sunroof design where they didn’t expect you to hand crank it shut one day.

          Not a part of the trunk-mounted toolkit, but I think the rechargeable flashlight they used to put in the glovebox is cool too.

          As far as I can tell from parts diagrams, the tool selection was whittled down with the E65 and E60 before the trunk-mounted toolkit vanished with the E90.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            IIRC, the E30 had thee open end wrenches, one of which fit the drain plug. It also had a reversible screw driver, a spark plug wrench, a towing eye, the wheel centering peg, the hex for failed power roof or windows, and an adjustable plumbers’ wrench.

            The lug wrench was a big, S-shaped thing stored in the jack well and that I bent like a spring after a BMW shop over-torqued the lug bolts. Then I borrowed a huge Snap-On socket wrench and broke it trying to get them free.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Honda’s naming system was pretty logical a few years ago, this how it was explained to me:

    DX – deluxe, which actually meant stripped
    LX – luxury, which actually meant things normal people expect in a car
    EX – extra, which was an LX model with “extra” goodies like a sunroof and nicer wheels
    S – sport or sporty
    Si – sports injected

    Infiniti’s G series made sense too as it was based on engine size: G35 was the 3.5 and the G37 was 3.7, same with Nissan 350Z and 370Z.

    I’ve seen BMWs with C, I, and E in them as well and never understood what those were for. Atleast the first number made sense… well until the X series and various CUV / SUVs came out, now I’m hopeless lost.

    • 0 avatar
      jbdifino

      Dont forget honda had 4 other models designations

      CX = Complete Striper Car (usually no power steering)
      VX = Extra Economy, a car with a engine that burned alot leaner
      DX-A = Your basic model DX with AC
      SiR = Top of the line stripped ready togo street going track Car

      Even Toyota had this
      VE = Value Edition, basicly a CE with a 3 speed auto (corolla)
      CE = Classic Edition, normal packages
      SE = Special Edition, usually a CE with Moonroof
      LE = Luxury Edition
      S or RS or XR = Sport
      XRS = Sport package with a different engine

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      C: Coupe.

      I: Fuel injected (gasoline).

      E: Efficiency (more fuel-economical engine).

  • avatar
    F_Porsche

    I would always prefer to debadge the car. Or rebadge it with a smaller engine….http://www.autogespot.com/audi-rs6-avant-c6/2013/01/25#img5

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    The numbers are meaningless on a turbo engine anyway, as the turbo increases the effective displacement.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    Jack completely missed how Audi sidestepped the whole problem and just went with the A(x) and S(x) nomenclature with no displacement notations.
    (but he gets eleventy one billion points in my book for quoting von Moltke)

    This is sheer brilliance since it allows Audi to downsize engines at-will, and also has the insidious benefit of “upgrading” a car to an S(x) for BUCKETS of pure profit. They don’t even try to hide it. You can take a garden variety A4 with the ‘S-line’ package that is functionally identical in every way to an S4. Then you plop in the 3.0L motor and BANG! you get a $7k markup, just like that.

    Try the same trick in the Q5 and select the 3.0L over the 2.0L and it’s a $3700 markup beucase you don’t get the ‘S’ badge on the hatch. (Maybe it should be an ‘$’ badge? that red stripe on the logo does intersect the ‘S’ at a suspiciously ironic location)

    We can argue the difference in tune between the two models, but it’s the same friggin motor.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      The A4 S-line only has the *appearance* of the S4. It does not have the supercharged 3.0 V6.

      The S Q5 isn’t sold here, but the 2.0T and 3.0T badges are clear and represent the 2.0 turbo 4 and the 3.0 supercharged 6.

      The S-line badges are appearance only for almost all Audis — e.g. similar spoilers, aero. The exception is the Q7 — the S-line for the Q7 3.0T has 333 hp instead of 272 or whatever the non-S-line has.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      That was misinformed on a grand scale sir. Go buy a set of A4 calipers, shocks or wishbones and try fitting them on a S4 and tell me how that works out for you. The whole engineering world doesn’t operate by 60’s GM principles you know, so just sticking a bigger engine in a car and adding decals doesn’t quite cut it.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Well, there’s that issue too, beyond the general ignorance, but the weirdest thing in the nonsensical rant was the following sentence: “We can argue the difference in tune between the two models, but it’s the same friggin motor.”

        It’s definitely not the same motor. Not even close.

        However, sometimes the subsequent generation A4 will use the previous generation’s S4 parts. IIRC, the B7 A4 used the B6 S4’s front-end parts plus brakes.

        • 0 avatar
          Sundowner

          oh, no, it has different calipers and struts. The horror. It msut therefore be a completely different car right down to te ink they use on the MSRP Sticker. It’s the same friggin car. the 3.0T sold today, right now, this very minute, is the same 3.0T they put in the S4, A6, A8 and everything else Audi makes. They jsut swap parts around and charge you triple for the trouble.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            Among other differences yes. You don’t get the whole engineering thing and probably never will. But I’ll highlight the fact, that you seem unable to grasp, that the engine isn’t the only part you’re paying for in a car.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Even if we accept your incorrect premise as true, that the engine is the only thing that’s different, are you saying that Chrysler is stupid for charging more for the Hemi than the Pentastar in the “same exact car”? Is a HemiCuda the exact same as every other Barracuda?

            The reality is that A4 S-line only has an *appearance package* that makes it look the same as the S4. It’s like the M-Sport package on a non-M BMW. Or the AMG appearance package on a non-AMG Mercedes. The S4 has different components beyond the engine, and even if it didn’t, you can’t give a straight answer to my question above.

            As MeaCulpa said, you have fundamental lack of understanding of engineering, and you honestly just don’t know much about the cars.

  • avatar
    7402

    I propose a variant of @niky’s proposal: let the continuously updated digital display show the average fuel consumption (in MPG or L/100km) as averaged over the last 500 miles. Display it on the dash as well. Who wants a bigger number now?

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Equally valid would be the hp (or yes, torque, but let’s be honest, people don’t talk about torque when buying a car in the general populace)

      That would seem to negate the marketing terror around moving to smaller displacement.

      Although the engineer in me longs for BMW to just do it right, with the first number being the series, the next two being the displacement (or FE or hp), then an i or d or h, then nothing, X, C or T. The Ci vs iC always seemed troubled, so calling a convertible a V (and giving the finger to volvo buyers) could work.

      It’s strange that Maserati is the brand with the most logical naming convention in the entire market, now that Hummer is dead.

      I don’t understand why infiniti didn’t go with G for the car and Q for the CUVs rather than Q everything, which is dangerously close to Lincoln’s MK_

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Why would anyone not trying to impress hippies want that?

  • avatar
    issleeping

    Maybe Infiniti is following with the new convention with the Q50 (50 = fully loaded ~ $50,000). Both motors are still called the Q50.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I have the the perfect solution. Start everything with a BK prefix, then assign a random third letter. The 3 becomes the BKZ, the 7 becomes BKS, the X5 – well it stays as the X5, but the X3 becomes the BKT. Ok, maybe that won’t work. How about putting the random letter first followed by TS? Then again we could..

    Don’t complain too much about BMWs naming convention. Their marketing dept might be listening and bad things could happen if they try to fix it.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Does it piss anyone else off to see recent Porsches with “911” badges on the back?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The 911 was never really a 911 either. It was a 901, but Peugeot made them change the middle digit. I don’t know if the 914 should have been the 914 or not, but it is pretty suspect that the 924 and 928 just happened to have series numbers that corresponded to their cylinder counts, and I’m pretty sure that the 928 project was began before the 924. The 928 was delayed by various fuel shortages, but it should have reached production first. How about the 912 and 912E? Did they also gain a one as a middle digit, or were there really 10 Porsche design projects between the 901 and the first time they installed a type 616 engine in one? Even there internal project numbers have lost any semblance of legitimacy. How did the 991 just follow the 997?

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    The japanese are not blameless here either. Lexus 600h anyone?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Eh, whatever. I’m still trying to figure out the alphabet soup of Harley-Davidson FLXDXEIEIO.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Don’t people have more important things to whine about? Bigger number = more power within a given markets range. 320i-328i-335i. 328d-335d. Yes, things can get a little screwy at new model time, since BMW usually keeps the coupe and convertible on the old platform for a while longer. Not terribly complicated really. Who gives a fig what is actually under the hood, anymore than caring if the badge on the back says Verona, Barcelona, or Philadelphia? As Jack amply pointed out, displacement not matching the badge is not a new phenomenon.

    Much ado about not much at all, as usual. And as usual I find all the comments about BMW having lost its way highly amusing coming from people who would never buy a new one in the first place. Sorry kids, time marches on. I owned e30s and e28s back in the day, no way would I want a new one now. Lovely cars though they are, the new ones are better in every possible way. Please remove the rose-tinted spectacles, the golden era is NOW.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      It would appear you don’t have anything better to do than comment on this humorous article, though.

      Snark aside – I agree with the sentiment. The new BMWs are very nice, but I still have an E30 in the driveway, with no plans to upgrade at the moment.

      I find the resentment aimed at German car owners by TTAC commenters kind of pathetic, frankly.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Actually, I don’t. Sitting in a hotel room nursing a nasty head and chest cold waiting to go onsite and do work at 10pm. Fun.

        E30s are fun cars, I would buy a nice ’91 318is in a heartbeat if I could just FIND a nice one. But I wouldn’t want one as a daily driver anymore. I drove my e91 400+ miles yesterday with said nasty head cold, got out of it, and worked until 3am. That would be no fun at all in a loud, crude e30. And by comparison, any e30 is a covered wagon.

        I put most of the resentment under the heading of “jealousy is an ugly emotion”.

        • 0 avatar
          carlisimo

          I don’t think it’s jealousy; for all the resentment, we still like these brands. But that’s the problem. The fact that they cater to enthusiasts makes us feel like they’re “our” brands, and that sense of ownership leads to a sense of entitlement. We want control of the company and everything it does. We get resentful when it caters to someone other than us. Which they naturally do, because we all buy used cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Way to ruin the fun krhodes1! You belong on an enthusiast forum with all that pent up emotion over there, the only one whining is you…

          Now pipe down and let the adults have a conversation about the silliness.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “I find the resentment aimed at German car owners by TTAC commenters kind of pathetic, frankly.”

        Agreed — for the most part, TTAC commenters often seem cheap and jealous of those who spend more than they do. It shows up in a variety of threads and it’s not just about German cars, but the German car hate here is quite strong.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Maybe there’s resentment but I don’t think its aimed at owners more than the manufacturers themselves for selling out in a variety of ways. Then there are people like me who believe a car costing upwards of $32K+ should be reliable and somewhat durable for the price point and cannot comprehend how zee Germans haven’t been reigned in by their customers for their (relatively speaking) poorer build quality or design issues. Over about a decade and a half a sizable chunk of the United States car buyers abandoned the Big Three for Toyonda, but twenty five years later people keep buying/leasing German built (or German badged cars) who by and large can’t stay out of shop for medium to major service in the first 50K on the clock.

        Sheesh when I start seeing non-wrecked late 90s Audis in the pick-n-pull and a 2000 era C280 with significant rust on the doors parked right next to a hooptie late 80s 300E with none, there’s something really wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “Maybe there’s resentment but I don’t think its aimed at owners more than the manufacturers themselves for selling out in a variety of ways.”

          That’s non-sense. Most of the comments center around ad hominems against people who buy them and talk about how they are badge whores or pricks or whatever else.

          “but twenty five years later people keep buying/leasing German built (or German badged cars) who by and large can’t stay out of shop for medium to major service in the first 50K on the clock.”

          I don’t know where this perception comes from, and maybe it’s only about a few Volkswagens 2 car-generations ago, but it’s a little silly. As someone who has owned German, Japanese, and American (but never Korean), since the 90s or so, it is by far the odd exception that ends up with medium to major service in the first 50K, and for most or all luxury German makes, that would be under warranty anyway. Every car maker seems to have first-year of a generation growing pains, but the good ones back them up, and the others don’t (for example, BMW’s HPFP replacments or Audi’s early 2.0T fixes vs. Toyota’s go to hell sludgers).

          “Sheesh when I start seeing non-wrecked late 90s Audis in the pick-n-pull and a 2000 era C280 with significant rust on the doors parked right next to a hooptie late 80s 300E with none, there’s something really wrong.”

          I’m not sure what that was intended to mean, but the reality is that the first owner of a luxury make vs. the 3rd or 4th owner of a luxury make are often very different. The latter is far more likely to send a luxury car to its grave early or run it in a poor state of repair.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I can’t really argue the point because I don’t really pay attention to random name-calling. My perception of negative comments seemed to be directed against the mfgs as opposed to “Group A sucks because they love Routons or Touregs” or “I really hate Group B because they only lease 3 series” but perhaps my perception is inaccurate.

            I haven’t owned a German car past MY 90, and the few I have briefly driven seemed fine when I drove them. But then I hear horror stories from those who bought used, new used, or leased. Granted most of the worst stuff is from those who bought used as opposed to leased new, but as a frequent used car buyer I’d like a car that isn’t chock full of problems from a European brand… I understand and would expect this from Jaguar, but I shouldn’t expect it from the mainstream top shelf… especially when we know they can do better (as they did in the past).

            What I mean is a great deal of the products are apparently just crap compared to what they were even 15 years ago. Sure the 8th owner could have run the car ragged, but the car itself should still be made of higher quality materials and be able to withstand moderate abuse from the elements and drivers. I bathed my ’90 Audi in salt and in the four years I had it I saw one spot of rust forming on the front fender and none anywhere else.. doors, rocker panel, wheel-wells all clean.

            As krhodes1 states below… somethings gotta give.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “I can’t really argue the point because I don’t really pay attention to random name-calling. ”

            Translation, you didn’t read any other comments in this thread or any other focused on German cars?

            “I bathed my ’90 Audi in salt and in the four years I had it I saw one spot of rust forming on the front fender and none anywhere else.. doors, rocker panel, wheel-wells all clean.”

            I’ve heard of mid-90s and 2000s Audis in New England with no rust, so that’s still true. Audis are well-known for this.

            However, if you’re going to claim a car rusts on the doors, it’d be helpful to know whether the car has ever been in a wreck, ever been repainted, etc. before assuming it’s the car’s fault or the manufacturer’s fault.

            If the argument is that German cars are less tolerant of no maintenance than other cars, that might very well be true. Given that some TTAC commenters think changing oil, timing belts, and transmission fluid on a regular schedule is “OCD”, they probably wouldn’t make good German car owners, but they also probably aren’t good car owners in general.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yes I skim the threads and no I do not commit them to memory. Having reviewed the comments I see only one which could be construed as offensive and its pretty clever: “Extra special editions get a ‘d’ for ‘douchebag’, and ‘td’ for ‘total douchebag’.”

            Generally speaking you may be right, commentators just need to dial down the hate against other people be they individuals or groups… but mfgs are game in IMO.

            The C280 I was referring to was in a parking lot and it had rust on the lower portion (and door edge) of all four doors and more severe rust on the driver side wheel well. Were all four doors damaged somehow and poorly repaired? Possible. Did this example come from a very tough life in the Northeast? Possible. But the contrast really hit home with the 89ish 300E hooptie parked two spaces next to it. I would pay well for that level of quality in a car, whether its still out there is a matter of opinion.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “I don’t know where this perception comes from, and maybe it’s only about a few Volkswagens 2 car-generations ago, but it’s a little silly.”

            The W210 was pretty much a trainwreck, by traditional Mercedes quality standards – yeah, that was also two generations ago, but people *remember screw-ups* just like they *remember quality*.

            Second chances don’t come easily when it’s $30k+ at stake.

            I hear they’ve learned from that debacle, though.

            (My problem with Mercedes today is that they seem determined to make really ugly cars. Which is a shame.)

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Re: the Mercedes rust thing, I took a slightly deeper look into this because I am less familiar with Mercedes’ issues. Apparently from 2000-2002 or so, this was common because of the switch to water-based paints. They’ve since started zinc-coating, and also they have better control of the paints:

            http://mbworld.org/forums/s-class-w220/310143-rust-2000-2002-s-class-read.html

            Those sorts of things happen in manufacturing, and certain companies usually make good and others often don’t.

            That 30-year rust warranty in certain countries sounds amazing, by the way.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @28-cars-later

          A few thoughts. My ’11 BMW is now getting close to 2yrs old and has 21K miles. It has had exactly ONE issue in that time, a failed seat control module. Crap happens – that is why cars have a warranty – even Toyotas. If they were perfect, they would not need one. That is fewer issues than any of the other new cars I have had, and certainly fewer in that amount of time/mileage then ANY used car I have had – I tend to buy used cars VERY used. My new FIAT has a creak in the driver’s seat. I’ll have them look at it at the first service, I’m not losing any sleep over it. I’d creak too if I was sitting on me.

          The forums are quite full of folks with high-mileage BMWs. The problem is that nobody ever posts to say, yup, another day when absolutely nothing went wrong with my car. They are certainly not perfect, they had horrendous teething issues with the twin-turbo sixes in particular, but as with most things they got sorted out under warranty/recall and the cars are now doing just fine. ALL modern cars are expensive to fix. Doesn’t matter what brand. There is a LOT less difference between a Ford and a BMW than there was 30 years ago in parts and servicing costs. The level of sophistication has leveled out considerably. At least BMW will give you a loaner.

          The Germans, Mercedes in particular, had a real problem in the ’80s. They were literally pricing themselves out of the market. 25 years ago an E-class was a $40-50K car. They are actually MUCH cheaper adjusted for inflation now. They have to be, nobody could afford them otherwise. And yet they have FAR more content and features. Something had to give, and the early efforts at that in the late-90s early ’00s were not especially successful. So you see nearly 15yo Mercedes with rusty doors. But even the Germans learn, and the cars are FAR better now than they were then. And overall, they are FAR better than they were even back in the alleged glory days. I owned a really nice ’79 MB 300TD. That car would have officially needed more scheduled servicing in its first 25K than my BMW will need in its first 100K. Reliable, sure, there is nothing to break! Of course, it had all the refinement of a tractor too. Like I said before, please take of the rose colored glasses.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think its more difficult for myself (and others) to see things without the glasses simply because we didn’t actually drive the cars from the so called “glory days” when they were new and cannot contrast (or appreciate) the improvement as someone like you can. As you put it something’s gotta give, I suppose you can’t have superb build quality coupled with excellent reliability and a reasonable price. Personally I’ll pay more to have the first two than perhaps the average buyer, but I may be in the minority.

            “ALL modern cars are expensive to fix. Doesn’t matter what brand.”

            This is perhaps the elephant in the room.

            and my favorite:

            “I’m not losing any sleep over it. I’d creak too if I was sitting on me.”

            +1

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “That car would have officially needed more scheduled servicing in its first 25K than my BMW will need in its first 100K. Reliable, sure, there is nothing to break! Of course, it had all the refinement of a tractor too. Like I said before, please take of the rose colored glasses.”

            All cars needed far more maintenance in the past. There are things you just don’t have to do any more, and the things you have to do, you do far less frequently.

            I see old guys always refer to getting a “tune up” even with late model cars, but basically that involves changing the spark plugs these days.

            Adjusting points? What? Huh?

          • 0 avatar

            My Acura MDX has given me more headaches than my BMW. Way more. I finally “buy a honda” and wish I’d popped for the X5. I have no idea what you folks are on about with the “reliable Honda”. Based on my set of one, they are crap, right up there with my SAAB.

            It is very entertaining to sit at any service counter and listen to the people complain….

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            I’m not surprised on the MDX — the build quality on those cars out of the factory is not good. The fit and finish on a brand new 2012 MDX I saw had the same fit and finish flaw TTAC noticed on a 2010 MDX in their review.

            The Honda Pilot (basically the same car) I saw was shedding trim too, but it was something in the footwell that could have been broken by a passenger during a test drive, so I don’t know if that was Honda’s fault.

            As I’ve mentioned before, comparing a Honda’s maintenance requirements through 100K miles and an Audi’s through 100K miles a few months ago and finding the Honda to be more expensive over that period was enlightening.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      I’ve owned two beemers (e39 and e93) and two bimmers, my parents had a first gen 735 and my sister has had 2 bimmers. I don’t like BMW’s increasingly puffed up model naming, just like I don’t like 300 calorie non-fat yogurt. This is an enthusiat blog so we don’t see articles about yogurt.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      @krrhodes1:

      For that matter, why does BMW still have the “i” at all? Isn’t it supposed to designate (fuel)-“injected”? Since they’re all injected now, what significance does it have? That would be like the “W” in WRX standing for, “Wheels”.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    If anything, yes, the Japanese are much much more consistent with their naming schemes.

    Toyota’s makes just as much sense as Honda’s.
    CE – “Cheap” edition (oh, I mean “Classic”)
    LE – normal edition
    XLE – fancy edition

    Of course, Infiniti is now bucking the trend a bit and going with nonsensical numbers as well.

    For those of us familiar with the computing world, the AMD vs Intel war yielded a whole lot of confusion in the processor wars too by the use of “equivalent power” naming schemes.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The displacement number was supposed to advertise how much power you had so why just name the model after the KW or HP it has. 220i 300i or C220 or C300 etc?

    In the part of Germany I was born in it was always frowned upon to boast about your engine capacity and many folks ordered their cars with the numeric designation removed. That would be an even better solution.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    I liked this article, but may have a serious solution.

    322i = 3 series, 220 PS (about 215 hp), gasoline injection
    526d = 5 series, 260 PS, diesel

    C180 CDI = C-class, 180 PS, diesel.
    E470 = E-class, 470 PS, gasoline.
    S380 CDI H L = E class, 380 combined PS between the diesel engine and the hybrid system, long wheelbase.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    Sausage size, horsepower makes more sense and you can think of the current naming as an approximation of that. Or to put it another way, they have dropped the ‘t’ in favor of increasing the number, since that makes it simpler to understand. Instead of 320t, you have 328i.

    Using the sticker price as the model name is more amusing though :-)

  • avatar
    Feds

    A 2000 with 2 more mm of bore would displace 2081cc.

    I’m very very sorry to point that out. I really tried to ignore it in fact, but I couldn’t focus on the rest of the article at all.

    Sorry,

    Feds.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    You start first, Jack. We can see articles about your Porsche 911-86,400.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I prefer names to numbers and letters. Like Lotus using E words. It does get confusing when they run out of ideas and like Lotus now have 3 different Elans. We get a few people every year who log onto lotuselan.net and ask about the M100 Elan. I’m sure it happens at lotuselancentral.com as well.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I have to say that BMW X3 xDrive 28i (with a 2.0 liter engine) is about as dumb a name as one can get this side of the Lincoln and Acura alphabet soup names. Talk about redundant.

    What about the i, for fuel injection at the end of all the names of BMW’s lineup? Isn’t it about the time to relinquish the i to Apple?

    • 0 avatar
      nvdw

      Something I wondered too. It’s not like BMW offers carburetted engines anymore. The same goes for all the nonsense of having convoluted acronyms for diesel engines. They all have turbochargers and common-rail direct injection nowadays so just calling it a ‘D’ should suffice. At least BMW got that bit right.

      On a side note Mercedes-Benz has a very nice system for their vans and trucks that denotes tonnage as well as horsepower. A Sprinter 316 CDI is therefore a three-ton van with approximately 163 hp (or 120 kW in proper SI units – kill the damn horsepower please).

      For the sake of argument, I’d go for a badge that denotes engine power. Even in these times of turbocharging etc that number still makes sense.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The easiest numbering system? Make it completely random.
    Just allow a Hamster to run for a while on the keyboard, and whatever comes out, will be the new vehicle model number.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Brilliant work Jack!!!!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I always wondered what was with BMW’s nomenclature, in particular. At least they got it right when they introduced the X SUVs and Z-series.

    And then they effed it up. The E70 X5 was, up until 2011, available with a 4.8-liter V8, and was called the 4.8i and later the xDrive48i. Then, in 2011, the 4.8-liter was replaced with a bi-turbo 4.4-liter V8…but was called the xDrive50i. The diesel versions were always called 35d or xDrive35d, despite having 3.0 liters in displacement. As for the E89 Z4 and the new F25 X3, since when did a 2.0-liter engine get to be called s/xDrive28i? A couple of these have to do with the American nomenclatures specifically, but still…

    And meanwhile, what’s with the chassis codes? It doesn’t matter which car was released first, or which is larger, or which is more expensive when looking at the chassis numbers. It’s like they just pick two random numbers and put them together. I thought things would be simpler when they moved to the F-series—which at this point only excludes the E70, E89, E92 and E93—but apparently not.

  • avatar
    betweentheaxles.com.au

    Great stuff Jack.

    This is where a naming system that focuses on size or size and type is better. Despite everyone hating the new Infiniti nomenclature, it actually makes some sense, until you realise that the QX60 is larger than the QX70. Hmmm…

    What about Volvo then? The V40 is smaller than the V60 and the V70. But wait … the V70 is based on the S80, and the C70 name was kept even when it switched from the larger S60 platform to the smaller S40 one.

    Bugger it all to hell. Why don’t they just badge it the BMW 3-Series, 4-Series, X5 or whatever, and leave us all guessing as to the engine under the hood?

  • avatar
    redav

    I didn’t bother reading the comments, but clearly the problem is in the initial idea of naming things by the engine displacement. THAT was the dumb idea, and the moment it was conceived, the system was doomed to failure.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    This was very funny. Not only that, it’s very practical, too. It would take the stigma out of driving a “low rent” model. I mean, why go for a 911 when you can drive a Boxster 105,515? Of course anyone with this kind of panache (and disposable income) would naturally check the “remove nameplate” option box, and then they’d just be driving around in a 105,515. Now, if there was only a way to include out of warranty repairs in the name, you’d have a sure winner.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Jack, if you are going to use the price on the badge I see a few issues.
    1. Here in Oz the car would need an extra ‘1’ in front of the U.S. designations.
    2. BMWs in ROW would become more desirable than your home vehicles due to the bigger numbers on the badges
    3. The numbers would change evry few months, even on the new cars in the dealership.

    How about each new model is sold debadged but with a plastic bag full of chrome plated numbers and letters and we put whatever we like, wherever we like. I might go with BMW F430 Berlinetta.

    I have also been amused at the number of commenters suggesting that when they pay more for a car they expect a higher level of reliability and durability. Where have these people been living? Obviously they’ve never owned a Ferrari or Porsche. (or Lambo)

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Or Range Rover, lol

    • 0 avatar
      mpresley

      Cost versus reliability? People really in the know, know it’s just the other way around. And they wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s like when Michael Kay (may he RIP) at Lyric Hi Fi in Manhattan said, with an all knowing smile, “Look doc, this new Audio Levinson tube preamp is guaranteed to cause you more heartache and trouble than your Ferrari.” And the orthopaedic surgeon fiddles with some knobs and says, “How much, Mike?”

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    This post starts off with some bellyaching about BMW badging a 2.7 liter engine car as a 328. Umm, excuse me, for exactly how long did Ford slap 5.0 emblems on cars with 4.9 liter engines?

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    I always liked Volvo’s classic system. Series number/cylinder number/door count. Simple, and there’s no shame in any of that. The number of doors you have isn’t a status symbol, and the amount of cylinders is increasingly no longer as powerful as it once was either. A BMW 3-Series could be badged as a 344, 345, 345GT, 364, 365, or 365GT. The numbers would actually mean something again, follow a logical pattern, and no one has to worry about diminished status.

    Of course, even Volvo messed it up eventually.

  • avatar
    markholli

    I know I’m late in the game here, but I bookmarked this several days ago knowing it would be a great read, as per usual.

    Such a simple, yet elegant solution.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Just call them the 1-er, 3-er, 5-er, and so forth. The SUVs are simple enough if you just stick to X1, X3, X5. Keep the Z4 as is. Heck, I’ve always called the 3-series cars I’ve owned a threeer (see what I did there)? Engine displacement is kinda silly on most of these cars over here in the States, anyway. Most buyers beyond enthusiasts wouldn’t know a 320i from a 328i…nor would they care if you removed the badge out back. The only badge that seems to matter is if it’s a flying propeller, three-pointed star, etc….

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    We’ll simply solve this problem in a typical German way.

    We’ll form a commitee of 100 known experts from various fields of expertise (albeit not necessarily from the automotive world), give them a huge budget, and in 8 to 10 years, they’ll come up with a totally un-viable compromise solution that will be worse than anything else imaginable.

    As an alternative, we could choose the Angela Merkel Way Of Solving Problems – acknowledge the existence of the problem, stress the importance of finding a lasting solution that will serve all interests, and beside that, just do nothing and hope the problem will go away all by itself.

    (;^)


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