Car model names now include numbers with no meaning behind them and it’s just sad
Call me old fashioned but what happened to the time where car names were related to the car itself. Specifically, I’m talking about the numbers.
If you have ever purchased a TV or a new washing machine then I’m sure you’ve already experienced pointless names in the consumerist world before but why did this have to make its way into cars? Sure, my TV is called the ‘XUL73WP613’ and it makes no sense whatsoever. Now, car model names are one step away from being as pointless as my TV’s model name.
Yes, it’s tiresome, you’ve heard this before and the argument is getting old but honestly, this issue will always be relevant. Forgive the cliche, but back in ‘the good old days’ times were simpler. No, we’re not talking about how cars used to be ‘more solid’ but actually were less safe, or how cars had ‘proper engines’ even though they were less efficient and underpowered.
We’re all for hybridisation, for car safety and all for smaller engines that are more efficient than their predecessors. What we, as car buyers and drivers, should not stand for is how the naming system has lost all sense of order and common sense.
Why call a 2.0-litre petrol turbo a 330i? Why call 2.0-litre hatchback a TFSI 300? Why call a 3.5-litre hybrid an LS 500h?
The short answer is: because these names hold the reputation of previous, larger engines.
The BMW 330i used to have 3.0-litre I6 engine and isn’t just known for its good looks, but also for its engine. Up until the early 2010s, the 330i always had a 3.0-litre engine, hence the name 330i. Nowadays, this model of 3 Series houses a smaller, but still very potent, 2.0-litre engine.
The same pattern can be observed for many other cars as well, mostly from luxury manufacturers such as Mercedes, Audi, Lexus and BMW. Numbers have become meaningless.
Unfortunately, if car manufacturers stayed the course and kept naming their cars after the size of the car’s engine, consumers would likely be unhappy. Today’s Mercedes AMG A45 would actually be called an A20, the Lexus IS300h would be called an IS250h and the BMW M240i would actually be an M230i.
Now, that may not sound like much of an issue right now, but as the years continue to elapse and engines continue to become more refined, the names will likely continue to get smaller.
Let’s say back in 1990, Megan owned a meaty 328i, which was a 2.8-litre car. In 1997 she upgraded to a fresh new 330ci, which was a 3.0-litre car and in 2009 she bought the new 330i which was also 3.0-litres. Now, in 2015, she wanted to buy an F30 330i but this time, the car was sold with a 2.0-litre engine.
If the car was now called a 320i, would Megan, or anyone, now turn their nose up at the idea of owning a 3 Series with a lower number attached to it, even though it would still be more powerful, more luxurious and faster than her previous E90 330i? I don’t think so.
Maybe it’s just because we’re all car enthusiasts here at Motor-Vision, but it’s just too hard to believe that the numbering system had to be ruined to keep consumers buying cars.
You see a Mercedes GLE 300d on the road and think how this large SUV must be packing a 3.0-litre engine under the bonnet. Nope. It’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, actually. Oh look, you’ve just seen the new BMW 750i. It’s massive and looks mean, the ‘50i’ must refer to its 5.0-litre engine. Nope, wrong again.
It’s not always numbers that don’t make sense either. For instance, the worst recent offender is Porsche’s new Taycan Turbo S. Could anyone kindly let us know how a fully electric car, such as the Taycan Turbo S, can have a turbo in it? How does that work? What’s next, Ford putting the EcoBoost badge on a Ranger pickup truck that emits 171g/km of CO2 and does around 25 mpg?
Stop tricking consumers with your clever naming tricks and make them make sense again! The kind of people that care about badge prestige should also be knowledgeable enough to know that a smaller engine does not mean a slower or weaker car. Just name the car after what it is, for goodness sake.
Let us know if this annoys you in the same way and which particular model names grind your gears!
If you enjoyed this, we reckon you’ll like to read about BMW’s new M8 Competition Gran Coupe.
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